Barry “tickled pink” to be judging at Air NZ wine awards

30 August 2012

When Barry Riwai, a winemaker at Clearview Estate Winery, received his invitation to help judge New Zealand’s premier Air New Zealand Wine Awards, he was “tickled pink”. Then he was daunted.

In 2011, there were 1489 wines judged by a team of local and international judges and it is likely there will be a similar number this year vying for medal and trophy honours for each of the varietal categories.

Barry will be one of ten associate judges involved in the double blind tasting of the wines entered, and will be supported by three international judges and thirteen industry seniors including Hawke’s Bay’s Warren Gibson from Trinity Hill Winery and Rod Easthope formerly from Craggy Range and now producing wines for his own label, Easthope Winegrowers.

Describing the opportunity as “a real honour”, Barry credits his time working as a steward at the event in past years, and as an associate judge at other wine shows locally and overseas, for putting him on the radar of Michael Brajkovich, Master of Wine and newly appointed chair of judges.

The Air New Zealand Wine Awards is the premier wine competition in New Zealand recognising excellence in winemaking and has been running for over 30 years. The competition is owned and organised by New Zealand Winegrowers, the national organisation for the country's 1,300 grape growers and winemakers.

Judging will take place in early November and the awards will be announced at a gala dinner being held in Wellington on Saturday 24 November.

That he has put in the hard yards developing his palate, was further acknowledged by Barry’s subsequent appointment as senior judge at the 2012 Spiegelau International awards that will see him tasting over 1000 wines in Marlborough next week (September 4-6).

Both events are double blind tastings that mean that apart from knowing the varietal being tasted, judges do not know which wines have been entered and do not get to see any bottles.

Clearview co-founder, owner and winemaker, Tim Turvey says that the experience Barry gains from judging will benefit the winery’s customers. “Barry’s judging allows him to assess different trends and styles happening within winemaking and Clearview’s standing against our peers. In a word, it keeps us honest!”
Fellow owner and business founder, Helma van den Berg says that many top winemakers are wine judges. “We continue to support Barry in his judging career, as the trickle down and industry benchmarking is of huge benefit to our winery team and the company in general.”

Barry's formal introduction to wine began in 1997, when he completed the Certificate in Grapegrowing and Winemaking at Hawke's Bay's Eastern Institute of Technology. After becoming hooked on winemaking, Barry continued his studies at EIT and graduated with a Bachelor of Wine Science.

A winemaker at Clearview Estate Winery since 2005, Barry has also worked for Ngatarawa Wines, Church Road Winery and as a flying winemaker in the Loire and Bordeaux.
In his judging portfolio, Barry has been an associate judge at the Royal Easter Wine Awards, Spiegelau International, Bragato and Australia’s leading event, the National Wine Show of Australia Canberra. Barry has also been a senior judge at the Hawke's Bay A&P wine awards.

For more information contact:
Charles Gear
Clearview Estate Sales & Marketing
Phone 875 0150 ext 4 charljes@clkearvi2ewestjate.cso.nzi

Established by Tim Turvey and Helma van den Berg in 1989, Clearview Estate continues as a family owned and operated business – handcrafted wines are grown, produced and bottled onsite. Renowned for award-winning Chardonnays and full bodied red wines, their rustic and iconic ‘red shed’ restaurant pioneered vineyard seaside dining in 1991 by combining a cellar door in a leafy vineyard courtyard setting.
Situated on the coastline of Hawke's Bay at Te Awanga, the Estate enjoys a unique microclimate, virtually frost-free with a warm, extended growing season and refreshing sea breezes. Clearview Estate focuses on quality; producing wines of great fruit intensity with a strong commitment to sustainability in all aspects of the business.