Two new awards celebrating the Best Organic Wine and Alternate Style Sauvignon Blanc, coupled with two exceptional Marlborough vintages, promise for an exciting lineup on the judging table at this year’s Marlborough Wine Show, sponsored by QuayConnect.
Three days of judging 544 winesbegins tomorrow (13 October) at the Marlborough Convention Centre under strict Covid-19 alert level 2 guidelines.
Returning as chief judge is Marlborough winemaker and renowned wine judge Ben Glover, who is excited to see “two exceptional vintages, 2020 and 2021 on the tasting table over those three days”.
“It’s always a privilege to chair the Marlborough Wine Show as chief judge, because it’s unique and celebrates a multitude of what is great about our wines; through regional blends, subregional diversity, winemaker influence and subtle changes in style direction within the Marlborough region.”
Ben is looking forward to seeing the single vineyard wines, as well as the opportunity to award the new Vit Management Ltd Best Organic Wine trophy.
“It’s really important to be rewarding organic winegrowing, single vineyard expression and diversity within our subregions. It’s all about discovering and expressing our turangawaewae within the Marlborough region through our wines,” he says.
Wine Marlborough general manager and show director Marcus Pickens says the Best Organic Wine, which has attracted 24 certified organic entries, will be awarded to the highest scoring organic wine from any class.
“We’re hoping to encourage more diversity of entries in the wine show, because it’s a very diverse industry. We want to celebrate all components of it as much as we can,” says Marcus.
The new Alternate Style Sauvignon Blanc class, which requires the use of oak, or malolactic fermentation, extended lees contact, indigenous yeast or skin contact, has attracted 18 entries, which Marcus says is “very encouraging”.
“It’s so important that we keep evolving the styles of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, showcasing new techniques and new consumer trends, and that we recognise those.”
This year’s judging team includes 10 senior judges including guest judge Stephen Wong MW as well as six associates including The Tonnellerie de Mercurey Marlborough Young Winemaker of the Year 2021Peter Russell. Three judging panels will be led by Marlborough winemakers Helen Morrison, Jeremy McKenzie, Sophie Parker-Thomson MW, Stu Marfell and Murray Cook.
Ben says the team is an excellent, cohesive, thought-provoking judging base.
“There are an exceptional bunch of judges in the Marlborough region, and it’s always good, as a collective, to get together and taste the region’s amazing wines within a judging forum,” he says.
Marcus says industry support has been exceptional, with the highest number of entries into the Marlborough Museum Legacy Award in the competition’s history.
“These 24 entries will compete for the highest score for three vintages within a 10-year period for any wine under the same brand and variety.”
The Coterie Provenance Award, which awards the best single vineyard from any class, received 144 entries, while the largest increase of entries is in the Sparkling class, which grew by 45 percent on 2020. The student category also saw six entries.
Marcus says this is particularly heartening to see as the industry deals with the many challenges of Covid-19. The show itself will proceed under strict alert level 2 protocols including mask wearing by competition stewards, the formation of bubbles and encouragement for participants to vaccinate.
“We also want to say a huge thank you to all our sponsors, including naming sponsor, QuayConnect who support this show generously.”
Jaron McLeod, General Manager of QuayConnect, says they are proud to once again be the key supporter of the 2021 Marlborough Wine Show.
“QuayConnect specialises in smart sustainable logistics across a variety of industries however, this sponsorship acknowledges our origins which started with a focus on sustainable logistics solutions for the Marlborough wine industry. Whilst Covid-19 makes the celebration uncertain, we are pleased to see the judging move ahead to acknowledge the high-quality wine from the region, we look forward to seeing who wins the QuayConnect champion wine of the show award and hopefully celebrating the industry once restrictions allow.”
With judging finishing on October 15, medal results will be announced on Friday October 22, and all trophies announced at a Celebration Long Lunch which has been postponed to Thursday 18 November.