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Judging For 2023 Marlborough Wine Show Gets Underway

Over 550 wines are to be tasted over the coming days as judges get to work at the 2023 Marlborough Wine Show, sponsored by QuayConnect.

Chief Judge Stu Marfell says the high number of entries is a testament to the calibre of the show, indicating its status as a key event for the region’s wine producers.

“It’s exciting to see the wine competition continuing to grow, especially as it’s such a great way to show the diversity of wine styles and how high the quality is here in Marlborough,” he says.

The first round of judging begins today and will wrap up on Friday, October 20.

Fourteen Marlborough winemakers will be joined by guest judges Stephen Wong MW, and Emma Jenkins MW to taste this year’s line-up.

Stephen and Emma will form part of the judging panels, tasting wines from all categories bar the Legacy category, which will be judged separately with guest judge Oz Clarke on November 6.

“It’s really great for our judges to judge with Emma and Stephen, who have such a depth of international and local judging experience,” Stu says.

“We rotate the guest judges through the judging panels, so each judge gets a chance to pick their brains and absorb their knowledge. It’s a great opportunity for our judges to learn from them.”

Of the 636 wines entered into the 2023 show, 194 wines were entered into The Coterie Wine of Provenance category, which celebrates the best single vineyard current release wine. This category has seen huge growth once again, up from 122 entries last year, and 45 in 2021.

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A total of 34 wines were entered into the Vit Management Limited Organic Wines category, and 16 into the Vintech Pacific Low Alcohol category. A total of 338 wines have been entered in the new subregion trophy categories: 152 from Wairau Valley, 110 from the Southern Valleys and 76 from the Awatere and South Marlborough.

Medal winners are to be announced on Friday, October 27, with trophy winners announced at the Marlborough Wine Show Celebration Evening, which is also a celebration of 50 years of Marlborough wine, taking place on November 17, 2023.

The NZ Wine Centre Legacy Award, sponsored by Marlborough Research Centre, is designed to celebrate wines with pedigree and is awarded to the wine producer with the highest scores from three vintages within a 10-year period and a minimum gap of two years between each vintage.

Guest judge Oz Clarke, a world-leading wine expert known for his phenomenal palate, irreverent style, accurate predictions and enthusiasm for wine will be joining Stu Marfell, Ben Glover and Stephen Wong MW to assess the Legacy entries on November 6.

“We’re super excited to have Oz join us since he’s been such a long-standing supporter of Marlborough and the wines coming out of Marlborough,” Stu says.

The Legacy category is an opportunity to look beyond the newer vintages that make up the majority of the show’s categories and showcase Marlborough wines that age well.

This is a particularly relevant category for 2023, as the show celebrates 50 years of Marlborough wine.

“There’s some really amazing wines in Marlborough that can age really well … this is a really good opportunity to get some of those wines in front of Oz, to taste with him and show him how we are making complex and interesting world-class wines,” Stu says.

Jaron McLeod, General Manager of show sponsor QuayConnect, was pleased to see the growth of the show this year.

“This is an important event for the Marlborough Wine Industry every year, and this year's event is even more special with the celebration of 50 years of Marlborough wine,” he says.

“QuayConnect is excited to be the show's principal sponsor once again, demonstrating our commitment to celebrate and promote the Marlborough wine industry. We are excited to present the QuayConnect Champion Wine of the Show and have the opportunity to congratulate the industry in person.”

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