Highlights from the biggest-ever Decanter World Wine Awards – the world’s largest and most influential wine competition.
7 JUNE, LONDON: Full results from the Decanter World Wine Awards 2022 have been released today (7 June), revealing impressive wins for established wine producers as well as many surprises from incredibly diverse emerging regions making exciting wines across the globe.
Now in its 19th year, the Decanter World Wine Awards (DWWA) is the world’s largest and most influential wine competition, with unrivalled global reach. Judged by top wine experts from around the globe, DWWA is trusted internationally for its rigorous judging process.
After a record-breaking year for total wines tasted in 2021, DWWA has again broken this record with the most wines entered and tasted in the competition’s 19-year history.
As part of the rigorous judging process, almost 250 expert judges, including 41 Masters of Wine and 13 Master Sommeliers, evaluated 18,244 wines from 54 countries at DWWA 2022, making it a record year for wines tasted.
Judging took place over two weeks at London’s CentEd at ExCel after two years of strict covid-19 protocols followed by a second round at Decanter’s Tasting Suite in Paddington where Gold medal-winning wines are re-categorised by country, region, sub-region, grape, vintage and price band and re-tasted by Regional Chairs and Co-Chairs. The best wines are promoted to Platinum medals.
Only 50 wines were awarded a prestigious Best in Show medal. There were also 165 Platinum and 676 Gold medals awarded, making up 0.9% and 3.7% respectively of the total wines tasted.
Ronan Sayburn MS, Co-Chair at DWWA 2022, says, “these wines have been through a lot of hands, and palates, to get to that medal-winning level – whether that’s a Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum or Best in Show. A lot of the top people who work in the wine business taste these and really give them a thumbs up through many different levels. So, if it gets to the point that it’s a Platinum, it really is the best of the best”.
Michael Hill Smith MW, also a DWWA Co-Chair, added, “these are wines that have done really well in the most important wine competition in the world”.
DWWA 2022: A year of surprises
DWWA has a track record of highlighting some of the more surprising wine regions – both emerging and established – and 2022 proved no exception.
Ukraine had their best showing to date with 82% of wines entered winning medals (14 in total). Gold was awarded to Beykush Winery Reserve Chardonnay 2019 who took special measures having their bottles hand-delivered via Hungary, knowing that winning this prestigious award would be the key to higher export success and crucial income.
DWWA 2022 included the first-ever entry from Andorra – which won Bronze (Borda Sabate, Escol Riesling 2016). There was also success in Armenia, a Gold medal for Noa, Noah of Areni 2019; with five Golds awarded since 2019 it could well be a country to watch; and Serbia winning 20 Golds since 2019 – nine of these in 2022.
More highlights from DWWA 2022
Noteworthy highlights include orange wines gaining popularity, there were six Gold winners from Croatia, Georgia, Italy and France – and a Platinum for Dvorska Šoškić, Haiku, Plešivica, Continental, Croatia 2019 made with Riesling and Manzoni Bianco.
The UK had the highest-ever number of medals awarded, 151 this year. Including the first-ever Platinum winning wine from Essex – Vagabond Winery, Chardonnay 2020.
Famed Napa Valley reds from the USA in particular saw success with all four Platinum medals awarded to wines from Rutherford, Los Carneros and Oak Knoll District AVAs.
California’s cool-climate regions also triumphed with Gold medals awarded to Edna Valley and Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noirs and Russian River Valley and Petaluma Gap Chardonnays. Nine Gold medals were awarded in total, including Amador County’s first-ever Gold for Ana Diogo-Draper, Touriga Nacional 2020 and a Value Gold (up to £14.99) for Chronic Cellars, Sir Real Cabernet Sauvignon 2020 from Paso Robles.
As part of the judging process there’s an importance placed on price brackets which is unique to DWWA. In 2022 there were 10 Value Best in Show winners, meaning less than £15 retail, more than any other year – wines from Spain, France, Chile, Italy, Argentina and Portugal; including Chilean Carignan, Bordeaux Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc from Mendoza.
Co-Chair Sarah Jane Evans MW says: “We’re all very price conscious at the moment so we are looking for value. A value wine rarely has the same kind of interior complexity that something that’s going to be over £50 would have. However, what you can get is a terrifically delicious expression of fruit and you can still express the place that it comes from so we have a lot of focus on those.”
