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Record Entries into the Air NZ Wine Awards 2004

For immediate release Tuesday October 5th 2004

See end for Key Fact Summary

Record Entries into the Air New Zealand Wine Awards 2004

With 1,354 wines submitted, entries into this year’s Air New Zealand Wine Awards are at unprecedented levels.

The increase in entries (up 10% on 2003) is primarily due to the record 2004 grape vintage in New Zealand, with most growth occurring in entries for 2004 vintage Sauvignon Blanc, up 38% with 202 submissions and 2004 vintage Chardonnay entries up 247% with 66 new vintage wines entered.

In terms of total entries, although declining 2% Chardonnay still holds the mantel for the largest class, with 265 entries, followed by Sauvignon Blanc with 239 entries (up 23% on 2004) and Pinot Noir, with 194 entries (up 6% on last year).

Total red wine entries have stayed the same as last year with 421 entries, but the number of entries of warmer climate reds such as Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah has declined by 4%, due primarily to the impact of last year’s frost-effected vintage in the key red wine-producing region of Hawkes Bay. This also accounts for the overall decrease in Chardonnay entries.

Chairman of Judges for the Air New Zealand Wine Awards, Brent Marris says the record number of entries reinforces the status of the Air New Zealand Wine Awards as the country’s largest competition dedicated solely to New Zealand wine.

“It is exciting to see the growth fuelled by Sauvignon Blanc in particular, as a strong performance in the competition will further cement New Zealand’s position as a world-leader with this variety and will help heighten the already strong demand in export markets.”

Marris will oversee the competition’s three days of rigorous judging from 1 - 3 November at the North Harbour Stadium, Auckland.

Subsequent announcements by New Zealand Winegrowers on the Air New Zealand Wine Awards will include:
- Tuesday 9 November - medal winners
- Sunday 14 November- trophy winners, following the presentation dinner on Saturday 13 in Blenheim at the Anchor Stadium 2000.
- Week commencing 15 November display of all medal and trophy winners on www.wineshow.co.nz.

e n d s

Air New Zealand Wine Awards

Key Fact Summary

1. The Air New Zealand Wine awards are the country’s largest wine awards dedicated solely to New Zealand Wines. (Liquorland Top 100: 1,600 entries in 2003, but more than a third are international wines. New Zealand Wine Society Royal Easter Wine Show – 1,000 in 2004: just NZ Wines)

2. Air New Zealand has sponsored the Awards since 1986. Prior to this they were called “The National Wine Competition” – started in mid 1960s (Royal Easter Show started in 1953, and Liquorland Top 100 in 1993).

3. The wine industry body New Zealand Winegrowers (formerly called Wine Institute of New Zealand) has run the Awards since 1977.

4. Judging takes place in Auckland at the North Harbour Stadium from 1- 3 November. Brent Marris (Wither Hills Vineyards) is chairman of judges.

5. Presentation dinner (where trophies are awarded) will take place at Anchor Stadium 2000, Blenheim on Saturday 13 November at 7.00pm (tickets from New Zealand Winegrowers). This will be the first time the dinner has taken place outside major centres of Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch.

6. Air New Zealand executive chefs including Peter Gordon (Providores, London), Rex Morgan (Citron, Wellington) and Tony Adcock (Harbourside, Auckland) have designed the menu for the dinner.

7. In 2004, a record 1354 wines have been entered – up from 1,220 in 2003

Main Entries into the Air New Zealand Wine Awards 2004 Total Entries this Year Increase on 2003
Chardonnay 265 -2%
Sauvignon blanc 239 23%
Pinot Noir 194 6%
Riesling 138 8%
Cab/Sauvignon and Merlot/Cab Sauv. predominant blends 113 12%
Pinot Gris 69 50%
Merlot 55 -27%
Gewürztraminer 51 65%
Rose & blush 51 143%
Sparkling Wine 40 111%
Dessert Wines 34 -8%
Syrah 27 -4%
Other Reds 21 -2%

ENDS

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