The Shout Magazine (New Zealand)

What’s trending in wine in Aotearoa right now?

The New World Wine Awards 2022 began its judging process in Marlborough this week, with some notable shifts in entries from previous years.

An independent panel of 17 experts will spend three full days assessing more than 1,200 wine entries and organisers say that Kiwi wine lovers are starting to explore new styles and become more adventurous in their tastes with a jump in new red wine varieties and globally-trending styles such as Rosé and Prosecco.

More than 150 local and global wineries and distributors entered the 20th annual competition, which focuses on finding the top drops under $25 dollars.

Co-chairs Jen Parr and Sam Kim

Each is vying for a spot in the Top 50 winning wines, which will then be available to New World shoppers nationwide.

“As the country’s most consumer-focused wine competition, entries to these awards can be a great indicator of what wine-lovers and winemakers are getting excited about,” says Co-Chair of Judges for the New World Wine Awards, Jen Parr.

Red is the new white

For the first time in the awards’ 20-year history, the Single Variety Red Wine class has eclipsed the iconic Sauvignon Blanc class to become the largest in the competition.

“There are more than 180 Single Variety Red Wines to taste our way through, 30% more than usual,” says Co-Chair of Judges Sam Kim.

“This class is home to local favourites like Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, two varieties that love to grow in the sunny Hawke’s Bay and surrounds.

“However, we’ve also seen an increase in ‘New to New Zealand’ varieties like Grenache, Malbec, Petit Syrah and Tempranillo.

“These are what we call ‘emerging wines’ – meaning they are well-established in other parts of the world, like Spain, France or Australia, but still quite new to New Zealand shores and palates.

“We had some stunning wines come through in this class in 2021 and we are really excited to begin tasting this year’s entries to find the stand outs that wine-lovers are waiting for.”

Pink wine trend rosier than ever

The trend-setting tipple Rosé is also seeing a record-breaking year, with more than 170 pink wines entered.

“Incredibly, this is a 50% increase on last year’s entries – which was a record in itself,” says Parr.

And she says it’s unlikely we’ll hit ‘peak pink’ anytime soon, with the rise in entries a sign of both consumer demand, and the quality of the Rosé being produced in New Zealand and internationally.

“Rosé has really come into its own in the last decade. As it has attracted wine drinkers’ attention, winemakers have responded with top quality wines, that are skilfully made in a wide variety of styles and hues.”

This year’s field includes more than 100 New Zealand made Rosé wines, as well as entries from France, often considered the ‘epicentre’ of Rosé, and Australia.

Sparkling love affair continues with Italian drop

Sparkling wines have also seen a rise in popularity, with another heart-fluttering increase in the number of bubbly entries – up a third to nearly 130 wines.

Prosecco – one of Italy’s premier and proprietary bubblies, is one of the styles behind the leap in entries, a flow on effect of double-digit sales growth for Prosecco in New World stores over recent years.

“Where Champagne and Brut were once our main – if not only – sparkling choices,” says Kim.

“We now have access to an amazing range of New Zealand made bubblies to toast with, trending styles from overseas to explore, and a growing number of no and lower alcohol options too.”

The results of the 2022 New World Wine Awards will be announced in October.

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