Entries are now open for the New World Wine Awards 2015, with a change to entry requirements giving smaller wineries and more limited releases the opportunity to participate in what has become one of New Zealand’s leading wine shows.
Chair of the independent judging panel, Jim Harré, said reducing the number of bottles needed for sale in order to be eligible for entry should enable more smaller, boutique wineries to take part in this competition, while still ensuring consumers have access to sufficient quantities of medal-winning wines.
“The big difference between the New World Wine Awards over other wine shows is the focus on the consumer, which is reflected in the fact that to be eligible for entry wines must be priced at $25 or less and there must be at least a certain number of bottles available for sale,” he said.
The minimum number of bottles required has reduced from 6,000 to 5,000 bottles, with further reductions to the minimum stockholding for lesser-known varietals such as some aromatics and dessert wines.
“The change to the entry requirement is also designed to encourage emerging new varietals, which are typically made in smaller quantities, to be entered in the awards. This ultimately gives consumers nationwide the chance to get to know some of the lesser-known varietals by trying medal-winning wines that have been judged by an independent panel of expert wine judges,” said Mr Harré.
For winemakers, especially smaller wineries, a key benefit from winning medals at the New World Wine Awards is wide exposure and distribution, as well as the distinction of an award that recognises quality on the same basis as all other highly regarded wine shows. Winning wines are guaranteed national distribution through the 135 New World stores nationwide and extensive brand exposure from a high profile marketing campaign, driving sustained sales.
Hugo McCallum of New Zealand’s first Maori-owned wine company Tohu Wines in Marlborough attests to the value that winning medals at the New World Wine Awards delivers in helping to build the profile of small wineries that might otherwise find it hard to reach consumers nationwide.
“The benefits of Tohu Sauvignon Blanc’s Gold medal win at the New World Wine Awards 2014 have far exceeded our expectations. As a result of the guaranteed distribution that comes with a medal win, we’ve seen a phenomenal jump in sales of 36% on the previous year.
“Beforehand you could only find Tohu Wines in selected wine stores dotted around the country, but we can now confidently tell consumers that they just need to look in their local New World.”
The New World Wine Awards is judged by an independent panel of 13 expert wine judges who blind-taste each wine. This years’ judging will take place over three days at Wellington’s Te Papa museum in August, using the same internationally recognised 20-point system as other leading wine shows to ensure the winning wines are the best example of their type. The only difference is that all wines entered must retail for below $25 a bottle and there must be a minimum quantity of bottles available, responding to consumer demand for high quality but affordable and accessible wines.
This year the judging panel will include international guest judge Dr Rowald Hepp, the director and head winemaker of Schloss Vollrads in the Rhine Valley of Germany, a castle and wine estate that has been making Riesling for over 800 years.
The judges will award Gold, Silver and Bronze medals, with the best wines in each category re-tasted to determine the Champion wine of each varietal, plus the overall Champion Red and Champion White.
The results of the New World Wine Awards are eagerly anticipated by consumers, as is reflected in sales. In the first six weeks of the 2014 results being announced in September, 282,000 bottles of the ‘Top 50’ wines with a retail value of $4.2 million flew off New World shelves.
Entries to the New World Wine Awards 2015 close on Friday, 26 June. All details can be found online. For more information or images, please contact:
Lisa van Boekhout
04 499 9111