Dawn Davies is head buyer with distribution company Speciality Drinks.
She previously worked for nine years as beer, wine and spirit buyer with upmarket UK retailer Selfridges, where she won a series of drink retailing awards for her pioneering approach.
Before joining Selfridges, Dawn had an extensive career as an on-trade manager and sommelier with Zuma, Boxwood, The Square and The Ledbury restaurants.
How many references have you got in your portfolio? Are there any countries or regions that you're looking to expand on?
We have around 1000 references, and our main focuses are Champagne and Sherry.
What are you looking for when judging wines? What makes a Gold medal-winning wine?
It is all about balance. Too often in judging the ‘big’ wines win because they are the most obvious in a line up. It is harder to pin point the ones that are more subtle but have better control over fruit and oak. For me, an award-winning wine is one I want to drink a bottle of – not just a glass.
What’s your most memorable experience in the wine industry (so far)?
There are have been so many amazing and crazy memories, half of which I can probably only tell after a few beers! We are hugely lucky to work in this industry and have the opportunities that we do.
What are you most excited about judging at the IWSC?
I really enjoy seeing old friends and meeting new people, so for me it will be working alongside people who have the same passion as myself and finding the hidden gems that are out there.