Gold Medals announced for 2014 Air New Zealand Wine Awards

12 November 2014

Judges have awarded a record 112 gold medals to wines from around the country at this year’s Air New Zealand Wine Awards.

This is the highest tally of gold medals handed out since the national wine competition began in 1974.

Pinot Noir was the strongest performer in this year’s competition, winning 27 gold medals, followed by Sauvignon Blanc with 19 gold medals, Chardonnay with 17, and Riesling with 10.

Chair of Judges and Master of Wine Michael Brajkovich said the Pinot Noir was “outstanding” with the excellent 2013 vintage contributing to 18 of the 27 medals.

“These wines are ripe and concentrated, but with wonderful acid balance and length on the palate,” he said.

New Zealand’s largest wine-producing region, Marlborough, led the way with its wines winning 50 gold medals. Hawke's Bay also had a solid showing with a total 26 gold medals, followed by Central Otago with 20.

Brajkovich said there were exceptional wines across all classes.

“Chardonnay from the 2013 vintage was strongly featured, yielding 13 of the 17 gold medals, with a diversity of styles being rewarded.” he said. “Sauvignon Blanc shone again with golds from both 2013 and 2014. As always, Riesling was impressive, and there has been a big improvement in the performance of Pinot Gris. Gewürztraminer gave up some excellent wines, as did newer varieties such as Arneis, Albariño and Grüner Veltliner.”

Brajkovich also added Syrah continues to show well, along with Cabernet and Merlot-based wines from the warmer regions.

“The surge in popularity of Rosé wines is emphasised by a record number of entries and three very attractive gold medal winners,” he said.

This year’s entries were judged by an independent panel of 26 expert wine judges, including 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.

“Doing well at the Air New Zealand Wine Awards carries a great deal of prestige for wine producers, not least of all because of the particularly exacting standard of judging by a very experienced group of wine experts,” Brajkovich said.

This year's competition saw 1,552 wines entered into 16 different classes. In addition to the 112 gold medals, 226 silver medals and 411 bronze medals were also handed out, bringing the total number of medals awarded to 749.

Sustainability is a continuing focus of the Air New Zealand Wine Awards, with nearly all of the wines (98.6 percent) entered into this year’s competition being sustainability accredited.

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.

The Elite Gold Medal and Trophy winners will be announced at a black tie dinner in Hawke’s Bay on 22 November.

The following lists gold medal winners and the trophies they are eligible for at the black tie dinner on 22 November:

JF Hillebrand New Zealand Ltd Champion Pinot Noir
Pure Gold
12,000 Miles Pinot Noir 2013
Akarua Pinot Noir 2013
Akarua RUA Pinot Noir 2013
Akitu A2 2013
Archangel Pinot Noir 2013
Desert Heart Mackenzies Run Reserve Pinot Noir 2013
Gibbston Valley Glenlee Pinot Noir 2013
Greystone Pinot Noir 2013
Hawkdun Rise Pinot Noir 2011
Hawkdun Rise Pinot Noir 2012
Jackson Estate Vintage Widow Pinot Noir 2012
Jules Taylor Wines Pinot Noir 2013
Kuru Kuru Pinot Noir 2013
Lawson's Dry Hills Reserve Pinot Noir 2013
Lawson's Dry Hills Reserve Pinot Noir 2012
Lowburn Ferry Home Block Pinot Noir 2013
Mondillo Pinot Noir 2013
Murdoch James Blue Rock Pinot Noir 2013
Saint Clair Marlborough Premium Pinot Noir 2013
Saint Clair Pioneer Block 22 Barn Block Pinot Noir 2012
Spy Valley Pinot Noir 2012
Te Kairanga Estate Pinot Noir 2013
Villa Maria Reserve Marlborough Pinot Noir 2013
Villa Maria Single Vineyard Southern Clays Pinot Noir 2012
Wooing Tree Pinot Noir 2012

Rabobank New Zealand Limited Champion Chardonnay
Pure Gold
Clearview Reserve Chardonnay 2013
Coopers Creek SV Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 'The Limeworks' 2013
Esk Valley Winemakers Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2013
Invivo Michelle's Central Otago Chardonnay 2013
Saint Clair Pioneer Block 4 Sawcut Chardonnay 2013
Stoneburn Marlborough Chardonnay 2013
Vidal Legacy Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2013
Vidal Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2013
Villa Maria Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2013
Villa Maria Single Vineyard Taylors Pass Chardonnay 2013

Label and Litho Limited Champion Sauvignon Blanc
Pure Gold
Clos Henri Sauvignon Blanc 2013
Giesen The August Sauvignon Blanc 2012
Grove Mill Sauvignon Blanc 2014
Lawson's Dry Hills Sauvignon Blanc 2013
O'Dwyers Creek Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2013
Peter Yealands Sauvignon Blanc 2014
Rapaura Springs Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2014
Saint Clair Pioneer Block 3 43 Degrees Sauvignon Blanc 2014
Saint Clair Wairau Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2014
Seifried Nelson Sauvignon Blanc 2014
Starborough Sauvignon Blanc 2014
Te Tera Sauvignon Blanc 2014
The Crossings Sauvignon Blanc 2014
The Kings Favour Sauvignon Blanc 2013

