New Zealand wines banned from entering leading Australian wine shows…
In a case of fair suck of the sav’, some of New Zealand’s leading wineries have been refused permission to enter their wines in the upcoming Royal Hobart Wine Show according to an article written by Giles Hine of Royal Hobart’s reason for their stance, as given by their Chief Executive Officer Scott Gadd, is that, “After lengthy deliberations over two years the committee has decided to no longer accept entries from outside Australia. This difficult decision is the result of a feeling that the original spirit of the agreement to open the show to New Zealand winemakers has not been honoured.”

“We believed that efforts would be undertaken to ensure that Australian judges would be invited to participate in the New Zealand International Wine Show in exchange for inviting the New Zealand wine industry to our event. Unfortunately despite repeated efforts from our end over the past 2-3 years, no such invitations have been forthcoming. It was also hoped that our initiative would lead to the ability of Australian (or at least Tasmanian producers) to enter New Zealand wine shows.”

The New Zealand International Wine Show is, and always has been, run by Kingsley Wood of First Glass in Takapuna who makes the following statement:

• All correspondence for the N.Z International Wine Show comes to me. I have never received any correspondence of any description from the Royal Hobart Wine Show, or in fact any other Australian Wine Show.
• It is a fact that both Huon Hooke and Kym Milne MW have judged at the NZ International Wine Show. On several occasions Australian winemakers have been invited but were unable to attend. This year Gynneth Olsen, winemaker at McWilliams Wines in the Hunter Valley will be judging. She is Australian.
• Earlier this year Kym Milne MW was invited to once again judge at the NZ International Wine Show but the timing of the event clashed with other judging commitments he has. Kym has asked to be included in next year’s panel.
• Tasmanian wines are regularly entered into the NZ International Wine Show. In fact many of the categories are usually dominated by Australian wines.
• The NZ International Wine Show is now in its 7th year. From memory the Royal Hobart Wine Show has been in place and accepted New Zealand entries for many more than the 7 years of the NZ International Wine Show. I am therefore at a loss in attempting to understand how there could have been any “agreement” to open the Hobart competition to NZ Wines. The timing or in fact the suggestion of any such agreement doesn’t make sense. has also learned that both the Perth and Canberra wine shows have also excluded New Zealand wineries from entering. Bugger me days mate!  Where’s the ANZAC spirit in all of this?  Is Kingsley Wood’s International Wine Show being used as a scapegoat for some Australian wine industry protectionism?  After all New Zealand wines are relentlessly gaining market share there and, furthermore, the past two champion Pinot Noirs (a variety in which Tasmanian wineries pride themselves) came from New Zealand wineries.  Someone is clearly coming the raw prawn.

yours truly judging some darn lovely moscato’s at the Gisborne Regional Wine Awards
Gizzy gets busy…

A week or two back I was lucky enough to be invited to be a judge at the inaugural Gisborne Regional Wine Awards along with Larry McKenna (Escarpment Vineyards) Simon Nunns (Coopers Creek), Simon Waghorn (Astrolabe), Ant McKenzie (Te Awa + Kidnapper Cliffs) and Australian wine writer Ralph Kyte-Powell.  Chaired by the fabuous Jane Skilton MW, it was a fantastic event which really opened my eyes to what Gisborne is capable of.  Chardonnay still reigned king with Villa Maria scooping the Supreme Wine of the Show Trophy for the now iconic wine, the Villa Maria Reserve Barrique Fermented Chardonnay 2009, with the 2010 vintage also walking away with a Gold medal.
Villa Maria founder and Managing Director, Sir George Fistonich commented on the awards: “Fourteen years ago we found our prime vineyard sites in Gisborne, after searching for days by helicopter to find the perfect and unique topography that would make these outstanding wines. Year after year this wine is consistently good, so we’re ecstatic to have it recognised as the best in the region.”

Marlborough Wine and Food goes high tech

With less than 100 days until the Rugby World Cup hits New Zealand, Wine Marlborough Ltd (organisers of the long-established Marlborough Wine Festival) has launched ticket sales for its unique Marlborough Wine and Cuisine event to be held at Brancott Vineyard on Thursday 6 October 2011.  Hoping to lure international visitors keen on seeking a wine and food experience, the team at Wine Marlborough Ltd are hoping to sell around 4000 tickets to their event.
Tickets cost $55 and Wine Marlborough are using a new ‘card ticketing’ concept supplied by – a unique online paperless ticketing solution and New Zealand’s only card based ticketing platform.  Each card is personalised with the ticket purchaser’s name and account number.  The new system also offers the benefit of eliminating the issues associated with lost, stolen and counterfeit cards.  If the ticket is lost or stolen, the account attached to the card is simply cancelled.
Coupled with this is a revolutionary iPhone application which allows people to purchase tickets using their iPhone.  The iPhone app scans the quick-reference (or QR) code on a poster, flyer or advert and the ticket page is loaded automatically. The ticket can then be scanned from the iPhone for entry into the event.
Wine Marlborough’s Event Manager Andrea Craig is excited about the new ticketing solution and sees its potential for the organisation’s events longer term.  “We are running an international event with Marlborough Wine and Cuisine, and we felt that using an innovative ticketing system that international audiences were comfortable using, would add to this event’s professionalism and appeal.”

Sip of the week

Saint Clair Godfrey’s Creek Reserve Marlborough Pinot Gris 2010 $25 4 stars
Nashi pear, crème caramel and quince aromas lead to a silky, oily, citrus and apple-skin character on the finish.  It has crispness and richness at the same time making this a fantastic autumn sip – just don’t chill it too much

Shoestring Wines ‘Lil’ Rippa’ Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2010 $12  3.5 stars
This wine is produced from fruit grown in Marlborough’s Awatere Valley and it’s just lovely.  Oozing lime, lemon, passionfruit and all those classic herbaceous aromas like crushed nettles and basil – all those things wash forward onto the palate.  A very drinkable sauvignon that’s crisp, vibrant and tangy – and really leaves an impression on the tastebuds.  There’s a lot of ‘ok’ sub-$10 sauvignon out there but if you just fish around for another 5 bucks it’s amazing the quality you’ll find.
Seresin Sun & Moon Marlborough Pinot Noir 2008 $125 5 stars
Try to think of this as less of a wine and more of an incredibly sensuous experience.  Great pinot noir has mystery.  It confuses even the experts who struggle to pinpoint exact aromas and flavours because the wine changes in the glass and offers layer upon layer of beguiling character.  The sun and moon is a rare wine only produced in exceptional years using organic, biodynamic methods.  Roasting pan juices, dried herbs, aromatic bitter chocolate, cherry, autumn forest-floor notes and a burst of baking spices open the gate  for luscious, savoury fruit, smoky oak and an elegant, emery-like, mouthcoating texture to finish.