Wanted: Top drops for NZ’s most consumer-focused wine competition

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Panel chair . . . Jim Harre, at work during a previous New World Wine Award competition.

By Robyn Bristow

Entries close for the 17th New World Wine Awards, on Friday, June 21.

The awards are one of New Zealand’s most consumer-focused wine competition and offer wineries an opportunity to get their top drops in front of wine-loving shoppers in New World stores nationwide.

The goal is to find wines that are affordable and accessible for shoppers, that cost $25 or less. Entrants must also have at least 4000 bottles available to meet consumer demand – 2000 for niche varietals – a threshold that has been adjusted this year to encourage an even wider spread of styles and producers to enter.

The Top 50 medal-winning wines will be rewarded with distribution through more than 135 New World stores across the country and receive comprehensive publicity support in-store and out.

Corey Hall, co-founder of emerging wine brand Harwood Hall which won a sought-after top spot in the 2018 New World Wine Awards, says the benefits of their win have gone well beyond the initial distribution opportunity.

“As a new name in a very competitive market, the attention that surrounded the awards results was invaluable to growing awareness of our brand. Not only are consumers now more confident to purchase our winning Sauvignon Blanc, they are intrigued to try other varietals in our range.

“The visibility we’ve had with New World supermarket owners and liquor managers through the process has also provided a new route to grow our distribution and sales opportunities over the long-term. Now, more often than not, we can direct people keen to try our wines to their local New World store.”

Underscoring the value of the Gold medal sticker on every winning bottle is the integrity of the New World Wine Awards judging process, which uses blind-tasting protocols and the same 100-point scale as other leading wine competitions.

Chair of the judges, Jim Harre, from North Canterbury, who is attending the awards for the 12th year, will oversee a panel of 16 experts, including wine industry consultant and Master of Wine Nick Bulleid from Australia.

“The New World Wine Awards has built a strong reputation around its judging, which is evidenced in the strength of the talent we attract back to the panel each year,” he says.

“This, coupled with the delight of being able to introduce consumers to amazing new wines each year, makes the competition something really special to be a part of.”

As introduced in 2017, this year’s competition will also include opportunities for selected New Zealand wines that retail for over $25.

The New World Wine Awards judging will take place over three days at Wellington’s Westpac Stadium in late July. Wines will be awarded Gold, Silver and Bronze medals, with the best in each category re-tasted to determine the Champion of each varietal, plus the overall Champion Red and Champion White.

Results will be announced later in the year.

All entry details can be found online at www.newworld.co.nz/topwines.