Bay winer­ies out for gold again

Hawke's Bay Today - - FRONT PAGE - Roger Moroney roger.moroney@hbto­

For the Sa­cred Hill win­ery crew in Hast­ings, there was never any doubt about hav­ing an­other crack at turn­ing one of their wines into gold this year.

Last year, they picked up a gold medal at the New World Wine Awards and mar­ket­ing man­ager Tim Hansen said there was never any doubt they would be in the hunt again.

“It is a good one to win and has real com­mer­cial ben­e­fits — we are def­i­nitely en­ter­ing again,” he said, adding that at this stage what they were plan­ning to put for­ward for judg­ing was still be­ing con­sid­ered.

Hawke’s Bay wines have long tasted gold, sil­ver and bronze suc­cess at the an­nual awards, which are now in their 16th year.

Last year’s awards were no ex­cep­tion, with Bay wine­mak­ers pick­ing up a to­tal of 116 medal wines over­all — with five pres­ti­gious golds among the top 50.

As well as Sa­cred Hill, golds were picked up by Squawk­ing Mag­pie Gravel Syrah 2016, Esk Val­ley Hawke’s Bay Mer­lot Rose 2017 and Esk Val­ley do­ing the dou­ble with its Cel­lar Se­lec­tion Syrah 2015 and Hawke’s Bay Mer­lot Rose 2017.

En­tries for the 2018 awards opened late last month and wine­mak­ers have un­til June 22 to get their en­tries in.

To be el­i­gi­ble, en­tries must re­tail for $25 or less and there must be at least 5000 bot­tles (3000 for niche va­ri­etals) avail­able to meet con­sumer de­mand.

And there was clearly a de­mand, a Food­stuffs NZ spokesper­son said, point­ing out that the awards was the only New Zealand wine com­pe­ti­tion that saw an in­crease in sales as a di­rect re­sult of win­ning medals. Hansen agreed. “We def­i­nitely saw a spike af­ter win­ning gold last year.”

Julie Ib­bot­son, mar­ket­ing man­ager for Saint Clair Fam­ily Es­tate Wines, which picked up two golds for a red and a white at last year’s awards, also noted that.

“Our cham­pion ti­tles en­hanced the per­cep­tion of the Saint Clair brand with New World shop­pers and in turn helped in­crease sales across our en­tire port­fo­lio of wines.”

Fol­low­ing the an­nounce­ment of the 2017 win­ners, New World re­ported that more than 345,000 bot­tles of the top 50 judged wines, with a re­tail val­ues of around $4.9 mil­lion, sold dur­ing the fol­low­ing six weeks.

The three-day judg­ing process, which will get un­der way in Welling­ton at the end of July, will be led by chair of judges Tim Harre, who will be at the helm for the 11th year run­ning, and said that like a fine wine, the awards con­tin­ued to im­prove with age.

“The in­tegrity and value of the New World Wine Awards is a win­ning com­bi­na­tion that grabs the at­ten­tion of wine­mak­ers and wine-lovers alike,” Harre said.

He will be joined on the 16-strong judg­ing panel by mas­ter of wine Tan Yin Hsien, who runs the Singapore-based Taberna Wine Academy and will be the in­ter­na­tional judg­ing com­po­nent.

The full re­sults of the 2018 awards will be an­nounced later in the year.

Photo / War­ren Buck­land.

Sa­cred Hill mar­ket­ing man­ager Tim Hansen with a bot­tle of the gold medal win­ning chardon­nay from last years 2017 New World Wine Awards.

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