The New World Wine Awards is hitting the road this week to host a series of regional judging events for the first time in its 18-year history.

More than 1200 wines are set to be judged over 10 days of non-stop tasting at events in and around the country’s key wine regions.

Hawke’s Bay, Marlborough and Central Otago will each be the judging hub for wines grown and made in the surrounding areas, while Auckland will hold the judging for local as well as international, sparkling and emerging wines.

The change was designed to ensure the awards could continue safely and effectively during the country’s evolving COVID-19 response and has gone on to attract strong entries and support from wineries all over the world.

Chair of Judges Jim Harré says the judging team, made up of 18 independent wine experts from around the country, is delighted to see award entries exceed expectations and hold strong to previous records during such a challenging year for many businesses.

“New Zealand’s wine industry is an incredibly important part of our economy, and like so many sectors, it has been working through a difficult period with many unknowns,” he says.

“It is encouraging to see such a significant number of local wineries, as well as many of our regular entrants from Australia and beyond, put their wines forward.”

Judging the emerging, sparkling and international wines, as well as local Auckland entries, will be judges James Rowan from West Brook Winery, Corey Hall from Coopers Creek and Simon Fell Thornbury, while 12 other judges will assess entries in the regions. 

The top ranked Silver and all Gold scoring wines will then be reviewed by a second panel of judges in Auckland, including Chair of Judges Jim Harré, Associate Chair Sam Kim and consulting winemaker Simon Nunns.

The panel will review the wines to confirm consistency across regional scoring, rank the top Gold medal wines and award the Champion titles.

All entries to the New World Wine Awards must retail for $25 or less, and there must be at least 4,000 bottles (or 2,000 for emerging varietals) available for sale through New World stores to ensure there is plenty on hand for wine-loving shoppers to enjoy.

The full results will be announced later this year.

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