Supermarket chain pushes commercial angle to its wine awards

New World Wine Awards chief judge Jim Harré says the top 50 medal winners clocked up $5 million in sales over six weeks.

New World Wine Awards chief judge Jim Harré says the number of gold medal winners is rising among the sub-$25 a bottle wines

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Wine awards are not just an ego-building exercise for winemakers and vineyards.

They also generate sales for the winners. This is the main rationale of the New World Wine Awards, sponsored by the Foodstuffs-co-operative supermarket chain.

Judging panel chairman Jim Harré says sales of the Top 50 wines in the first six weeks after last year’s awards topped 345,000 bottles, worth $4.9 million at retail.

He says the 11th year of the awards will mean another increase in the panel to 16 judges to keep pace the increasing number of entries. 

Singapore Master of Wine Tan Yin Hsien, owner of the Taberna Wine Academy, will join as an international judge. 

Entries are restricted to local and imported wines selling for $25 or less. Wineries must also supply at least 5000 bottles (3000 for niche varietals) to meet consumer demand in 125 stores.

Premium wine category
This year’s competition continues last year’s introduction of opportunities for selected New Zealand wines that retail for more than $25.

Hawke’s Bay-based Saint Clair Family Estate Wines was the big winner last year, taking both the overall Champion red and white wine awards.

Marketing manager Julie Ibbotson says a win can deliver more than the prestige of a gold medal alone.

“Our Champion titles enhanced the perception of [our] brand and in turn helped increase sales across our entire portfolio of wines,” she says.

“Success is also one of the many ways we can educate consumers about our winemaking expertise and varietals.”

Judging will be held over three days at Wellington’s Westpac Stadium on July 31, August 1 and 2. 

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