The Shout Magazine (New Zealand)

Trans-Tasman wines crowned Wines of the Year

(L-R) New Zealand Wine Society’s head winemaker Jo Gear, Customer Care Manager Anthony Cotton and cellar director Vic Williams.

An Aussie red and a Kiwi white have been crowned winners in the New Zealand Wine Society’s Wine of the Year Awards.

South Australia’s Vasarelli Family Reserve McLaren Vale Shiraz 2016 and New Zealand’s Hawkesbridge Reserve Marlborough Pinot Gris 2017 won Top Red and Top White respectively in the event, which New Zealand Wine Society has been running annually for 24 years.

The wines were blind-tasted and evaluated by a panel of experts, including New Zealand Wine Society’s head winemaker Jo Gear and cellar director Vic Williams, plus winemakers Jeremy McKenzie and Nick Badrice. All wines considered for the awards were drawn from New Zealand Wine Society’s extensive portfolio, with 12 reaching finalist stage.

The Hawkesbridge Reserve Pinot Gris was one of only a handful of 2017 vintage wines to be considered for White Wine of the Year, impressing the judges with its bright fruit aromatics.

“The wine showed classic super-ripe pear and baked apple aromas, with a rich, flavourful finish. It is very moreish and drinking beautifully now, so you don’t have to wait to open a bottle,” said Vic Williams.

When it came to the 2016 Vasarelli Shiraz, the judging panel noted that it was “the embodiment of a harvest that has been declared one of the greatest in recent memory”, calling it “exceptionally vibrant, with vivid colour and aromas of dark fruit, mulberry and blackcurrant”.

The winning wines, along with New Zealand Wine Society’s comprehensive portfolio, are available at