Entries Open for 2009 Air New Zealand Wine Awards

10 August 2009

Entries are now open for the 2009 Air New Zealand Wine Awards, which is now carbon neutral following its achievement of carboNZeroCertTM certification this year.

Chris Yorke, global marketing director for New Zealand Winegrowers, said a number of changes have been made to the Awards this year, further enhancing its focus on sustainability.

“We’ve had a sustainable focus for the past three years, with the inclusion of pure bronze, pure silver, pure gold and pure elite gold medals for sustainable wines and the Bell Gully Champion Sustainable Wine Trophy,” Mr Yorke said.

“But for the first time this year the entire Awards programme has achieved carboNZero certification. This means we have measured and reduced the greenhouse gas emissions associated with the event, and offset the remaining unavoidable emissions by purchasing verified carbon credits from credible New Zealand projects.

“Changes include the online management of all entries to reduce paper, recycling of all the wine bottles and cardboard boxes, and encouraging wineries to use cardboard rather than polystyrene packaging,” Mr Yorke said.

The Air New Zealand Wine Awards, the country’s most prestigious wine competition, are run by New Zealand’s grapegrowing and winemaking industry body New Zealand Winegrowers, with support from naming-rights sponsor Air New Zealand.

“The competition has been around for close to 30 years now, and has long been regarded as the official competition of the New Zealand wine industry.

“New Zealand wines are internationally renowned for their high quality, and with the Awards becoming totally carbon neutral, we hope New Zealand wineries will become increasingly well-known for their attention to sustainability,” Mr Yorke said.

The Air New Zealand Wine Awards is an independent competition and has a rigorous judging process undertaken by a panel consisting of experienced judges from New Zealand and around the world.

This year’s awards have attracted some of the world’s top judges including the president of the International Wine and Food Society and Master of Wine (MW), John Avery, and CH’NG Poh Tiong, publisher of The Wine Review, the oldest and most established wine publication in South-East Asia, Hong Kong and China. The other overseas judges are Australians Huon Hooke, a leading wine writer, and Geoff Merrill, owner of Geoff Merrill Wines.

“We’re very pleased to have such an experienced and well-respected line-up of international judges on the panel this year,” Mr Yorke said.

The top awards up for grabs are the Air New Zealand Champion Wine of the Show Trophy and the Bell Gully Champion Sustainable Wine Trophy. Trophies and medals are also awarded for each wine varietal, with pure medals awarded to sustainable wines.

In the 2008 Air New Zealand Wine Awards, 367 bronze, 220 silver, 56 gold and 28 elite gold medals were awarded. In addition, 32 pure bronze, 19 pure silver, four pure gold and three pure elite gold medals were awarded.

Entries for the awards close on 18 September with judging taking place at the ASB Showgrounds in Auckland from 2-4 November.

This year’s Air New Zealand Wine Awards gala dinner will be held in Christchurch on Saturday November 21.