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Meet Daniele Arcangeli: Judge at The London Wine Competition

Navigating the World of Wines: Insights from Judge Daniele Arcangeli at The London Wine Competition

In the heart of the United Kingdom, amidst the bustling wine industry, the London Wine Competition stands as a beacon of excellence, celebrating its 7th glorious edition. This prestigious event brings together seasoned professionals and wine enthusiasts from around the globe, all converging to evaluate an array of wines in a blind-tasting extravaganza. Among these discerning judges is Daniele Arcangeli, a distinguished Head Sommelier and Wine Buyer at Angler, a Michelin-starred restaurant nestled in the heart of the City of London.

In this exclusive interview, we delve into the intricate world of wines through the discerning eyes of Daniele Arcangeli. His journey from the vineyards of Tuscany to the vibrant culinary landscape of London has been a testament to passion, dedication, and a relentless pursuit of knowledge. Join us as we unravel the nuances of wine judging, the significance of the London Wine Competition, and the trends shaping the global wine industry in 2024. Through Daniele's insights, we embark on a captivating voyage through the art and science of wine, exploring the depths of flavors, the art of wine pairing, and the essence of sommelier expertise.

Image Source: Daniele Arcangeli

With the London Wine Competition in its 7th edition, what, in your opinion, sets this competition apart from others in the industry?

London Wine Competition is regarded as one of the most prestigious wine contests held here in the UK; many wine professionals take part as judges in the event once a year to evaluate wines from all over the world; most of the judges are head sommeliers, wine buyers, MW and MS, highly recognized experts in their own field, and I'm very proud to be part of it.

All the wines are tasted blind; the criteria taken into consideration apart from the quality and the price value themselves, the labeling is evaluated at the end of the blind tasting.

All the tasting/judging tables are composed of 3/4 judges who discuss and debate the wines tasted.

Judging the labeling and the packaging is also very important from my point of view as the type of bottle used, the label, how the information is stated on the label, the cork, are the dress of the wine. The wine must be good but might grab your attention better than another on the shelf of a Wine shop. The organization behind is impressive, they are very professional.

Could you share a memorable experience from a past London Wine Competition judging panel that truly impressed you? depends on whom you taste with; sometimes I had the chance to taste wines with a Master of Wine or a Master Sommelier; it could be an occasion to learn something new.

Tips for wine brands on promoting or marketing the wins from the competition?

There are many points to look at: quality is an aspect that is essential, but also the drinkability and the drinking window.

I'd be wondering which dishes my wine would go with. Which market segment my wine would be placed in? And the last but not the least, the price. There are more and more people, when they dine out, keen to discover wines from lesser-known appellations or parts of the world as long as the quality and good value is there. The market is very competitive.

Image Source: Angler Restaurant

When judging the London Wine Competition, what do you look for when giving a quality score?

Drinkability, uniqueness, personality, and the good value. For me, the drinkability and the uniqueness and personality come first, then we can talk about the price; when you realize that the bottle is gone very quickly, it is a good sign. How much would I pay for a glass or a bottle of that wine when I go out? This is a question that always make to myself.

What trends do you foresee shaping the wine industry in 2024, and how can brands stay relevant and innovative in this dynamic landscape?

Being Italian and going to Italy quite often, unfortunately, I have recently discovered, for instance, that some Italian wineries that produce very good wines don't export to the UK market as they didn't find or have an importer.

This is a great mistake regarding my point of view, I don't know the dynamics around the export market, but London is a great place to get to know wine professionals and buyers and be competitive in the wine world. Sending its own product to a wine competition like the London Wine Competition, for instance, could be the first step to testing the market outside its own boundaries, it doesn't cost much and is a good investment for the future.

Anyway, would see more emerging wine regions looking out to the market, people are curious to discover lesser-known appellations, native grape varieties, and wines far from the beaten track. There's a place for everyone, working in the UK is amazing, people are open-minded to taste every style of wine.

As the London Wine Competition celebrates its 7th edition, what excites you the most about being part of this prestigious event?

It's really a pleasure taking part in this prestigious event, as I have the occasion to test and taste the wines from different parts of the world. Also, I meet lots of wine professionals; sharing experiences and ideas, every time I learn something new. Could also be an occasion to create new contacts for business.

