Competition heats up for 2014 Air New Zealand Wine Awards

28 October 2014

The competition is heating up for this year’s Air New Zealand Wine Awards with a near-record number of entries.

A total of 1,557 wines across 16 different classes have been entered into this year’s competition. Pinot Noir is the most popular variety with 317 entries followed by Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris with 295 entries and 182 entries respectively.

Marlborough wines topped entries with 689 wines all up, followed by Hawke's Bay with 325, Otago with 205 entries and Nelson with 102 entries.

An independent panel of 26 expert wine judges is chaired by Michael Brajkovich MW and includes two international judges: David Brookes, a freelance wine journalist who contributes to Australian Gourmet Traveller WINE, Wine Companion and Wine & Spirits magazines; and Sebastian Braun, wine buyer for Swedish retail monopoly, Systembolaget.

The wines will be judged over three days (3 to 5 November) at Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland. Gold medal winning wines will be announced on 13 November and on 22 November, the ‘best of the best’ trophy winning wines will be revealed at a black tie dinner in Hawke’s Bay.

New Zealand Winegrowers’ CEO, Philip Gregan, says excitement for this year’s competition is building. “The Air New Zealand Wine Awards is eagerly anticipated by the New Zealand wine industry as it provides great exposure for the medal winning wines and the category as a whole,” he says.

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.