Excitement is building among wineries and wine-lovers alike as entries open for the 2021 New World Wine Awards today. Widely recognised as New Zealand’s most consumer-focused competition, the Awards are unique in combining the integrity of an international-standard wine show with the benefits of a retail opportunity through New World supermarkets nationwide.
Each year, the Awards attract upwards of 1,400 entries from around New Zealand and the world to be swirled, sniffed and sipped by an independent panel of expert judges. The Top 50 wines are then made available through more than 135 New World stores, where they are highly anticipated by wine-loving shoppers. The Top 50 winners also receive comprehensive marketing, advertising and promotional support over a five-week period which leads into the festive Christmas season.
The competition’s aim to provide top quality wines at a great price is reflected in the main entry criteria: wines must be priced under $25 and there must be enough stock available to meet consumer demand in store.
The minimum stock requirement is 4,000 bottles, however a temporary adjustment to 3,000 bottles has been made for Sauvignon Blanc, taking into account the reduced volume expected from the 2021 vintage.
The Awards will also continue to welcome more niche varietal producers and encourage consumer trial of lesser-known wines via the recently established Emerging Varietals class, which has a lower minimum volume requirement of 1,800 bottles.
Marlborough wine brand Two Rivers experienced the impact of a Top 50 placing when their Two Rivers Convergence Sauvignon Blanc 2020 won a Gold medal and the Champion Sauvignon Blanc title at the 2020 New World Wine Awards.
“Winning such a prestigious place in the Top 50 for our flagship wine, in a year like 2020, was absolutely amazing for us,” says David Clouston, Founder and Winemaker of Two Rivers.
“It put Two Rivers Convergence Sauvignon Blanc front and center in people’s minds and it helped place the wine in new stores and previously untouched regions throughout New Zealand.
“While we have always had great exposure in New Zealand, 2020 taught us just how essential selling wine locally is. The Top 50 win at the New World Wine Awards certainly increased brand awareness and domestic sales when we needed it most.”
Entries close on Friday 2 July and judging will take place in Marlborough in late July before the results are announced later in the year.
Sam Kim, Deputy Chair at the Awards for the previous three years, and Jen Parr, an award-winning winemaker and returning judge, will move into their roles as Co-Chair of Judges this year, following the long-signalled retirement of Jim Harré after 13 years at the helm.
“The New World Wine Awards are run to exacting standards and have built a strong reputation within the industry, as well as with consumers, over the past 18 years,” says Kim.
“A Gold medal award and Top 50 placing is a trusted accolade in the supermarket aisle and beyond, presenting entrants with a fantastic opportunity to showcase their brand and wines.”
Together Kim and Parr will oversee an independent panel made up of 15 other wine experts who will judge over three days, employing a double-blind tasting process to ensure results are based only on the quality of the product in the glass on the day and using the world-recognised 100-point scale for scoring.
Opportunities for select New Zealand varieties that retail over $25 are included in the competition this year. The top Gold medal-scoring wine over $25 from each variety will be promoted under the New World Premium New Zealand Selection during the busy Christmas period.