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Harpers Wine Stars Awards 2018: South Africa and New Zealand

Published:  11 May, 2018

Two quite different countries, with quite different strengths and selling points featured in our latest Wine Stars judging session at The Worx in London’s leafy Parsons Green.

Both, however, shared certain similarities in that they are rich hunting grounds for an ever-evolving range of varieties and styles, with the more established big-hitters – Bordeaux-rooted blends and varieties from Stellenbosch and Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, for example – now sitting alongside an ever-increasing cornucopia of wines from new regions, new varieties and up-and-coming, often innovative producers.

The results proved fascinating, giving an insight into evolving attitudes among buyers to the best-known wines from each country, but also how the wines from those countries are changing to meet modern demand and tastes.

Albariño, Pinot Gris and Viognier, along with red Rhône varieties and Pinot Noir, all generated talking points, as did the advance of great quality Chardonnay – especially from New Zealand – among the judges.

Bringing in scoring for value and design, it was generally agreed that these aspects are now paramount in a crowded and highly competitive world if the wine is to make it off the shelf or on to a table – no matter how good the liquid inside.

However, as you might expect, fall down on the latter and there will likely be no second bottle sale, no customer loyalty and thus no future despite a favourable price tag and label appeal.

Put simply, today’s producers increasingly have to get all of these aspects in perfect alignment if they are to make it past the buyer-gatekeepers and thrive out there in the market.

For the full South Africa and New Zealand results, follow the link here, or click on the Wine Stars Awards icon under Digital Editions on homepage for a full back catalogue of countries judged so far.

To learn more about Harpers Wine Stars Awards or to enter wines for forthcoming sessions (Australia and France up next), please contact: