Gold Medals Announced at Air New Zealand Wine Awards 2012

14 November 2012

Ninety-seven gold medals have been handed out at this year’s Air New Zealand Wine Awards with 90 percent of these medals going to sustainable wines.

For the fifth year running, Pinot Noir came up trumps with the highest gold medal tally at 21, followed by Sauvignon Blanc (17) and Chardonnay (15). New Zealand’s largest wine producing region, Marlborough, racked up a total of 331 medals with 46 golds, 99 silver and 186 bronze medals. Hawke's Bay also had a strong showing with a total of 101 medals – 19 gold, 30 silver and 52 bronze. Central Otago won 93 medals consisting of 17 gold, 20 silver and 56 bronze.

Sustainability is a continuing focus of the Air New Zealand Wine Awards with a record number of sustainably accredited wines entered into the competition. Ninety-two percent of this year’s entries were sustainably accredited, up from 75 percent last year. Sustainable wines are produced from grapes that have been accredited or certified through an independently audited sustainability programme. The winemaking and packaging facilities used must also have been accredited or certified.

This year's competition saw 1,367 wines entered into 17 different classes. In addition to the 97 gold medals, 183 silver medals and 364 bronze medals were also awarded, bringing the total number of medals awarded to 644.

Chair of Judges, Michael Brajkovich MW, said the standard of entries this year has been as high as it has ever been with a good line-up of medals across all classes.

“Sauvignon Blanc is very strong. Pinot Noir is always a standout. Chardonnay is extraordinary. Growers are experimenting more with different styles. While new varieties such as Tempranillo, Grenache and Albariño are small in quantity, the quality is getting better and better,” he said.

“There is a wide diversity within each class and we want to recognise and reward the good quality wines,” Brajkovich said. “New Zealand wine is now right up there with the very best and this is something we can be very proud of.”

Air New Zealand Head of Sponsorship and Community James Gibson said, “We’re passionate about the New Zealand wine industry and enjoy introducing our international passengers to home-grown wines on board our flights. This is the 26th year that Air New Zealand has sponsored the wine awards and we continue to be very proud to be associated with the very best our nation’s winemakers have to offer. Congratulations to all the medal winners.”

Organised and owned by New Zealand Winegrowers, the Air New Zealand Wine Awards is the country's most prestigious wine competition and is regarded as the official competition of the New Zealand wine industry. The elite gold medal and trophy winners will be announced at an awards dinner on the 24th of November in Wellington.

Gold medals by varietal
Sparkling – 3
Sauvignon Blanc – 17
Riesling – 7
Pinot Gris -9
Gewürztraminer -2
Viognier – 1
Chardonnay – 15
Dessert Wine Styles – 6
Pinot Noir – 21
Merlot – 1
Syrah – 8
Cabernet Sauvignon and Blends based on Merlot and/or Cabernet Sauvignon – 3
Emerging Wine Styles – 4
Total – 97

Gold medals by region
Auckland – 3
Gisborne – 3
Hawke's Bay – 19
Wellington / Wairarapa – 1
Nelson – 2
Marlborough – 46
Canterbury – 4
Central Otago – 17
Other – 2
Total – 97

The following lists gold medal wineries and the trophies they are eligible for at the awards dinner on the 24th of November.

Wineworks Champion Sparkling Wine
Pure Gold
Quartz Reef Méthode Traditionnelle Brut NV
Gold
Lindauer Classic Rosé NV
Palliser Estate Méthode Traditionnelle 2007

Label and Litho Limited Champion Sauvignon Blanc
Pure Gold
Ara Single Estate Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2012
Artisan The Sands Block Sauvignon Blanc 2012
Framingham Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2012
Huntaway Limited Edition Sauvignon Blanc 2012
Kim Crawford Small Parcels Spitfire Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2012
Matua Valley Estate Paretai Sauvignon Blanc 2012
Mud House Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2012
Rapaura Springs Reserve Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2012
Saint Clair Vicar's Choice Sauvignon Blanc 2012
Sileni Cellar Selection Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2012
Stoneleigh Rapaura Series Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2012
The Kings Favour Sauvignon Blanc 2011
Tohu Mugwi Reserve Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2011
Vicarage Lane Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2012
Wither Hills Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2012
Yealands Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2012
Yealands Estate Single Block Series M2 Sauvignon Blanc 2012

Plant & Food Research Champion Riesling
Pure Gold
Aspiring Flats Bendigo Central Otago Riesling 2012
Mt Beautiful Riesling 2010
Vavasour Riesling 2011

Guala Closures NZ Champion Pinot Gris
Pure Gold
Eradus Wines Awatere Valley Pinot Gris 2012
Mud House Estate The Home Block Vineyard Waipara Valley Pinot Gris 2011
Spy Valley Pinot Gris 2012
Stoneleigh Pinot Gris 2012
Tiki Estate Waipara Valley Pinot Gris 2011
Villa Maria Private Bin East Coast Pinot Gris 2012
Whitehaven Marlborough Pinot Gris 2012

Coast FM Champion Gewürztraminer
Pure Gold
Lawson's Dry Hills Gewürztraminer 2010
Waimea Gewürztraminer 2012

Rabobank New Zealand Limited Champion Chardonnay
Pure Gold
Auntsfield Single Vineyard Chardonnay 2010
Matua Valley Single Vineyard Marlborough Chardonnay 2011
Saint Clair Pioneer Block 10 Twin Hills Chardonnay 2011
Vidal Legacy Series Hawke's Bay Chardonnay 2010
Vidal Legacy Series Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay 2011
Villa Maria Reserve Barrique Fermented Gisborne Chardonnay 2010
Villa Maria Reserve Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay 2011
Villa Maria Reserve Marlborough Chardonnay 2011
Villa Maria Single Vineyard Keltern Chardonnay 2011
Gold
Lawson's Dry Hills Marlborough Chardonnay 2008

