2008 AIR NEW ZEALAND WINE AWARDS HITS COUNTRY'S CAPITAL

21 May 2008

New Zealand Winegrowers today announced that the 2008 Air New Zealand Wine Awards will be held in Wellington later this year.

Steve Smith, Chair of Judges for the Air New Zealand Wine Awards, said he was excited the black-tie gala dinner will be held in the nation’s capital.

“It’s an honour to be Chair of Judges at the Air New Zealand Wine Awards again this year and it is particularly special that the Awards are to be held in Wellington,” said Mr Smith.

Wellington City Mayor, Kerry Prendergast is thrilled that Wellington is hosting the event. “It is a fantastic opportunity for all winemakers to visit our region and experience Wellington’s outstanding food and wine scene.”

The Air New Zealand Wine Awards are owned and organised by the country’s grapegrowing and winemaking industry body, New Zealand Winegrowers, with support from naming-rights sponsor Air New Zealand.

The Air New Zealand Wine Awards continue to lead as New Zealand’s most prestigious wine competition, with a history exceeding 25 years.

The competition will again be fierce this year as New Zealand wineries look to compete for the top prize – Air New Zealand Champion Wine of the Show. Sustainably produced wine will again have the opportunity to compete for New Zealand’s only sustainable wine trophy – the Bell Gully Champion Sustainable Wine Trophy.

“Wine competitions are extremely important for New Zealand winemakers to continue to strive for excellence and push the boundaries of premium winemaking.

“The Air New Zealand Wine Awards is the ideal opportunity for New Zealand Winemakers to compete against their peers and showcase their world-class wine for both New Zealand and world-wide consumers,” said Mr Smith.

The wine is judged on three factors; colour and clarity, aroma and bouquet, and taste and general impression. From this, the judges then decide whether each wine is deserving of either an elite gold medal, gold medal, silver medal or bronze medal. Sustainably produced wine is eligible to compete for one of the unique sustainable medals – pure elite gold, pure gold medal, pure silver medal or a pure bronze medal.

Entry details will be sent to New Zealand wineries early August with entries closing 19 September. Judging will take place at the ASB Showgrounds in Auckland from 3-5 November.

The 2008 Air New Zealand Wine Awards dinner will be held at the TSB Bank Arena, Wellington on Saturday, November 22, 2008.