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Debating the Direction for New Zealand Chardonnay

MEDIA RELEASE 2nd October 2003

Debating the Direction for New Zealand Chardonnay

New Zealand winemakers and grape growers will be heading to Gisborne on 24th October for the inaugural New Zealand Chardonnay Forum, where they will debate the future direction of New Zealand Chardonnay. A comprehensive programme has been formulated by New Zealand Winegrowers for the Forum (see table below), which will include the opportunity for guests to:

* Sample over 100 chardonnays from New Zealand and overseas (medal winners from the Gisborne International Chardonnay Challenge),

* hear the thoughts of an impressive line-up of international and domestic speakers on consumption and production trends for Chardonnay,

* take part in a debate on defining the strongest proposition for New Zealand Chardonnay on the international stage. The line up of international speakers will include Huon Hooke, one of Australia's top wine writers and columnist for the Sydney Morning Herald, Peter Marks MW, wine curator for American Center for Wine, Food and the Arts and Phil Reedman, Product Development Manager and selector of New Zealand and Australian wine for UK's biggest supermarket chain Tesco. The audience will also share the perspective of five of New Zealand's most visionary producers of Chardonnay, whilst being lead through a structured tasting of 10 leading New Zealand and international examples. The winemakers will feature James Healy (Cloudy Bay Vineyards), Michael Brajkovich MW (Kumeu River Wines), James Millton (Millton Vineyard), Tim Finn (Neudorf Vineyards) and John Buck (Te Mata Estate Winery). Michael Brajkovich MW comments "I am pleased to see an industry focus on Chardonnay as I feel there is immense potential for New Zealand to excel with this grape on the international stage. To date certain producers have done so in a limited manner, however with increasing supply and competition it will be vital to build a much more widespread profile and demand for New Zealand Chardonnay in the future. The Forum should encourage industry debate on identifying the right direction to achieve this". The Forum represents the first of four to be conducted by New Zealand Winegrowers, with the other three planned for the forthcoming year and covering Merlot/Cabernet blends, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir. The organisation of the forums has been greatly facilitated by the sponsorship provided by ACI Glass Packaging New Zealand. Forum delegates will also have the opportunity to attend the trophy presentation dinner for the International Chardonnay Challenge, which will take place in the same venue on the evening of the 24th October. For further details on the dinner and the Challenge, please contact Prue Younger tel 027 276 5484

Forum Details

Date & Venue : 24th October 2003, 9.00am - 5.15pm, Gisborne Park Events Centre, Gisborne. Price : $50 + gst for New Zealand Winegrowers members. $100 + gst for non-members. For full programme details and to register on-line go to

Ends Programme

Timing Topic/Activity Speakers

9.00 - 12.00 Self-pour Tasting of over 100 New Zealand and International Chardonnays Gain practical experience in the range of chardonnay styles through this tasting of medal winners and imported wines from the International Chardonnay Challenge (sponsored by Riversun)

12.00- 1.15pm Lunch At Lindauer Cellar (See details below. $20, not included in registration fee. Transport provided to and from Forum)

1.15pm Welcome and Introduction Philip Gregan, CEO New Zealand Winegrowers

1.25 - 1.55pm Production and Consumption Trends with Chardonnay in Australia Learn about trends in one of our key export markets from one of Australia's top wine commentators. Huon Hooke One of Australia's most respected wine journalists, author, judges and educators. Writes for the Sydney Morning Herald, Australian Gourmet Traveller, plus Decanter in UK.

2.00 - 2.30pm Selling Chardonnay in the US Market Gain tips on how best to market chardonnay in the USA from a leading educator on wine. Peter Marks MW Wine Curator at the Center for Wine, Food and the Arts, plus Wine Education Coordinator for the Institute of Masters of Wine practical (tasting) exam in the USA.

2.35 - 3.05pm Consumer Preferences for Chardonnay in UK Understand the likes and dislikes of the UK public from a company who knows consumer purchase patterns better than most. Phil Reedman Product Development Manager for UK's biggest supermarket chain Tesco. Based in Australia, his role involves sourcing and selecting wine from New Zealand, the USA and Australia.

3.05 - 3.20pm Tea & Coffee Break

3.20 - 4.20pm Structured Tasting on New Zealand and International Chardonnays Hear the thoughts of some of New Zealand's most visionary producers of this variety, while being lead through a structured tasting of 10 New Zealand and imported chardonnays Hosted by Warren Barton and including James Healy (Cloudy Bay Vineyards), Michael Brajkovich MW (Kumeu River Wines), James Millton (Millton Vineyard) Tim Finn (Neudorf Vineyards) and John Buck (Te Mata Estate Winery)

4.25 - 5.15pm What is The Strongest Proposition for New Zealand Chardonnay on the International Stage? Play your part in this important debate on helping to define the strongest and most differentiated communication message for New Zealand chardonnay internationally. Panel will include all prior speakers and be hosted by Warren Barton

5.15pm Close

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