France recorded wins across a variety of regions. Only 50 wines were awarded Best in Show, 10 of which were from France, showcasing the amazing quality and diversity of wines on offer, the country was also awarded 38 Platinum medals and 125 Gold.
Bordeaux was the best performing region across the whole competition, an amazing accolade for producers. It was awarded five Best in Show medals including two Value Best in Show for Savas, Cuvée Eva, Bordeaux Blanc 2020, which judges commented: “Bordeaux is rarely acclaimed as a source of great-value Sauvignon… but there is a class to the fruit which is rare at this level and which will provide much drinking pleasure for Sauvignon fans.” The other awarded to Château Bourdieu, N°1, Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux 2018 which for the second year running, Blaye stormed into the Best in Show selection, and on this occasion with a Value wine from the exciting 2018 vintage.
Italy amassed an impressive haul of 3,102 medals. Only 50 wines were awarded Best in Show, of these eight were to Italian producers making it the second most successful country in this category. There were also 25 Platinum and 125 Gold medals achieved.
Tuscany won four Best in Show medals, more than any other year in the competition’s 19-year history.
There were hidden gems to be found too: Emilia Romana won 3 Platinum, its first-ever year receiving this top accolade. Southern Italy’s stars Sardinia & Sicily – both receiving Best in Show after a year without; The first-ever Best in Show for Sardinia for Chessa, Cagnulari, Isola dei Nuraghi 2020; Fiano winning Sicily’s Best in Show with Mandrarossa, Fiano, Terre Siciliane 2021.
Spain performed well in all categories and across a variety of regions and styles, but it was both its impressive 22 Platinum and 92 Gold medals that stood out in particular. The medals comprised a mix of red, rosé/rosado, white, fortified (including Sherry) and sparkling wines.
Notable Best in Show wines across Spain included the Bodegas Mazas 2020 from Toro and Aroa Bodegas, Le Naturel Lakar 2020 from Navarra, which both won a Value Best in Show.
Two notable Gold medal wins were from Lanzarote producer El Grifo for Lías Malvasía Volcánico 2019 – a first Gold medal for a non-fortified wine from the Spanish island.
South America recorded its best ever results with huge gains in medals, the region tripled its results from 2021 with six Best in Show medals, there were also large increases in Platinum and Gold medal winners.
Argentina won a total of 486 medals and had its best ever showing for top-scoring wines with four Best in Show and 13 Platinum medals awarded – all 97 points.
Reinforcing the exceptional value to be found in the country, three out of Argentina’s four Best in Show wins were awarded to value wines (up to £14.99) from Mendoza including Pacheco Pereda, Estirpe Organic Fairtrade Cabernet Franc, Agrelo, Luján de Cuyo 2021, Morrisons, The Best Gran Montaña Reserve Malbec, Uco Valley 2020 and Finca Sophenia, Altosur Malbec, Gualtallary, Tupungato 2021.
Chile saw outstanding results, achieving a total of 395 medals overall. Its two Best in Show medals represent the best results for the country in five years. These were awarded to Viña Tarapacá’s Gran Reserva Etiqueta Azul 2020 from Maipó Valley and a Value Best in Show (under £14.99) to Bisquertt’s Crazy Rows Carignan 2020 from Maule.
Australia recorded an impressive 744 medals across all categories including a record haul of 60 Gold medals.
The competition’s top accolade, Best in Show, was awarded to just 50 wines – Australia receiving an impressive six medals in this category, more than any of its New World counterparts.
Japan, with their great diversity in wine styles, won Platinum with the first-ever win from the country’s south island Kyushu: Sanwa Shurui, Ajimu Moroya Koshu 2021; and a Gold for Camel Farm Winery Blaufrankisch Private Reserve from the north island of Hokkaido. In total, Japan won one Platinum and four Gold medals.
China had record-breaking results this year, winning 234 medals, with 17 gold and 64 silver.
Elsewhere, Switzerland and Austria saw standout results. In Switzerland; one Best in Show, five Platinum and seven Gold. Austria were awarded two Best in Show, three Platinum and 10 Gold – an incredible uplift from last year when they did not win any Best in Show or Platinum and only five Gold.
Visit awards.decanter.com for a full list of winners.