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This year 1,274 different wines were entered from 176 wineries. Every wine must retail for $25 or less a bottle* and at least 4,000 bottles, or 2,000 bottles for emerging varietals, must be available. The 50 highest ranked wines are then sold through New World stores nationwide.

Jim Harré, Chair of Judges, selected an independent panel of 16 wine experts to judge the wines entered into the competition by wineries from New Zealand and overseas. The New World Wine Awards are judged using the same internationally recognised 100-point system as other leading wine shows, which benchmarks entries against what a perfect wine should be like. This ensures the Top 50 Gold medal winners are the best example of their type and a Gold medal wine in the New World Wine Awards is held to the same standard as any other Gold medal wine.

The integrity of the competition and robust procedures are maintained by Shona White, Chief Steward, who also ensures no judge tastes their own wine entered into the competition.

The wines were blind tasted, which means judges only see the wine in the glass, never any bottles or brands. All they know is the variety, vintage and country of origin. Using a double-blind identification system, whereby each wine is given a 4-digit number that is translated into a 3-letter code, a panel of three judges each individually assess and score each wine.

The judges then convene to discuss their findings and re-taste the top Gold and Silver wines. At this stage the re-pours are randomised and recoded to ensure every wine is treated equally. Once the Gold medals are agreed by the panel, these wines are again randomised and recoded for the panel leaders, international judges, Chair and Deputy Chair to rank the wines. This ranking determines the wines that go into the Top 50.

At the final stage of judging, the full judging panel convene to taste the top 3 ranked wines in each variety and to award the ten Champion wines. To receive a Gold medal, the wine will have been tasted and graded at least 19 times by 11 different judges. Our Champion wines go through the incredibly robust process of being tasted at least 36 times. All 17 judges have tasted them and agreed!

If you enjoy logistics, 23 pallets of wine, glasses and equipment were trucked into Westpac Stadium in Wellington for the judging. All wine bottles are kept away from the judges in a separate room, called the backroom, which is lined with over 100 trestle tables. A team of 14 stewards set up over 5,600 bottles of wine on these trestles, in their correct positions, in a single day. Each bottle is checked at least 5 times before being opened to ensure it’s the right wine and vintage being judged. Stewards pour each wine into glasses, which they carry on trays to the judging room, and walk 15 – 20km a day serving and clearing wines.

A unique feature of the New World Wine Awards is the tasting notes, which are written by Jim Harré, Chair of Judges. Jim uses the three judge’s original tasting notes and re-tastes the wine, writing the notes for this booklet. As Jim says, “After three days of sniffing, tasting, spitting, robust discussion, re-tasting, more discussing, and finally agreeing, we have reached our consensus of the best wines. We enjoyed selecting them and we hope you enjoy your own personal discovery of them.”

* New World Wine Awards Top 50 wines priced at $25 or less until 10 November 2019. After this time the retail price may vary.


Meet the Judges

Jim Harre

Jim Harré, Chair of Judges

Jim’s passion for wine runs in the family – his grandfather, father and brother were all winemakers and his other brother is involved in the wine and food industry in France. Jim has been involved in the New World Wine Awards since 2008, this being his 12th year as Chair of the Judging Panel. He also has extensive experience judging in New Zealand as well as in Australia, China, Japan, UK and USA. His roles include Panel Chair for New Zealand Winegrowers, Chair of Judges for the China Wineluxe Competition, Chair of Judges for the Victorian Wine Competition in Australia, Chair of Judges for the International Aromatic Wine Show, Panel Chair for the International Wine Challenge in London and San Francisco International Wine Competition and a wine consultant for Air New Zealand. Passionate about all aspects of wine and food, Jim is looking forward to the 2019 New World Wine Awards and celebrating the 17th year of this wine show.

Sam Kim , Deputy Chair

Auckland-based Sam has been involved in the New Zealand hospitality and wine industry for over 30 years. During this time he has accumulated 22 years of experience judging for various national and global wine competitions and magazines, including the Air New Zealand Wine Awards, New Zealand International Wine Show, the Royal Easter Show Wine Awards, Decanter Asia Wine Awards, the New Zealand Aromatic Wine Competition, Spiegelau International Wine Competition, Marlborough Wine Show and Cuisine magazine. He publishes his own web-based wine magazine, which features reviews of both New Zealand and international wines.

