Terrace Edge Waipara Valley Pinot Noir 2016
Hunter’s 2017 ‘Kaho Roa’ and Chardonnay, and 2016 Pinot Noir and Merlot
Alexander and Dusty Road 2017 Martinborough Pinot Noirs
Delta Marlborough 2017 Rosé, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir, and 2016 ‘Hatters Hill’ Chardonnay
Haha ‘Brut Rosé’ NV
Mudbrick ‘Francesca’ Waiheke Island Chardonnay 2017
Poggio Anima Italian Reds from Procure
Haha Hawke’s Bay Rosé 2018
Carrick 2017 ‘Unravelled’, 2016 ‘Crown and Cross’ and 2014 ‘Excelsior’ Pinot Noirs
Jules Taylor 2017 Gruner Veltliner, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir
Mister and Te Awanga Estate 2017 Releases
The Boneline 2017 Amphitheatre’ Cabernet Franc and 2015 ‘Iridium’
Yalumba ‘The Scribbler’ Cabernet Shiraz 2015
Fairbourne Estate Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2017
Cambridge Road Martinborough 2016 ‘Animus Noir’ and 2017 and 2013 Pinot Noirs
Greenhough ‘Hope Vineyard’ 2017 Sauvignon Blanc, 2016 Chardonnay and 2014 Riesling
Lamont Central Otago 2017 Pinot Gris, 2016 Riesling, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir
Nine Stones McLaren Vale Shiraz 2016
Vidal 2017 ‘Soler’ Chardonnay and 2016 ‘Legacy’ Syrah and Cabernet Merlot
Brennan 2017 Riesling and ‘Trio’, 2015 ‘B2’ Pinot Noir and 2014 Pinot Noir
Prophets Rock 2017 Pinot Gris. 2016 Dry Riesling, 2017 ‘Infusion’ and ‘Rocky Point’ Pinot Noirs and 2015 ‘Home’ Pinot Noir
Rapaura Springs ‘Reserve’ Marlborough Pinot Gris 2017
Barrington ‘River Block’ Pinot Rosé 2017 – A Re-Look
Sherwood ‘Stoney Range’ and ‘Sherwood’ 2018 Waipara Sauvignon Blanc
Spade Oak ‘Voysey’ Pinot Gris 2018
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General Blog

New Zealand Wine of the Year Awards 2018

Following the announcement earlier this year of the withdrawal of the very long-standing Air New Zealand sponsorship from the Air New Zealand Wine Awards, many wine industry personnel and enthusiasts have been wondering what would happen to this country’s ‘national wine competition’. The competition has long-served as a channel for New Zealand wine producers to have their wines judged alongside their peers by competent local judges as well as with inputs from overseas critics who are important for exports. The results have also been an authoritative guide for consumers as to some of this country’s best wines. It is considered the premier wine show in New Zealand.

Today, New Zealand Winegrowers have announced the ‘New Zealand Wine of the Year Awards’ as the replacement for the Air New Zealand Wine Awards. It also replaces the Bragato Wine Awards, but will "combine the best components of the previous competitions”. The new awards will champion New Zealand wine excellence (as did the Air New Zealand Wine Awards) while simultaneously rewarding the grape grower and their single vineyard wines (the core of the Bragato Wine Awards) "on a larger scale".

The new competition is set to take place in the first week of October, and will have last year’s Air New Zealand Wine Awards Chair, Warren Gibson of Hawke’s Bay as Chair of Judges, supported by Ben Glover of Marlborough as Deputy Chair. These two are among the most respected wine judges in the country, and no doubt they will assemble a very good team around them. Entries for the New Zealand Wine of the Year Awards open on 1 August, and the winners will be celebrated on Saturday 3 November in Wellington.

Combining the Two Shows – A Good Idea?
From my perspective, it will be an interesting challenge for New Zealand Winegrowers to combine the two shows. Having judged at both competitions, I have always felt that the Air New Zealand Wine Awards was about overall excellence. However, Bragato sought out excellence in grapegrowing and site expression. These to me are two different objectives. In seeking overall excellence, the factors of vineyard source and expression are quite secondary to the judging process. For Bragato, in judging, I and no doubt many of the other judges were seeking individuality of character. I’ve always thought, along with others, that the Bragato Wine Awards was the vehicle to ultimately define ‘terroir’ in New Zealand.

I’m certain the New Zealand Wine of the Year Awards will try to take both approaches to judging into consideration. I suspect it will be a relatively complex process which may take a broader mind-set from the judges, some different approaches to assessing the wines, as well as the logistical and administrative work behind it. This is the first competition in this new format, so it will be a work in progress.

From a wider perspective, I believe that the formats of what were the Air New Zealand Wine Awards and the Bragato Wine Awards should be kept separate. In fact, it was an opportunity of taking the two styles and objectives of judging to wider and different paths.

One of the criticisms of the Air New Zealand Wine Awards by many of the judges was that there were too many ‘ordinary’ wines to process and judge. This took time and resource. There had been calls to make this judging at a higher level – which is where the New Zealand Wine of the Year could have gone. With the Bragato Wine Awards, I could envisage an assessment process aimed at identifying vineyard character and rewarding consistency and complexity. Hopefully these are thoughts for the wine show organisers to ponder for the future.


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