Asian judges join forces at Decanter Asia Wine Awards 2015 judging week


Top wine experts from across Asia are joined by new forces including vice chair professor LI Demei to judge for the fourth edition of Decanter Asia Wine Awards (DAWA) in Hong Kong.

The competition saw new judges from China, Singapore, South Korea and India to join the forty-strong judging line-up, most of who are currently based in Asia. They have arrived in Hong Kong Cyber Port on 1st September to blind taste 2600 wines during the 4-day judging week.

Decanter Asia Wine Awards 2015 vice chair Li Demei begins judging week in Hong Kong

Launched in 2012, Decanter Asia Wine Awards (DAWA) is Asia's leading wine competition with a focus on wineries seeking representation for their wines in Asia. The competition offer the region’s consumers a guide to the best wines available in their area in a range of styles.

Chinese wine authority and columnist professor LI Demei takes part in the competition as a vice chair for the first time, joining wine critic and writer Poh Tiong Ch’ng and Shinya Tasaki, president of the international sommeliers’ association.

The vice chair line-up also include Gerard Basset OBE MW MS, Decanter columnist Andrew Jefford and Michael Hill-Smith MW, Australia’s master of wine. Decanter consultant editor Steven Spurrier chairs the awards.

Decanter’s publishing director, Sarah Kemp, welcomed the vice chairs to the fourth edition of DAWA.
From right to left they are, Steven Spurrier, Poh Tiong Ch’ng, Andrew Jefford,
Shinya Tasaki, Gerard Basset OBE MW MS, Li Demei and Michael Hill Smith MW.

‘I think the biggest change this year is that we have even more “Asian-face” judges joining us,’ said Dorian Tang, national education director of ASC Fine Wines and 3rd year DAWA judge.

New judges for DAWA 2015 include LU Jiang (Maxime) from China, Nigel Chan from Macau, Alvin Gho from Singapore, Donghyuk Shin from South Korea and Gurjit Barry from India.

This year’s selection of judges ‘represents the different regional preferences’ across Asia, said LU Jiang, founder and chief wine editor of

Speaking of the judging process, ‘judges have the opportunity to discuss openly with each other, instead of simply giving scores and wait for an average score to be calculated,’ said professor LI Demei, who is also experienced wine judge in China, ‘which is more fair for each wine.’

‘Judges on each panel changes on a daily bases, so you don’t stick with the same group of people every day,’ said the new vice chair, ‘this further balances the opinions.’

Decanter Asia Wine Awards 2015 judging week

With vice chairs work as leaders of each judging panel, ‘you get very good guidance from them,’ said Nanning-based wine educator Julien Boulard. ‘When you’re in doubt about a wine, they are there to help you make the final judgement, which I find very helpful.’

‘Every day each panel only taste around 80 wines,’ said the new judge working in China, ‘the time is sufficient for us to give a fair judgement on each wine.’

During the four-day judging process, quality wines are firstly given medals with levels from commended, bronze, silver to gold. Gold-winning wines are then re-tasted by the chairs for the selection of Regional Trophies and International Trophies, the highest award of the competition.

The result of DAWA 2015 will be released in October on

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