BDO New Zealand Limited Champion Other White Styles and Rosé
Pure Gold
Esk Valley Hawkes Bay Rosé 2014
Falconhead Viognier 2013
SOHO Westwood Rosé 2014
Terra Sancta Estate Pinot Noir Rosé 2014

Fruitfed Supplies Limited Champion Syrah
Pure Gold
Church Road McDonald Series Syrah 2012
Trinity Hill Hawkes Bay Syrah 2013
Villa Maria Cellar Selection Hawkes Bay Syrah 2013

Guala Closures NZ Champion Pinot Gris
Pure Gold
Askerne Pinot Gris 2014
Peter Yealands Reserve Pinot Gris 2014
Sea Level Pinot Gris 2014
Waimea Pinot Gris 2014
Whitehaven Marlborough Pinot Gris 2014

ICIB Gold Medal Insurance Champion Gewürztraminer
Pure Gold
Lawson's Dry Hills Gewürztraminer 2012
Spy Valley Gewürztraminer 2013

Coast FM Champion Merlot, Cabernet and Blends
Pure Gold
Church Road Merlot Cabernet Malbec 2013
Esk Valley Gimblett Gravels Hawkes Bay Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon Malbec 2013

Plant & Food Research Champion Riesling
Pure Gold
Forrest The Doctors Riesling 2014
Giesen Riesling 2013
Highfield Riesling 2013
Lake Chalice The Falcon Riesling 2014
Saint Clair Pioneer Block 9 Big John Riesling 2013
Vidal Estate Marlborough Riesling 2014
Villa Maria Cellar Selection Marlborough Dry Riesling 2013

Wineworks Champion Sparkling Wine
Pure Gold
Akarua Vintage Brut 2010
Tohu Rewa Méthode Traditionnelle Blanc de Blanc 2011

Bite Magazine Champion Sweet White Wine
Pure Gold
A Sticky End Noble Sauvignon Blanc 2011
Giesen The Brothers Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc 2012
John Forrest Collection Noble Riesling 2013
Riverby Estate Noble Riesling 2013
Villa Maria Reserve Marlborough Noble Riesling Botrytis Selection 2013

New World Champion Open White Wine
Pure Gold
Clos Henri Sauvignon Blanc 2013
Forrest The Doctors Riesling 2014
Giesen Riesling 2013
Grove Mill Sauvignon Blanc 2014
Invivo Michelle's Central Otago Chardonnay 2013
Lawson's Dry Hills Sauvignon Blanc 2013
Peter Yealands Sauvignon Blanc 2014
Seifried Nelson Sauvignon Blanc 2014
Starborough Sauvignon Blanc 2014
The Crossings Sauvignon Blanc 2014
Waimea Pinot Gris 2014

Liquorland Champion Open Red Wine
Pure Gold
Akarua Pinot Noir 2013
Saint Clair Marlborough Premium Pinot Noir 2013
Wooing Tree Pinot Noir 2012

Waitoa Free Range Chicken Champion Exhibition White or Sparkling Wine
Pure Gold
Abbey Cellars Medium-Dry Riesling 2014
Blackenbrook Nelson Pinot Gris 2013
Jules Taylor Wines Marlborough OTQ Sauvignon Blanc 2013
Kim Crawford Small Parcels Sauvignon Blanc 2014
Matawhero Church House Arneis 2013
Matua Single Vineyard Albariño 2014
Morton Estate White Label Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2013
Mount Michael Pinot Gris 2014
Nautilus Grüner Veltliner 2014
Osawa Wines Prestige Collection Chardonnay 2013
Osawa Wines Prestige Collection Sparkling NV
Quarter Acre Chardonnay 2013
Sileni The Straits Estate Selection Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2014
Stoneburn Marlborough Riesling 2013
Terra Sancta Lola's Block Pinot Gris 2013
Terra Sancta Riverblock Chardonnay 2013
Tohu Mugwi Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2013
Tohu Raiha Reserve Limited Release Noble Riesling 2013
Vidal Legacy Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2010
Vidal Legacy Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2012
Villa Maria Cellar Selection Gisborne Albariño 2014
Villa Maria Reserve Marlborough Dry Riesling 2012
Villa Maria Single Vineyard Ihumatao Chardonnay 2012
Villa Maria Single Vineyard Taylors Pass Chardonnay 2011

Business World Travel Champion Exhibition Red Wine
Pure Gold
Church Road McDonald Series Cabernet Sauvignon 2013
Crossroads Winemakers Collection Cabernet Merlot 2012
Hawkshead First Vines Pinot Noir 2011
Matua Single Vineyard Matheson Merlot Malbec 2013
Matua Single Vineyard Merlot 2013
Matua Single Vineyard Syrah 2013
Mudbrick Velvet 2013
SOHO Valentina Syrah 2013
Yealands Estate Winemakers Reserve Gibbston Valley Pinot Noir 2013

ENDS