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Chinese Marselan and ice wine shine at Decanter Asia Wine Awards 2019 by Sylvia Wu 26/09/2019  

Two Chinese wines, including a Marselan from Ningxia and an icewine from Liaoning, won gold medals in the 2019 Decanter Asia Wine Awards (DAWA). Meanwhile, a significant increase in Silver winning indicates an overall improvement in quality.


The Gold winners

Yuyue Marselan 2018 from Jiuximing Huang winery was awarded one of the two Gold medals won by Chinese producers in the 2019 Decanter Asia Wine Awards (DAWA).

Produced in Helan Mountain East region of Ningxia, the wine is a blend of 95% Marselan and 5% Merlot.

Meanwhile, an additional 14 Marselan-based wines from Ningxia, Xinjiang and Hebei are also awarded a Silver or Bronze medal in the 2019 competition.

The variety, which is a France-originated crossing of Cabernet and Grenache, is considered as the future ‘signature grape’ of China by an increasing number of producers in China.


The other Gold winner was Cai Long Lin Jin Ding, a 2014 vintage ice wine made by Liaoning San He in Huanren, Liaoning province of northeast China.

The Huanren region is gaining increasing attention for producing premium quality Chinese ice wines.

The 2013 vintage of Jin Ding was awarded a Silver medal, while the Jin Jue ice wine 2014 from the same producer won another silver in this year’s competition.

Quality improvement

Among the 153 Chinese wines that entered this year’s competition, 90 wines (58.8%) were given a medal, including two Golds (2% of medal winners from China), 37 Silvers (41.1%) and 51 Bronzes (56.7%).

The proportion of Silver-winning wines marks a significant increase from the 2018 edition of DAWA, which saw 17 Silvers, representing 24.3% of medal winners from China. The increase hints an overall improvement of quality in wines produced in the country.

An additional 24 wines are awarded a Commended seal of approval.

Ningxia, with 56 wines winning a medal or Commended, continues to lead as the top source of award winning wines from China in this year’s competition. Xinjiang follows with 24 winners.

Despite increased attention to alternative varieties, namely Marselan, Cabernet Sauvignon remains as the dominant red grape of choice for Chinese producers, with 50 medal and Commended winners.

The Judging panel

Over 50 top wine experts from across Asia judged in the 2019 DAWA competition, on a mission to evaluate the entries on behalf of their local consumers.



In addition, new Vice Chair Hiroshi Ishida alongside returning Vice Chairs Jeannie Cho Lee MW, Sarah Jane Evans MW, Li Demei, Andrew Jefford, Michael Hill-Smith MW and Poh Tiong Ch’ng oversaw the 2019 competition, and were responsible for the judging of Platinum and Best in Show medals.

Winning a DAWA medal

During the four-day judging week, 3155 wines from 34 countries were first divided into flights according to their origin, style and vintage. These wines were then tasted blind and given a score by the expert judges.

112 wines (3.5%) were awarded a Gold medal (95 points and above) during the first round of judging. Gold-winning wines then qualify for a second and third round of judging, conducted by the seven vice chairs of the awards.

Twenty wines (0.6%) were eventually awarded a Best in Show, the top accolade of this year’s competition.