The New World Wine Awards has become one of New Zealand’s leading wine shows, with a record 1,332 entries this year. The independent judging panel of 13 wine experts was required to blind-taste up to 120 wines each per day over three days.
Eight associate judges selected from New World’s nationwide team of liquor managers also joined the team of 13 judges. Their scores do not count towards the final marks, but they have the opportunity to provide their opinions on each wine and learn from the professional wine judges. This judging experience helps them enhance the way they select wines for the New World cellars, and assist customers with questions about wine.
Chair of judges Jim Harré attributes this sustained growth to winemakers’ confidence in the integrity of the process, with wines judged using the same internationally-recognised points system as all other leading wine awards, and the benefits of these awards over others in terms of distribution and promotion of medal-winning wines.
Also contributing to driving up the number of entries this year was a change to the minimum number of bottles available for sale to be eligible to enter, down from 6,000 to 5,000. There are further reductions to the minimum stockholding for lesser-known varietals such as some aromatics and dessert wines, which are typically made in smaller quantities. The other unique feature of the New World Wine Awards is that affordability is also paramount. Wines entered must retail for $25 or less.
Sales of the New World Wine Awards medal-winning wines attest to consumer confidence in these awards. In the first six weeks of the 2014 results being announced in September, 282,000 bottles of the ‘Top 50’ wines with a retail value of $4.2 million flew off New World supermarket shelves.
Award-winning wines will be announced in September 2015.