The Shout Magazine (New Zealand)

Pear cider takes top award at the NZ Cider & Fruit Wine Association awards

Image credit: The Cider Factorie/Facebook

Perfect Pear

A bottle-fermented pear cider been named the best cider in the country at the New Zealand Fruit Wine & Cider Awards in Hawke’s Bay on Friday night.

Perfect Pear 2018, produced by The Cider Factorie in Tauranga, was crowned Champion Cider at a pared back ceremony attended by a small crowd.

The event had been planned to coincide with The NZ Cider Festival, due to be held in Hastings this weekend but the festival is postponed until February next year.

Judges said Perfect Pear, crafted in the Méthode Traditionelle style, was well-crafted and “simply delicious”.

“We just kept coming back to it,” said head judge Merophy Hyslop.

“It had a really nice texture, lovely bubbles, good complexity and length. It’s not easy to create pear cider – you need some real skill to be able to make a cider like that.”

It is the first time a pear cider – or perry, as it is also known – has scooped the top honour since the inception of the awards in 1984.

Hyslop said across the board the ciders and fruit wine had impressed.

“It was nice to see people implementing different techniques and stepping outside of their comfort zone and more thought going to the different flavour categories, too.”

The top fruit wine in the country was awarded to Excaliber 2018 by Wildfern NZ – a mead wine made in Upper Hutt.


Rich and sweet, the dessert-style honey wine is made from a blend of Mānuka and other native honeys, giving it a vanilla and soft caramel flavour.

“Mead as a category was much bigger this year and Excaliber really stood out,” said Hyslop.

“It’s an excellent example of a traditional, classic-style mead and really refined.”

Jody Scott, chairman of the Fruit Wine & Cider Makers Association which runs the awards each year, said while it was a shame the biggest night of the year for New Zealand cider and fruit wine makers had been scaled back, there was still much reason to celebrate.

“The cider market in New Zealand has really flourished in the past few years and we received a record number of entries this year.

“We also saw a good number of producers entering for the first time, which was great and reinforces that as an industry we are strengthening and growing.”

This year, there were 138 entries, a 29% increase on the 107 last year.

In total, there were 12 trophies awarded, 18 gold medals, 47 silver medals and 54 bronze medals.

Reflecting the burgeoning seltzer market, the awards this year also included a seltzer category for the first time.

Trophy winners: Cider
Best Modern Cider – Old Sod 2021, Peat Cider Company (Hamilton)
Best Traditional Cider – Totally Oaked 2021, Elemental Cider (Ōtaki)
Best Pear Cider (Perry) – The Pict 2020, Paynter’s Cider (Hastings)
Best Cider with Berry Fruit – Old Mout Boysencider, Redwood Cider Co. (Nelson)
Best Cider With Non-Berry Fruits – Mata Golden Kiwi Cider 2021, Aotearoa Breweries
Best Cider with Spice, Botanicals or Honey – Oatmeal Cookie 2021, Bohemian Cider
Best Bottle-Fermented Cider – Perfect Pear 2018, The Cider Factorie (Tauranga)

Trophy winners: Fruit wine
Best Fruit Wine – Apple and Feijoa Fruit Wine, Lothlorien Winery (Warkworth)
Best Fortified Fruit Wine or Fruit Liqueur – Feijoa and Honey Liqueur, Lothlorien Winery (Warkworth)
Best Mead – Excaliber 2018, Wildfern NZ (Lower Hutt)

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