Nelson to host 2015 Air New Zealand Wine Awards dinner

20 May 2015

Nelson, one of the country’s boutique wine producing regions, will host this year’s Air New Zealand Wine Awards dinner.

The black tie awards dinner will be held on Saturday 28 November at Saxton Stadium. Many of the country’s top winemakers and industry figures attend the annual dinner to celebrate New Zealand’s best wines.

Vines have been cultivated in the Nelson region since the mid-1800s but it wasn’t until the 1970s that the modern wine industry was established. Among the first wine producers were names such as Seifried and Neudorf who are still going strong today.

Nelson is well known for its superb Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, but the region also has an excellent reputation for aromatics – Riesling, Pinot Gris and Gewürztraminer – as well as its own distinctive take on Sauvignon Blanc and some impressive dessert wines.

The awards dinner culminates in the announcement of the most coveted prize of the competition, the Air New Zealand Champion Wine of the Show Trophy. Up to 18 other trophies are also awarded, including the O-I New Zealand Reserve Wine of the Show trophy, Label and Litho Champion Sauvignon Blanc trophy, and JF Hillebrand Champion Pinot Noir trophy.

Global Marketing Director for New Zealand Winegrowers, Chris Yorke, says the Air New Zealand Wine Awards dinner is a big night for New Zealand’s wine industry. "Nelson has a great reputation for producing world-class wines which makes it a fitting location for this year’s awards dinner,” he says. “Winning an Air New Zealand Wine Awards trophy is a well-recognised and sought after accolade, and we expect strong competition again in 2015”.

Air New Zealand Regional Affairs Manager Government & Industry Affairs Ian Collier says: “We are delighted this year’s Air New Zealand Wine Awards will be held in Nelson. Air New Zealand worked closely with New Zealand Winegrowers, Nelson Tasman Tourism and Nelson Airport to secure this event for the region. Each year the awards attract close to 600 winemakers, international media and other guests so we expect this year’s event will benefit Nelson significantly from a tourism perspective.”

The Air New Zealand Wine Awards are a celebration of excellence in New Zealand winemaking and are widely considered to be the country’s most prestigious wine competition. The competition is owned and organised by New Zealand Winegrowers, the national organisation for the country's 1,600 grape growers and winemakers. Entries for the 2015 competition open to New Zealand wineries on 10 August.