For the first time since the New World Wine Awards competition began 15 years ago, the number of entries of Pinot Noir has surpassed that of Sauvignon Blanc. The number of entries in the Sauvignon Blanc class is consistent with previous years, but there has been a 47 per cent increase in the number of Pinot Noir entries this year.
Chair of the New World Wine Awards judging panel, Jim Harré, said that this was an exciting change. “We are looking forward to tasting all wines entered, and especially to evaluating the Pinot Noir class, which this year has attracted the largest number of entries overtaking the number of entries in the Sauvignon Blanc class for the first time.”
A 16-stong panel of independent expert wine judges are set to taste a record 1,400 different wines covering a full range of varietals. With the numbers of entries growing every year, an extra three expert judges have been added to the panel, alongside returning judges and the judging panel Chair who celebrates his 10th anniversary leading the show.
“Each of the judges has many years of experience judging at a range of New Zealand and international wine shows,” said Harré. “They bring their individual and collective experience and expertise to bear when judging the New World Wine Awards.”
This year’s judging line-up includes three wine experts who are new to the New World Wine Awards. Meg Brodtmann, one of Australia’s most respected wine industry experts and holder of the prestigious Master of Wine qualification; Cameron Douglas, New Zealand’s only Master Sommelier; and Dr. Rebecca Deed, an expert in microbiology and oenology, bringing an added technical perspective to the panel.
Returning judges are Simon Fell (Thornbury Wines), Ben Glover (Zephyr), Jack Glover (Accolade Wines), Terry Copeland (Wine Consultant), James Rowan (West Brook Winery), Olly Masters (Misha’s Vineyard), Jane Boyle (Wine Consultant), Barry Riwai (Alpha Domus), Sam Kim (Wine Orbit), Sarah-Kate Dineen (Maude Wines), Simon Nunns (Coopers Creek) and Jane Cooper (Alexia).
The panel will taste and judge wines using the same internationally-recognised 100 points system as other leading wine shows. They will award Gold, Silver, and Bronze medals, re-taste top scoring wines to rank them for inclusion in the New World Top 50 and re-taste the best wines again to determine the Champions of each main varietal and an overall Champion Red and Champion White.
In order to be eligible for entry to the New World Wine Awards, wines must retail for $25 or less and there must be at least 5,000 bottles (or 3,500 for niche varietals) available for sale through New World supermarkets nationwide. This ensures the award-winning wines are more accessible for wine lovers than is often the case for other wine awards.
The results of the New World Wine Awards will be announced later in the year, and the Top 50 winning wines will available in New World stores. The results are eagerly anticipated by wine lovers, reflected in the speed some of the medal-winners typically sell out after they are announced.
“The high level of public interest in the New World Wine Awards results shows that it has an important place in the industry, given its unique focus on affordability and availability of wines,” said Mr Harré.
The judging of the New World Wine Awards is taking place at Wellington’s Westpac Stadium, one of the only suitable venues for such a large event, from 31 July-2 August.