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Waipara Hills Equinox wins Winestate Pinot Gris of the Year

15 November 2012, for immediate publication

‘Waipara Hills ‘Equinox’ wins Winestate Pinot Gris of the Year’

After evaluating more than 1,000 Pinot Gris from Australia and New Zealand, the 2011 Waipara Hills Equinox Pinot Gris was last night awarded first place and ‘Winestate Magazine Wineshield Trophy Pinot Gris/Grigio of the Year 2012' at the Winestate Wine of the Year Awards 2012.

Equinox is the limited edition range by Waipara Hills, made and released only in the finest years with fruit sourced exclusively from the company’s estate vineyards in the Waipara Valley. Named after the Equinox winds that blow hot and dry across the region, award-winning winemaker Simon McGeorge explains what makes the wine so compelling. “Made from almost 20-year-old vines and using neutral barrels, lees stirring and other methods, we bring out the character of the variety without compromising the aging potential. Palate weight and structure are enhanced making the wine more akin to the Alsatian style rather than those from Italy.”

New Zealand wine writer, Michael Cooper, reviewing the wine for Winestate Magazine and awarding it five stars commented: “Outstanding dry style, hand-picked from the oldest vines and cool-fermented in old barrels. Full-bodied (14.5% alcohol) with vibrant peach, lychee and spice flavours and showing lovely freshness, ripeness and depth. Still very youthful - open 2014 +.”

The review will feature in the Wine of the Year Special (released 15th December).

Established in 2001, Waipara Hills wines are created to deliver intensity, character and complexity – a result of the innate climate contrasts found in New Zealand’s South Island. Reflecting the quality and appeal of its wines, Waipara Hills wines have received more than 200 awards – from the Air New Zealand Wine Awards to the UK’s International Wine Challenge.
~ ENDS ~ (282 words)

Additional notes:

Bio: Simon McGeorge – Winemaker, Waipara Hills:

After completing a degree in commerce and marketing, Simon studied winemaking at Lincoln University in Canterbury. He then spent several years travelling between the Northern and Southern Hemispheres working harvest and following styles and winemaking techniques, until he was offered a fulltime position at De Loach Vineyards in the Russian River, California in 1999. After four seasons Simon travelled to France for his next harvest and made wine in the Loire.

In 2006 he was excited to be offered a role as winemaker at Waipara Hills, an opportunity to work in an emerging wine region with aromatic varieties such as Riesling and Pinot Gris, two of Simon’s favourites. Several years on, Simon has played an instrumental role in forging the direction of the Waipara Hills wine styles, seeking to reflect both the region that they come from and the people that work to create them.

The Waipara Hills Equinox range – Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Riesling and NV Equinox Waipara Late Harvest Riesling (RRP $29.90) is distributed by Hancocks (free phone 0800 699 463) and available in Glengarry stores, specialty wine outlets and the Waipara Hills Cellar Door, located at the Mud House Winery & Cafe, SH1, Canterbury (Phone: 03 314 6900).

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