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Pinot Noir shines at milestone Air New Zealand Wine Awards

Pinot Noir shines at milestone Air New Zealand Wine Awards

• 83 gold medals awarded at 2011 Air New Zealand Wine Awards
• Pinot Noir scoops 20% of all gold medals awarded, topping the varietal classes
• 77% of gold medals awarded to sustainable wines

83 gold medals have been awarded at this year's Air New Zealand Wine Awards - 77% of which were awarded to sustainable wines. Today's announcement follows last week's three days of judging and precedes a gala dinner on Saturday 12 November in Auckland, where the sought-after trophies and elite gold medal winners will be announced.

Pinot Noir received the most gold medals for the fourth year in a row (17), followed by Sauvignon Blanc (14) and Chardonnay (10). Of the gold medals awarded this year, 77% (64) are pure gold medals. Pure medals were introduced in 2007 to acknowledge medal-winning wines that are 100 per cent sustainably grown and produced.

Air New Zealand General Manager Marketing and Communications Mike Tod congratulated the gold medal winners, saying it was fantastic to see the very high standard of entries across the spectrum of varietals.
"Air New Zealand prides itself on showcasing the very best of New Zealand to the millions of customers travelling with us each year, and food and wine is a critical differentiator for us. We look forward to bringing a taste of a number of these award-winning wines to our customers in the coming months."

Given Air New Zealand's focus on environmental sustainability, the airline has also been really impressed with the wine industry's commitment to sustainable business practices, Mr. Tod said.

2011 is a milestone year for The Air New Zealand Wine Awards, which marks a 25 year partnership between the Awards and New Zealand's national airline, with Air New Zealand becoming the naming rights sponsor of the Awards for the first time in 1987. Over the last 25 years, nearly 30,000 wine entries have been submitted, and evaluated by more than 130 different judges, including over 50 international judges.

Mike Tod says the airline is very proud of its long-standing association with New Zealand's most prestigious wine awards.
"It has been a privilege for us to have worked alongside the industry through a remarkable period of growth. This has seen an explosion in the range of varietals that we sell to the world and the emergence of a very clear focus on sustainability."

Organised and owned by New Zealand Winegrowers, the Air New Zealand Wine Awards is the country's most prestigious wine competition, and regarded as the official competition of the New Zealand wine industry. This year's competition saw 1,489 wines entered from ten key wine growing regions. In addition to the 83 gold medals, 230 silver medals and 386 bronze medals were also awarded.

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