Competition booming Down Under

The annual Air New Zealand Wine Awards are getting to be such a major event, the competition for medals is ramping up.

Entries for this year's event have topped 1,700, an increase of about 10% over last year and an all-time high.

Wine varietals leading this year's wine awards are Chardonnay with 325 entries, Sauvignon Blanc with 318 and Pinot Noir with 236 entries. This year Viognier also gets its own class, with 22 entries received this year. This specialty white wine is growing in production due to consumer demand.

Marlborough wines once again topped entries with 680 wines all up, almost 40 per cent of the total entries, followed by Hawke's Bay with 412, Nelson with 126 entries and Gisborne with 125 entries.

New Zealand Winegrowers Chief Executive Philip Gregan said, "As we reach 20 years of Air New Zealand sponsorship, the awards are stepping out with a new look logo, medals and for the first time on-bottle recognition for trophy winning wines with a new sticker. The awards are as eagerly followed by consumers as the industry and this year we are launching a new interactive Web site and advertising campaign.

The wines will be judged over three days, Oct. 30-Nov. 1, in North Shore City. All wines are critiqued for either a bronze, silver or gold medal. Gold medal wines are then re-tasted to find the possible 19 Air New Zealand Wine Awards trophy winners, and final results will be announced on Nov. 11.

The overall medal results will be available here or here.

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