BDO Champion Other White and Rosé Wines
Pure Gold
Coopers Creek SV Gisborne Albariño ‘Bell-Ringer’ 2012

Kapiti Champion Dessert Wine
Pure Gold
Brancott Estate Letter Series ‘B’ Late Harvest Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2011
Greystone Waipara Valley Basket Star Riesling 2011
Lawson's Dry Hills Late Harvest Riesling 2010
Osawa Wines Late Harvest Hawke’s Bay Gewürztraminer 2011
Villa Maria Reserve Marlborough Noble Riesling Botrytis Selection 2011

JF Hillebrand New Zealand Ltd Champion Pinot Noir
Pure Gold
Ara Resolute Pinot Noir 2011
Bird Big Barrel Pinot Noir 2011
Charcoal Gully Central Otago Sallys Pinch Pinot Noir 2011
Domain Road Vineyard Pinot Noir 2011
Esk Valley Marlborough Pinot Noir 2011
Forrest Tatty Bogler Pinot Noir 2010
Gibbston Valley School House Central Otago Pinot Noir 2011
Grasshopper Rock Central Otago Earnscleugh Vineyard Pinot Noir 2010
Jules Taylor Wines Marlborough Pinot Noir 2011
Rockburn Central Otago Pinot Noir 2011
Saint Clair Pioneer Block 14 Doctor's Creek Pinot Noir 2011
Scott Base Central Otago Pinot Noir 2011
Villa Maria Cellar Selection Marlborough Pinot Noir 2010
Villa Maria Private Bin Marlborough Pinot Noir 2011
Wooing Tree Beetle Juice Central Otago Pinot Noir 2011
Wooing Tree Central Otago Pinot Noir 2010

New Zealand Winegrowers Champion Merlot
Pure Gold
Villa Maria Reserve Gimblett Gravels Hawke’s Bay Merlot 2010

Fruitfed Supplies Limited Champion Syrah
Pure Gold
Coopers Creek SV Hawke’s Bay Syrah 'Chalk Ridge' 2011
Passage Rock Reserve Waiheke Island Syrah 2010
Trinity Hill Gimblett Gravels Syrah 2011
Villa Maria Cellar Selection Hawke’s Bay Gimblett Gravels Syrah 2010
Villa Maria Reserve Gimblett Gravels Hawke’s Bay Syrah 2010
Gold
Villa Maria Reserve Hawke’s Bay Syrah 2009

Gold Medal Vintage Insurance Champion Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot/Cabernet Blend
Pure Gold
Villa Maria Reserve Gimblett Gravels Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot 2010
Gold
Esk Valley Winemakers Reserve Merlot Malbec Cabernet Sauvignon 2009

New Zealand Winegrowers Champion Other Red Styles
Pure Gold
Trinity Hills Gimblett Gravels Tempranillo 2010
Villa Maria Cellar Selection Gimblett Gravels Hawke’s Bay Grenache 2010

Waitoa Free Range Chicken Champion Exhibition White or Sparkling Wine
Pure Gold
17 Seventeen Valley Chardonnay 2011
Akarua Central Otago Alchemy Ice 2012
Drylands Marlborough Dry Riesling 2012
Gibbston Valley La Dulcinee Pinot Gris 2012
Giesen The Brothers Marlborough Chardonnay 2011
Lawson's Dry Hills The Pioneer Pinot Gris 2010
Maude Mt Maude Vineyard East Block Riesling 2012
Rockburn Tigermoth Central Otago Riesling 2011
Villa Maria Reserve Barrique Fermented Gisborne Chardonnay 2011
Villa Maria Single Vineyard Ihumatao Chardonnay 2010
Villa Maria Single Vineyard Ihumatao Chardonnay 2011
Villa Maria Single Vineyard Omahu Gravels Viognier 2010
Waimea Grüner Veltliner 2012
West Brook Marlborough Riesling 2011

Stuff.co.nz Champion Exhibition Red Wine
Pure Gold
Judge Rock Central Otago Pinot Noir 2010
Last Chance by Two Paddocks Central Otago Pinot Noir 2010
Söderberg Single Vineyard Home Block Marlborough Pinot Noir 2010
Tupari Awatere Valley Pinot Noir 2011
Vidal Legacy Series Gimblett Gravels Syrah 2009
Gold
Vidal Reserve Gimblett Gravels Hawke’s Bay Syrah 2007
Villa Maria Reserve Hawke’s Bay Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot 2007
Villa Maria Single Vineyard Southern Clays Pinot Noir 2009

About the Air New Zealand Wine Awards
The Air New Zealand Wine Awards is the premier wine competition in New Zealand recognising excellence in winemaking. The competition is owned and organised by New Zealand Winegrowers, the national organisation for the country's 1,700 grape growers and wineries. The competition has been running for over 30 years and this is the 26th year that Air New Zealand has been the naming rights sponsor for this competition.

About the Judging
The Air New Zealand Wine Awards has a rigorous judging process undertaken by a team consisting of experienced international and local judges. All wines in the competition were judged over three days from the 5th to the 7th of November at Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland. The 25-strong judging team was chaired by Michael Brajkovich MW, and included three international judges; Julia Harding MW (United Kingdom), Navneet Singh (Australia) and Bill Zacharkiw (Canada).

About Pure Medals (Sustainability)
Every wine entered into the Air New Zealand Wine Awards from vintage 2010 onwards has to be 100% sustainably grown and produced in order to enter the competition. Pure medals are awarded to wines that are 100% sustainable and that have achieved medal status. For example, a wine that attains a gold medal score and is sustainably accredited is awarded a pure gold medal.