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NZ’s Largest Wine Awards Rolls out to the Regions

New Zealand’s Largest Wine Awards Rolls out to the Regions

With a record 1,300 wines entered this year the Air New Zealand Wine Awards reconfirms its status as the largest competition dedicated solely to New Zealand wines.

For the first time ever, the Awards dinner will take place outside the three major centres and is instead being held in the country’s largest wine region of Marlborough on 13 November at Blenheim’s Anchor Stadium 2000, with more than 600 people expected to attend.

Guests will be treated to an exquisite menu created by Air New Zealand’s four consultant chefs: Peter Gordon of The Providores restaurant in London, Tony Adcock of Harbourside restaurant in Auckland, Rex Morgan of Citron in Wellington and Chef Katsuo Sugiura of the Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles.

“As the country’s largest and one of the world’s most rigorous wine competitions, the Air New Zealand Wine Awards aims to promote and honour excellence in wine production for the benefit of consumers and producers alike” says Philip Gregan, CEO for New Zealand Winegrowers, the event organisers.

“It is appropriate that the celebration of this excellence now takes place in the regions from which the wines emanate and it is particularly fitting that the region producing the largest proportion of New Zealand wine (57% of this year’s vintage) should be the first regional centre to host the Awards.”

Judging of the 1,300 wines will take place in Auckland two weeks prior to the dinner, with the winning wines decided by four teams totalling 20 judges over a rigorous three-day evaluation programme. The judging will be presided over by the Chairman of Judges, Brent Marris of Wither Hills Vineyards.

The teams will this year include guest international judges Matthew Jukes from the United Kingdom and Nick Stock from Australia. A previous winner of the International Wine and Spirit Competition’s Communicator of the Year, Matthew writes for the Daily Mail Weekend Magazine, and is also a respected broadcaster, lecturer and wine consultant/buyer. Nick is one of Australia’s most awarded sommeliers, which has included receiving the Australian Sommelier’s Association Sommelier of the Year Award in 2000. He is also a very active show judge and lecturer and also writes for the Adelaide Review.

The international judges will be flown to New Zealand as guests of Air New Zealand, the major sponsor of the Awards for the last 18 years.

“As our support of the Air New Zealand Wine Awards reaches its 18th year, it is encouraging to see a record number of wines entered for consideration in this country’s premiere wine awards,” says Norm Thompson, Air New Zealand Group General Manager Marketing Network and Sales.

“Air New Zealand prides itself on showcasing and supporting the very best of New Zealand including delivering a unique, world-class in-flight wine and food service. We are therefore delighted to be able to have our consultant chefs create an inspiring menu for the Awards dinner and of course provide the international judges with an inspiring journey and an initial New Zealand wine experience enroute.” Subsequent announcements by New Zealand Winegrowers on the Air New Zealand Wine Awards will include: Thursday 29th September – full analysis of wine entries Tuesday 9 November - medal winners Saturday 13 November - trophy winners Week commencing 15th November display of all medal and trophy winners on

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