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NZ wine competitions join forces to refresh country’s wine awards

Published:  05 July, 2018

Two of New Zealand’s main wine competitions - Air New Zealand Wine Awards and the Bragato Wine Awards, have merged in a bid to refresh the country’s wine awards scene.

The New Zealand Wine of the Year Awards will combine the best components of the previous competitions, with a focus on rewarding the grape grower and their single vineyard wines (a core component of the Bragato Wine Awards), as well as championing New Zealand wine excellence on a larger scale (a key objective of the Air New Zealand Wine Awards).

The combined competition would help the industry build on New Zealand wine’s “excellent global reputation”, said chairman of New Zealand Winegrowers board John Clarke.

“The opportunity to recognise the achievements of our grape growers and winemakers in one competition is exciting,” he said, adding it was a fresh approach to celebrate excellence in New Zealand wine.

Judging of the wines will take place in the first week of October in Auckland, with Hawke’s Bay winemaker and chair of the Air New Zealand Wine Awards Warren Gibson leading as chair of judges, alongside deputy chair Ben Glover - Marlborough winemaker and chair of the Bragato Wine Awards.

Gibson said: “The New Zealand Wine of the Year Awards 2018 is more than an amalgamation of the previous two; it is the development of a new, fresh and exciting format. The focus is strongly towards celebrating the entire New Zealand wine industry, with a particular focus on vineyard excellence and regionality."

Entries for the awards open 1 August, with the winners celebrated at the New Zealand Wine Awards on 3 November in Wellington.