NWWA – Meet the Judges: Simon Waghorn

Simon Waghorn began his winemaking career in 1982, training at Roseworthy College in South Australia. He has been a senior winemaker for 32 years and has judged at all the major New Zealand wine competitions. Simon established his reputation with Chardonnay in Gisborne, and now makes a wide range of interesting varieties in Marlborough. Simon is the winemaker and owner of Astrolabe Wines, and his sauvignon blanc is considered an industry benchmark.

How old were you when you had your first wine ‘moment’?

“I was 19, enjoying the 1976 Nobilos Huapai Pinot Noir…”

What does your own wine cellar look like and what is your most recent addition?

“Around 300. Grand Veneur Chateauneuf du Pape 'La Miocene' 2018.”

In the last 12 months, which grape have you drunk the most of?


In the last 12 months, what’s the most exciting region you’ve discovered or re-discovered?

“Greece, for the Assyrtiko.”

What has been your most memorable wine and food moment?

“Pasta and Burgundy with friends at Trattoria del Peso in Castagnito, Piemonte.”

Wine styles continue to fluctuate. Where do you think the wine-style pendulum is swinging?

“Towards more vitality and less overripe characters.”

What do you enjoy most about judging at the NWWA?

“Knowing the entrant wines will be freely available to the consumers, and not too expensive.”