Nick Bulleid MW , International Judge

Nick is an independent wine consultant with expertise in winemaking, blending, quality assessment and marketing, and is frequently engaged as expert witness in legal cases involving wine quality and value. He became the third Master of Wine in Australia in 1992 and has since taught wine tasting as a visiting professor at Charles Sturt University, and conducted masterclasses and workshops in China, Hong Kong and around Australia. Nick has helped lead the establishment of guidelines for wine shows in Australia and is a regular judge there and overseas. He is a shareholder and director of Brokenwood Wines and also manages his own small Hatherleigh vineyard in the chilly Southern Tablelands of New South Wales, trying to coax Pinot Noir and Chardonnay to ripeness.

James Rowan, Panel Leader

James has been the senior winemaker at Westbrook Winery in Auckland, a family-owned winery established in 1935, for the past 15 years making wine with grapes sourced from Matakana, Auckland, Waiheke Island, Hawke’s Bay, Gisborne and Marlborough. He has been a senior wine judge at numerous New Zealand competitions including Air New Zealand Wine Awards, New Zealand Wine of the Year Awards, Gisborne Regional Wine Awards, the Romeo Bragato Wine Awards, New Zealand International Wine Show and the Royal Easter Show Wine Awards. James is also a senior cider judge. Over the years, James has chosen to share his passion and knowledge for wine with various New Zealand magazines and trade publications.

Jane Cooper , Panel Leader

Jane is an experienced winemaker with 25 years of international experience and her own wine label, Alexia. Winemaking has allowed her to travel across the globe to Chile and Italy, as well as the Hunter Valley and extensively throughout New Zealand. She has worked at Matahiwi Estate in the Wairarapa as the General Manager and Chief Winemaker and now consults at Ohau Wines on the Kapiti Coast, and is currently building a small urban winery and cellar door in Greytown. Jane has previously judged at both the Royal Easter Show Wine Awards and the Air New Zealand Wine Awards.

Nadine Cross, Panel Leader

Winemaker at Peregrine since 2010, Nadine brings experience from France, California and Marlborough to the unique climate of Central Otago. Lured into winemaking by the combination of environment, travel, food and wine, it's a job she loves doing every day and in one of the most beautiful wine regions in the world. For Nadine, winemaking is about learning – being observant and quality focused in order to let the land and environment speak through the wine – while helping lead a top-flight winemaking team.

Simon Nunns , Panel Leader

Simon has been the head winemaker at Coopers Creek Vineyard in Auckland since 1998. He has been a senior judge in all major New Zealand wine shows and is a highly sought-after educator and speaker. Simon also features regularly as a judging panellist for Cuisine magazine and has a passion for alternative grape varieties. He was awarded the inaugural Jason Winter Memorial Prize for academic achievement while completing a Postgraduate Diploma in Viticulture and Oenology from Lincoln University. He has worked vintages in both the United States and France, in the regions of Oregon, Bordeaux and Burgundy.

Wendy Stuckey , Panel Leader

Wendy is an internationally acclaimed winemaker whose career has spanned work in the USA, Australia and New Zealand. In addition to the accolades received by her wines, she has been recognised as one of the Top 20 Most Admired People in the North American Wine Industry and Intowine.coms Top 100 Most Influential US Winemakers. Wendy has recently joined Spy Valley Wines as Chief Winemaker following senior roles with Constellation Brands New Zealand, Chateau Ste Michelle, Washington State and 18 years making wine in the Barossa Valley region of Australia. Originally from South Australia, she has extensive experience as a judge in wine competitions worldwide.

Emma Jenkins MW

Emma became New Zealand’s ninth Master of Wine in 2011. She is the wine columnist for The Australian Women’s Weekly (NZ edition), co-editor of The Independent Wine Monthly, and also writes for a number of trade and general publications. Emma provides consultancy services to a range of industry and corporate entities and is the MW education programme Research Paper Coordinator. She holds a Diploma in Winemaking and Viticulture, teaches WSET courses on occasion and continues to hone her skills judging wine both at local and international competitions.

James Hillard

James started working vintages back in 2000 in New South Wales, developing a lifelong love of complex barrel fermented Chardonnay, Hunter Semillon and cool climate Syrah/Shiraz. Moving to New Zealand in 2004 to teach winemaking and viticulture in Gisborne and to make wine for the Waimata Wines and Cognoscenti labels, he discovered the depth and complexity of the country’s favourite wine styles. He joined Indevin in 2012 as Client Winemaker before moving to the Hawke’s Bay to become Production Winemaker. James has judged at several international and local wine shows. He holds a Bachelor of Applied Science (Wine Science) from Charles Sturt University in Australia.

