Home Industry News Releases US Wines Win International Acclaim at Decanter World Wine Awards 2021

US Wines Win International Acclaim at Decanter World Wine Awards 2021


Top medals showcase an exciting breadth of world-class wine regions on the West Coast, as New York winery also strikes Gold. 

7 JULY, LONDON: Medal winners have been revealed in the biggest ever edition of the Decanter World Wine Awards, following two weeks of rigorous, Covid-secure judging in London, with US wineries claiming top awards.

Results of the Decanter World Wine Awards 2021, released today (7 July), offer a taste of California wine’s strength in depth with coveted Best in Show medals awarded to Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir from Santa Lucia Highlands in Monterey County.

Now in its 18th year, the Decanter World Wine Awards (DWWA) is the world’s largest and most influential wine competition. In 2021, more than 160 expert judges, including 44 Masters of Wine and 11 Master Sommeliers, tasted a record 18,094 wines from 56 countries.

Just 0.28% of the total wines tasted at DWWA 2021 secured one of 50 Best in Show medals. There were also 179 Platinum and 635 Gold medals awarded, making up 0.99% and 3.51% respectively of the total wines tasted. 

This year’s US Best in Show winners are: Trefethen Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 from Napa Valley’s Oak Knoll District, and Hahn Family Wines, Lucienne Pinot Noir 2018 from Santa Lucia Highlands.

Trefethen’s 2017-vintage Oak Knoll Cabernet also won a Best in Show last year. DWWA 2021 judges praised the 2018 vintage’s “purity and inner energy”.

Of the Hahn Family Pinot Noir, judges said, “It’s vivid and mouth-filling yet structured, poised and fresh, too: a Pinot that proves that the natural wealth which derives from California’s light and soils can work superbly in delivering Pinot of both nuance and sensual charm.” 

Pinot Noir showed strong form at DWWA 2021 with Platinum medals awarded to Long Meadow Ranch’s Pinole Pinot Noir 2017 from highly regarded Anderson Valley, and also for Audeant Wines, a relative newcomer in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. 

Overall, the US won two Best in Show medals, plus six Platinum, 25 Gold, 100 Silver and 216 Bronze medals.   

Other Platinums included Zinfandel and Merlot from Sonoma’s Dry Creek Valley AVA, plus Napa Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah from Paso Robles AVA.

There were also six Gold medals for sparkling wines, and a cache of exciting Golds for wines that might normally fly below the radar. 

New York winery RGNY helped fly the flag for the East Coast, winning Gold for its Sauvignon Blanc-Sémillon 2019 blend from the North Fork of Long Island AVA. 

Looking back west, Dave Harvey’s Sweetish Fish Gewürztraminer from the Columbia Valley AVA in Washington State also won Gold, as did Karen Birmingham’s Reserve Petite Sirah 2018 from California’s Lodi AVA, plus Alexana’s Terroir Series Pinot Gris 2018 from Willamette Valley in Oregon. 

Virginia wines joined those awarded with a Silver and a Bronze win, and Arizona too made the list with two Bronze medals.

“We were impressed with the overall quality of wines entered from the US,” said Master Sommelier Ronan Sayburn, DWWA 2021 Regional Chair for the US and Acting Co-Chair. 

“Particularly good were the sparkling wines that we tried. Pinot Noirs were also stand-out as were some elegant Zinfandel blends from areas such as Dry Creek Valley,” he said.

Success for so many diverse US wines at DWWA 2021 also comes in a year when many across the wine world paid tributes to leading wine expert Steven Spurrier, the former Decanter consultant editor and long-time DWWA chair who died earlier this year.

A tireless seeker of new wines, and an authority on established names, it was also Spurrier who organised the notorious 1976 Judgement of Paris tasting that helped put California on the world wine map.

DWWA 2021 Co-Chair Sarah Jane Evans MW said the competition’s thorough judging process gives confidence to producers and wine lovers alike. 

She said, “We’re not playing at judging here. This is blind tasting. We have absolutely no idea what the wines are and we’re tasting them not only in panels together where we have to each discuss and think about them deeply, but then they go up to Regional Chairs who are experts in those countries.”

She added, “It’s a very, very rigorous process, but it highlights fabulous wines at the end of it.”

Andrew Jefford, also a DWWA Co-Chair, said, “DWWA is the world’s leading wine competition. I’m absolutely thrilled to take part in it every year because having tasted in a number of other competitions I know how well it’s organised, how carefully everything is done. We get entries from every corner of the wine world, so it is as it were the closest you can get to a universal benchmark.”

Visit https://awards.decanter.com/DWWA to view a full list of winners.

About DWWA

Launched in 2004 and now in its 18th year, the Decanter World Wine Awards (DWWA) is the world’s largest and most influential wine competition. 

It is the trusted relationship that Decanter – the world’s leading wine media brand – has with an international audience of both consumers and trade that sets DWWA apart from other competitions.

Sustainability is a key focus for the DWWA team. All plastic and cardboard is collected and recycled, while every bottle is crushed and remelted, ready to be remade into usable glass within 30 days. All leftover wine is also collected, recycled and sold back into the national grid as gas.

Full details on the judging process can be found here.

The PPA Awards 2021

DWWA recently won Event of the Year at the prestigious PPA Awards 2021. 

See more information here

About Decanter

Decanter is the world’s leading wine media brand with a total monthly reach in excess of 2.2 million via our print magazine, websites and social media channels. 

Engaging with wine lovers in more than 100 countries around the globe, Decanter provides authoritative content, independent advice and inspirational events and competitions.




  1. Karen, I’m a big fan of your Lodi Sauv Blanc..was especially impressed with your 2019. Need to try a 2020! Congratulations. Also loved your 2018-nice consistancy there.


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