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Northland beats Italians at their own game

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Northland beats Italians at their own game

An antipodean take on limoncello, Lemon Z (pronounced lemon zed), has socked it right to the hearts of the Italians.

The International Wine and Spirits Competition, announced in London on Friday, awarded Lemon Z a Silver medal -and since no one else won a gold in their class, they were made 'Best in Class - Liqueur - Citrus - Lemon 2006'. Less than a quarter of liqueur classes were awarded golds. The judges' comments regarding Lemon Z were:

'Powerfully pungent nose just bursting with fresh lemon. Mouth is alive with lemon flavours and the lemon zestiness is well balanced by just the right amount of sugar sweetness. Underlying hint of attractive bitterness helps the overall appeal. Delightfully refreshing.'

James and Bronwyn Grigg, founders of Lemon Z are delighted. "We beat Pallini who got a bronze - a limoncello made in Rome that we actually visited once. They also make the Romana Sambuca, which they claim is the most sold Sambuca in the US, so they are no small operation" James proudly explains. The awards do not say who else entered in this category.

The bittersweet liqueur is made in Kerikeri from fresh, locally grown lemons. James, originally from Christchurch, is a winemaker by trade. The Griggs fell in love with Russell after a visit to the Bay of Islands and decided to make it their home. The couple launched Lemon Z late last year and will have a key presence at The Food Show in Auckland, as part of the Northland Naturally stand, from August 3-6.

The multi-talented James Grigg designed Lemon Z's exhibition stand. His 'day job', till founding Lemon Z, was managing his own trade exhibition business based in Canberra.

"Having done tastings of dozens and dozens of limoncellos, we always thought Lemon Z was up there with the best. To win this award gives us real credence within the industry and the confidence that the the product on the inside matches the unique bottle design" James says. "Many limoncellos are great, some are just more equal than others."

Lemon Z is now available throughout most of New Zealand. To find out more about Lemon Z
and stockist details please visit or to sample the pure spirit of Lemon Z,
visit Auckland's Food Show, August 3-6.

For more information on the International Wine and Spirit awards see


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