International judges announced for 2015 Air New Zealand Wine Awards

11 August 2015

International judges announced for 2015 Air New Zealand Wine Awards

Two highly respected international wine personalities will be joining this year’s judging panel for the country’s premier wine competition, the Air New Zealand Wine Awards.

Mark Protheroe heads up the beverage operations for the Grossi group of restaurants in Melbourne, Australia. Mr Protheroe has an impressive list of achievements to his name. Last year, he was awarded Sommelier of the Year by The Age Good Food Guide and was one of three national finalists in the Gourmet Traveller Restaurant Best Restaurants Guide. Mr Protheroe is currently on the national executive for Sommeliers Australia, studying for his Master Sommelier qualification and acts as a mentor for a number of Australia’s up-and-coming Sommeliers.

Ronny Lau, from China, is an independent wine critic and has been the co-chairman of the Shanghai International Wine Challenge since 2011. He is a regular wine and spirits columnist for 10 different publications in Hong Kong, mainland China and Malaysia. He has written six wine books and is the editor and author of two wine books for the Greater China Wine Critics Association.

Leading the 26-strong judging panel, which includes some of the best and most experienced wine judges in New Zealand, is Chair of Judges, Michael Brajkovich, Master of Wine.

“We are thrilled to have Mark and Ronny on the judging panel this year,” says Michael. “The international judges bring their expertise to the competition as well as discovering our style of wine and what is available here. This is important for New Zealand wine makers and the industry as a whole.”

Judging for the 2015 Air New Zealand Wine Awards will take place from 2 to 4 November in Auckland. The gold medal winners will be announced on 10 November, and the ‘best of the best’ trophy winning wines will be revealed at a black tie dinner in Nelson on 28 November. The dinner will be attended by New Zealand’s top winemakers and industry figures to celebrate the people and the wines that make the New Zealand wine industry what it is today.

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. New Zealand Winegrowers, the national organisation for the country's 1,600 grape growers and winemakers, has owned and organised the competition for the past 40 years.