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Record Numbers of NZ Wines Judged This Weekend

NEWS RELEASE: IMMEDIATE

Record Numbers of NZ Wines Judged This Weekend

Judging at the fiftieth New Zealand Wine Society Royal Easter Wine Show is taking place today and tomorrow at the Auckland Show grounds.

The Awards will be judged in Auckland this weekend February 22 and 23, during which a panel of judges chaired by Bob Campbell, MW will assess a record number of 910 wines from 156 New Zealand wineries. Medal winners will be announced on Tuesday 25 February. The Trophy Winners and Champion Wine of the Show will be announced at a black-tie dinner in Auckland on February 28.

The Awards, which are in their fiftieth year in 2003, are widely recognised as a definitive standard of excellence and as an invaluable public buying guide. They are also regarded as a key measure of important trends and directions in the New Zealand wine industry.

James Halliday, one of Australia's - and the world's - most authoritative and respected wine writers, critics and wine judges, is guest judge at this year's New Zealand Wine Society Royal Easter Wine Show Awards.

"James Halliday's participation in this year's Awards adds a much-valued international perspective and a chance to benchmark the quality of NZ wine and assess progress in styles that are taking NZ's name to the world" says Terry Dunleavy, Show Director of the New Zealand Wine Society Royal Easter Wine Show.

For his part, James Halliday says that he is looking forward to renewing his longstanding familiarity with New Zealand wines. "The rate of change in global wine trade is phenomenal, largely pushed by the New World. New Zealand plays a disproportionately large role in these changes courtesy of its sauvignon blanc and, increasingly, pinot noir. These classes are always of special interest to me, and will be again this year," he says.

A MAF report released yesterday revealed that a 37% increase in grape plantings in NZ since 2000, an unexpectedly high increase that reflects the importance of the wine industry to NZ and the show is a vital measure for the quality and pointer to the success NZ wines can expect with current releases.

Judging and Awards dates for the New Zealand Wine Society Royal Easter Wine Show are as follows:

Saturday February 22 & Sunday 23: Judging of Entries

Wednesday February 26: Announcement of Medal Winners

Friday February 28: Announcement of Trophy Winners and Champion Wine of Show at black tie Awards Dinner.


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