2023 New World Wine Awards Judging Begins

The big taste test begins at 2023 New World Wine Awards – One of the country’s biggest wine tastings gets underway this week, with more than 1200 wines from across Aotearoa and the world set to be blind judged at the 2023 New World Wine Awards.

Red wines awaiting judging at the New World Wine Awards
Red wines awaiting judging at the New World Wine Awards

Each wine entered will be swirled, sniffed, sipped, assessed and debated by an independent panel of wine experts over three full days – all in a quest to find the best for New World shoppers.  

The results are hotly anticipated each year thanks to the competition’s unique focus on wines that retail for under $25. 

The top-ranked wines will be announced in the New World Wine Awards Top 50 under $25 and stocked in New World stores nationwide later this year, providing customers with a go-to range of award-winning yet affordable wines and helping take the guess work out choosing a great bottle at a great price. 

Co-Chair of Judges Jen Parr, who will lead the judging team alongside Co-Chair Sam Kim, says the judges are ready and excited for the task ahead. 

“Many of our judges are also winemakers, so we appreciate how much hard work and passion goes into each wine.  

“Giving every entry the time and consideration it deserves is really important to us. It’s serious and demanding work, but it’s also lots of fun.  

“We get the privilege of tasting a huge variety of wines and, most importantly, the chance to help consumers discover some of the best our industry has to offer.” 

New World Wine Awards Co Chairs Sam Kim and Jen Parr
New World Wine Awards Co Chairs Sam Kim and Jen Parr

New Zealand’s newest wines up first 

As the first major wine show to judge in New Zealand each year, the New World Wine Awards is also one of the first opportunities to taste many of the country’s newest wines in large numbers.  

Around 15 percent of the wines entered are from the 2023 vintage, meaning they were harvested and made earlier this year – some making it into the bottle just in time.  

“Day one’s to do list includes a whopping 150 Sauvignon Blanc wines and 110 Pinot Gris wines – and many will be from 2023,” says Parr. 

“We are really eager to put these wines to the taste test and see what consumers have to look forward to. 

“While it’s been a challenging season for many winegrowing regions and the volume of grapes has been lower than last year’s record-breaker, reports on the quality of fruit have been promising.” 

Reds also set to wow 

While all eyes will be on the white wines on day one, the reds are set to steal the scene as judging progresses.  

Together there are around 650 red and Rosé wines entered in the awards, tipping the balance of entries further towards blushing pinks, ruby reds and deep purples.  

“The Rosé trend has continued to hold strong in the entry numbers again this year, with more than 130 still and 40 sparkling Rosé wines for us to taste,” says Parr. 

“In reds, there’s a continued wave of long-loved varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon coming through, as well as growth in international and emerging variety red wines from overseas producers like Argentina, Australia, France, Italy, Spain and beyond.

“In a consumer-focused competition like this one, it’s another sign that New Zealand wine drinkers are becoming more adventurous in their tastes and looking for new wines to explore.” 

Zero entries grow faster than ever 

Adding to wine lovers’ options more than ever before are also an increasing number of non-alcoholic entries. 

“The zero alcohol entry classes are a great example of where industry innovation and consumer demand meet, and after a couple of slow and steady years, entries have almost doubled in 2023.” 

The judges will taste nearly 50 zero alcohol wines, assessing each entry twice – once alongside wines of the same variety, and again in a zero-alcohol only flight. 

“We know more and more people are looking for delicious non-alcoholic options, and this approach to judging will help us find the very best recommendations to pass on.” 

About the New World Wine Awards Judging  

The 21st annual New World Wine Awards will judge in Marlborough from 1st to 3rd August, with more than 1200 entries from over 130 local and overseas wineries and distributors. 

The independent judging panel is made up of 17 experts from across the wine industry, including respected winemakers and industry professionals, who will each taste around 100 wines per day. 

Judging is ‘blind’, meaning the judges only assess the wine in the glass on the day, and do not know the brand of any entry.  For all entries, the panel will evaluate each wine on appearance, taste and smell, making collective scoring decisions according to the internationally recognised 100-point system to award Gold (95-100 points), Silver (90-94) and Bronze medals (85-89).  

To earn a Gold medal, a wine will have been tasted and graded at least 18 times by 11 different judges, and the top scoring wines will be tasted once again by the entire judging panel to determine the Champions of each main varietal, and an overall Champion Red and Champion White.  

The full results will be announced in October. Explore last years winners here:


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