Top 7 Wine Competitions in New Zealand

Ever wondered why there are so many wine competitions all over the world? Everybody – including world-class wine testers – has a preference. And, each event takes a slightly different angle from the next one. New Zealand, for example, has nine wine competitions every year, with each competition having different criteria for finding the world’s finest wine. That makes it surprisingly hard for winemakers to become finalists in two separate events.

New Zealand Wine of the Year

Formally known as the Air New Zealand Wine Awards, this event is considered the official wine competition in New Zealand. It was founded in the late 1970s and has been the gold standard in wine events across the world. As imagined, Air New Zealand was the confirmed sponsor of the competition for over 30 years. But they recently pulled out, leading to the name change. However, the airline’s spokesman says they will still spend at least $1 million every year showcasing the best New Zealand wine to the world.

Fine Wines of New Zealand

Fine Wines of New Zealand is an annual wine event famous for being one of the most rigorous wine competitions on the planet. It starts with panel members getting a specific wine variety from different winemakers. Then they taste all of them and give an expert opinion on each sample. Think of it as the qualifying stage where only a few examples get to the group tasting phase. There, a team of judges blind taste the wine samples and share their opinions. The results from this stage make the prestigious Fine Wines of New Zealand list.

The Marlborough Wine Show

The Marlborough Wine Show was first held in 2011 and is geared towards showcasing New Zealand’s thriving wine sector. Every event gets a three-judge bench, comprised of people with vast experience in wine tasting. And they only accept wines with a minimum of 95% Marlborough grown grapes. Finalists get gold, silver and bronze medals and a chance to promote their products to potential business partners and consumers alike.

New Zealand International Wine Show

The first thing you notice about the New Zealand International Wine Show is its willingness to accept submissions from anywhere in the world. The event has already awarded 257 gold, 355 silver, and 822 bronze medals to winemakers from around the globe. And they are currently accepting applications at the time of this writing. Bob Campbell MW will chair the 2019 event along with judges from leading winemakers, masters of wine and critical personnel in New Zealand’s wine industry.

New Zealand Organic Wine Awards

Founded in 2014, the NZ Organic Wine Awards has been on the lookout for the best organic wines. Their mission is to promote these “green” wine for its benefits to consumers and the earth. And they achieve that by promoting these winemakers through their increasingly popular wine events.

Interestingly, the team takes a customer’s stance when making decisions in wine competitions. That explains why NZ Organic Wine Awards is very different from most events in the world.

NZ Sommelier Challenge

The NZ Sommelier is a nonprofitable organisation with the primary goal of pooling professionals working in and around the wine industry. That includes winemakers, marketers in the beverage and wine space, people in the hospitality industry, wine tourism professionals, and wine educators. All their competitions have different settings depending on what the judges are looking for. And winners get to walk away with prestigious awards.

The New Zealand Agricultural Show

The agricultural show might seem like an awkward place to have a wine event, but it really isn’t. The aim of having an agrarian show is to celebrate rural life. And that includes grape farmers too. The event attracts more than 100,000 people every year, making it one of the best places to get some eyeballs on new products in the wine market. The function accepts most interested applicants with winemakers coming from all over the country. However, there are no medals for the finalist, but participants get cheap advertising by showing and sampling their products in these events.