Image: London Wine Competition Judges engrossed in judging some of the best wines

Why according to you brands should enter in London Wine Competition?

Joining the competition of this level could be an occasion to gain visibility and test the own product in the market not from the point of view of the consumer but from the one that trades and distributes the wine. Moreover, all the people involved in the tasting, have an international experience as London itself offers a unique opportunity to taste wines from all over the world.


Outside of your professional life, do you enjoy any hobbies or interests that align with your passion for wine, such as wine pairing, home winemaking, or visiting vineyards?

I love cooking and traveling, discovering new restaurants, participating in wine masterclasses, and of course visiting vineyards.

Do you have a favorite wine or wine varietal that you enjoy in your leisure time, and can you share any unique ways you like to savor it?

I'm a Chianti Classico lover who at the moment is experiencing a renaissance era.

I would love to see in the future the name of the commune where it comes from on the label, as every subregion offers wines with different features given to different terroirs. I think this process will take time, but we will get there one day.

Your current job title and describe your work, please.

I work as Head Sommelier and Wine Buyer at Angler, a fine-dining Michelin-starred restaurant based in the City of London; it is located on the 7th floor of South Place Hotel.

The restaurant is for fish and seafood lovers, even though sometimes our Executive Chef Gary Foulkes puts on the menu pigeon, lamb, and venison.

I run all the beverage business operations of the restaurant, from selecting wines, building the wine and the bar list, managing the bar operations, dealing with suppliers, to training all the front-of-house staff regarding all our beverage service standards.

Our wine list is composed of 300+ references; not only big names of the wine scene, but also small artisan producers from emerging wine regions of the world. All the options are accurately curated for every taste and wine lover, ranging from a selection of wines by the glass to tailored wine flights that change on a weekly basis.

Image: Daniele Arcangeli at Angler (Source: Instagram page).

Can you tell us about your journey in the wine industry?

I was born and raised in Tuscany, and wine is part of our culture. I studied at the Hotel Catering school, and my interest in wine came up afterward with time.

I started working in the hospitality industry as a Commis waiter when I was a teenager, almost 16 years old, during my school summer break to get a bit of experience in the field; since then, I have never stopped working in hospitality.

My great passion for traveling and foreign languages brought me to work in France, Switzerland, as well as in many regions of Italy; more than five years ago, I made the decision to relocate to the UK.

I had the chance to work alongside great professionals around Europe in important establishments for many years; this shaped my attitude and mindset and I developed a sound knowledge about customer service, fine dining, and beverages in general having also worked many years behind the bar.

I looked at the wine industry in 2004, when I decided to join a Sommelier course in Italy almost 20 years ago; my hard work in the following years brought me to win the title of Best Sommelier of Tuscany in 2012, ASPI Best Sommelier of Italy in 2015 and in 2019 I had the honor to participate and represent Italy at the ASI Best Sommelier of the World contest in Belgium.

As wine qualifications, I am a certified Sommelier at the Court of Master Sommelier, I hold the Wset Level 3 certificate, and I’m going to sign up for the Wset Diploma in 2024.

It's a long journey that has not ended yet.

What 3 categories or regions do you see buyers buying more in 2024?

In terms of style, I would say English sparkling wine is getting highly fashionable; England for instance has great potential for the future as every decade is getting warmer in many most famous wine-producing areas of the world. In terms of uniqueness, I would see wines from lesser-known wine-producing regions from native grape varieties. There are many amazing grape varieties that come to my mind, such as Vermentino and Rossese from Italy, Robiola and Vidiano from Greece, and Albilla from Spain for instance. Amazing good value wines and this is just an example.

Your favorite wine bars and restaurants in London? (Goes on London Drinks Guide)

67 Pall Mall, Noble Rot and Terroirs.

Image Source: Instagram -  Daniele Arcangeli as a Guest at 67pallmall.

Your favorite bottle shops in London? (Goes on London Drinks Guide)

Hedonism wines for the amazing collection of collectible wines and spirits, Berry Bros and Rudd and Passione Vino.

Call for domestic and international submission is now open for London Wine Competition. Enter your wines before 31 August 2024 to get super early bird pricing. Register now and ship later to save.

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