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Judges set to taste over 1,150 wines

Wine judges set to taste over 1,150 wines at one of NZ’s largest wine competitions

With a record number of wines entered in the New World Wine Awards this year, the independent panel of 13 wine experts will spend three days in early August, compared to two in previous years, judging every wine using the same internationally recognised system as other leading wine competitions.

A later closing date for entries has been a key driver of this growth, enabling more new vintage wines to be entered – this year there are 186 new vintage 2014 wines entered, compared to 128 new vintage wines entered last year. In addition, the New World Wine Awards is the only wine show in New Zealand to include a low alcohol category, which has attracted nearly double the number of entries this year following its introduction last year.

Guest international judge, Sam Harrop, says “With all the signs pointing to 2014 being another great vintage, I’m looking forward to joining the judging panel at this wine show, which has the privilege of being one of the first to showcase the new vintage wines.”

Voted the “10th most influential wine consultant in the world” by Drinks Business in 2013, Sam Harrop is one of only 312 wine experts globally to hold the prestigious Masters of Wine qualification. He joins 12 other wine experts on the judging panel, led by Jim Harré, an accomplished international wine judge and wine industry personality.

"This year we have a record number of entries, which reflects the steady growth this competition has had over several years. I think this reflects a combination of winemakers’ confidence in the integrity of the process and the benefits of entering, and the growing awareness among consumers of the credibility of these awards which are judged by this country's best judges to the highest international standards," says Jim Harré, Chair of the judging panel.

What is unique about the New World Wine Awards is that affordability and availability of the wines are key criteria for entry, responding to consumer demand for high quality but affordable and widely available wines. Wines entered must retail for $25 or less and there must be at least 6,000 bottles available for sale.

Last year 364,000 bottles of the Top 50 award-winning wines, with a retail value of $4.7m, were sold throughout New World supermarkets in the first six weeks of the results being announced; the Champion White Wine, Spy Valley’s Marlborough Chardonnay 2012, sold out in a week. That volume of sales in the first six weeks was over 21% higher than in the corresponding period in the previous year.

Simon Swa from Peregrine Wines, which won two gold medals last year for their Saddleback range, says “Without doubt, we have enjoyed a notable increase in sales and a heightened level of brand awareness.”

The independent panel of 13 expert wine judges will swirl, sniff and taste the wines from 4-6 August at Wellington’s Westpac Stadium. Using the internationally recognised 20 point system, the judges will award Gold, Silver and Bronze medals, and reconvene to select the Champion Red, White and Bubbles overall.

The award winners will be announced in September 2014.


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