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Air New Zealand Wine Awards Set to be Biggest Ever

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Air New Zealand Wine Awards Set to be Biggest Ever

Entries are in for the 2005 Air New Zealand Wine Awards – the most prestigious awards of the New Zealand wine industry. Run by New Zealand Winegrowers, this year‘s competition has attracted over 1,500 wines making 2005 the biggest year in the competition’s 24 year history.

New Zealand Winegrowers Chief Executive, Philip Gregan, says the Air New Zealand Wine Awards are the New Zealand wine industry’s most celebrated event. “The rigorous judging process and the presence of renowned local and international judges put these awards among the best on the world stage.

“It is fantastic to see more than 220 wineries, accounting for nearly half of the industry, enter the awards this year to showcase New Zealand’s best. These wines reflect the high quality international standard that New Zealand achieves in winemaking excellence,” he says.

Gregan went on to say the industry has had a run of good vintages in recent years. “The wines entered in the competition are predominantly from the 2003, 2004 and 2005 vintages – all of which produced some exceptional wines, so it will be an exciting competition,” he says.

Marlborough accounts for over 40 percent of the entries with 663 wines, and of these there are 200 entries for Sauvignon Blanc. Hawke’s Bay has 340 entries, up 18 percent on last year. Entries from Gisborne were led by Chardonnay and increased overall by 35 percent to 107 entries. The Auckland region showed the biggest increase, up 132 percent on last year.

The varietal make up of the entries is led by Chardonnay, with 330 wines, an increase of 23 percent on the 2004 awards. There are also 270 Sauvignon Blanc entries and 250 Pinot Noir wines entered. Riesling is also well represented with 144 wines entered, as is Pinot Gris with 82 wines entered, up 17 percent on last year.

The wines will undergo three days of judging after which the top wines will receive gold medals. These gold medal award winning wines will then go on to compete for the sought after Air New Zealand Wine Award trophies. The 19 trophies will be presented at a dinner in Wellington on November 12.

The 750 dinner guests will enjoy a generous taste of the trophy wines accompanied by a stunning six course dinner designed by Air New Zealand’s executive chefs – Rex Morgan from Citron in Wellington, Peter Gordon from The Providores in London, Govind Armstrong from Table 8 in Los Angeles and Miami, and Geoff Scott from Vinnies in Auckland.

The judging team of 20 wine experts is chaired by Brent Marris of Wither Hills and will include two international judges. Mr Gregan says it is important to have international judges on the panel as they provide a wider perspective and lend the awards greater credibility internationally. “We are excited to have Philip Rich and Linda Murphy coming to New Zealand to judge the wines this year, they are both experienced wine judges and well respected internationally.”

Philip Rich is renowned in the Australian hospitality industry. He writes a monthly wine column for the Australian Financial Review and is an occasional contributor to Australian Gourmet Traveller Wine. Mr Rich regularly judges wine competitions throughout Australia.

Linda Murphy is an experienced wine writer and the wine editor of The San Francisco Chronicle. She is a knowledgeable wine competition judge and an enthusiast for New Zealand wine.

ENDS


Notes to the Editor

International Judge Profiles
Philip Rich
Philip Rich has been the full time Wine Operations Manager for the Stokehouse and Prince of Wales in Melbourne for the last nine years where he oversees all things vinous. This involves all wine buying, sommelier and wine training for staff and the wine lists, including Circa the Prince's award winning wine list of over 1120 wines. Prior to working with the Stokehouse Group, Philip was the Imported Wine Manager for Philip Murphy Wine and Spirits for two years.

Philip writes a monthly wine column for the Australian Financial Review magazine, is an occasional contributor to Australian Gourmet Traveller Wine and judges wine shows around Australia including The Royal Sydney and Adelaide Wine shows.

Linda Murphy
Linda Murphy is the wine editor of The San Francisco Chronicle, the only daily newspaper in the United States to publish a weekly, stand-alone wine section. The content is also syndicated in 15 newspapers, including the Orange County Register, Orlando Sentinel, Minneapolis Star Tribune and The Oregonian in Portland.

Linda has contributed to Decanter, The Wine News and Food & Wine magazine, and was the managing editor for WineToday.com, the New York Times' wine website. She is an experienced wine competition judge and learned the wine business from the inside, as a communications and marketing director for wine companies in California, Oregon, Washington state, Australia and New Zealand.

Air New Zealand Wine Awards Trophies
The following trophies will be awarded at the Air New Zealand Wine Awards on November 12.
 Champion Wine of The Show Trophy
 Reserve Wine of the Show Trophy
 Champion Sparkling Wine Trophy
 Champion Gewurztraminer Trophy
 Champion Riesling Trophy
 Champion Pinot Gris Trophy
 Champion Sauvignon Blanc Trophy
 Champion Chardonnay Trophy
 Champion Open White Wine Trophy
 Champion Other White Varieties Trophy
 Champion Rose or Blush Trophy
 Champion Pinot Noir Trophy
 Champion Merlot Trophy
 Champion Syrah Trophy
 Champion Cabernet Sauvignon or Predominant Blend Trophy
 Champion Merlot Predominant Blend Trophy
 Champion Open Red Wine Trophy
 Champion Other Red Varieties Trophy
 Champion Medium Sweet or Sweet Wine Trophy

Entry Statistics

NUMBER of entries BY VARIETal
2004 2005

Sparkling 38 37
Gewurztraminer 51 55
Pinot Gris 70 82
Riesling 146 144
Sauvignon Blanc 248 273
Chardonnay 271 335
Other Spec Whites 15 26
Unspecified Whites 2 4
Medium Sweet 2 3
Sweet Whites 39 36
Blush Rose 54 47
Pinot Noir 205 247
Merlot 57 68
Merlot Predominant Blends 61 76
Cabernet Sauvignon & Predom 57 57
Syrah 32 40
Other Spec Reds 24 29
Unspec Blended Reds 23 6
Current Vintage Reds 3 1
Alternative Wines Styles 5 4


NUMBERS of entries BY REGION
2004 2005

Auckland 22 51
Blend 60 60
Canterbury 64 69
Gisborne 79 107
Hawke’s Bay 286 339
Marlborough 575 663
Nelson 109 103
Northland 15 19
Otago 78 63
Waikato/Bay Of Plenty 9 8
Wellington/Wairarapa 106 87
TOTAL NUMBER OF WINES 1403 1569

2004 2005
TOTAL NUMBER OF WINERIES 220 226

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