Jen Parr

An Oregon native and graduate of Stanford University, Jen has called Wanaka home since 2008. She has extensive international winemaking experience in various countries including the USA, France, South Africa and Australia in addition to 16 harvests in New Zealand. Jen has been a winemaker in Central Otago since 2007 and assumed her current roll as winemaker for Valli Vineyards in 2015. Jen passed the WSET Level 3 with distinction and regularly judges New Zealand wine shows. Outside of work, Jen loves skiing, mountain biking, tramping and long walks with her dogs.

Kyle Thompson

After studying food science, Kyle began his working life in the dairy industry in microbiology and sensory evaluation. Always passionate about wine, his interest in the industry began in earnest while living overseas. After vintages in Bordeaux and Tuscany, and further winemaking study, Kyle returned to his native New Zealand and joined Saint Clair Family Estate in 2006 – just as the new winery was being built. He has a particular affinity for judging right here in his homeland as it puts his expertise to the test and allows for a good look at the quality and perse range of New Zealand wines first-hand.

Michael Bann

Originally from Australia, Michael developed his interest in wine growing up in the family retail liquor business. He went on to study horticulture and winemaking, and worked vintages around Australia and France, before coming to New Zealand in 2006 where he met his wife and started a family. Michael has been winemaker for Raupara Springs since 2012 and is passionate about Marlborough wines and developing new varieties and styles within the region. He is an experienced wine judge, having participated in all major wine competitions in New Zealand, and a keen motorcyclist.

Dr Rebecca Deed

Rebecca’s scientific background in wine research and her aptitude for tasting led to her becoming a sought-after wine judge. As a lecturer in Wine Science at the University of Auckland, her research is focused on unravelling the biological and chemical mechanisms behind the formation of aroma compounds in wine. Rebecca has also been a senior judge for Liquorland, NZ Aromatic Wine Competition, Royal Easter Show Wine Awards and Winestate Magazine.

Simon Fell

Simon Fell joined the Villa Maria group in 2003. He has over 25 years of winemaking experience, honed during a career that has seen him work for wineries in Bordeaux, Gers, Oregon, Napa, Chile, Western Australia and New Zealand – his base for the past 15 years. In his current role as Thornbury Winemaker in Auckland, Simon enjoys the challenges and vast possibilities of producing a range of varietal wines from New Zealand’s key winegrowing regions. Simon is a keen outdoorsman, and together with his Californian wife Jacqui, they are avid foodies who enjoy preparing gourmet food and wine dinners for their friends and family.

Terry Copeland

Terry has been judging wine for over 20 years and has judged at over 60 wine competitions in New Zealand and overseas. As a wine specialist, he has contributed to six international wine books and was a Wine Article of the Year finalist at the prestigious International Gourmet Summit Awards in Singapore in 2002. Whilst he has had senior roles within the wine industry, including Wine Editor for Wine & Dine magazine in Hong Kong, and NZ Supply & Export Manager for Treasury Wine Estates; Terry is currently the CEO of Federated Farmers, a key primary industries organisation focused on empowering farmers and growers to producing the very best food and fibre to the world.

Vanessa Robson

Vanessa is a winemaker for Maude Wines in Wanaka, Central Otago. She hails from Adelaide, where she completed an Honours Degree in Oenology, graduating dux of her year. After four years of winemaking in Australia, with a strong focus and love of Clare Valley Riesling combined with Northern Hemisphere vintages in America, Italy and Germany, she finally made her way to New Zealand shores in 2013. She feels fortunate enough to be able to combine her love for making cool climate aromatics and Pinot Noirs, with her enjoyment of the outdoors and all things life in Wanaka has to offer.

Shona White, Chief Steward

Shona White is highly regarded for her ongoing contribution to the wine and hospitality industries. She has performed the vital role of Chief Steward at the New World Wine Awards for 14 years. She has spent over 30 years as a steward, assistant chief steward, chief steward and competition director of many of New Zealand’s most prominent wine shows, including the Air New Zealand Wine Awards and New Zealand Wine of the Year competition. Shona holds a Diploma in Wine Marketing from Adelaide University and a Graduate Diploma in Business (Human Resources) from University of Auckland.


Associate Judges

New World offers the opportunity for Liquor Managers and store owners with an interest and passion for wine to be selected and trained by Jim Harré and Sam Kim to become Associate Judges and evaluate the wines alongside the professional judges.

Introducing a new scholarship, New World partnered with Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT), to offer two top Viticulture and Winemaking students the opportunity to be selected as Associate Judges in the New World Wine Awards.

It's an incredible experience to spend three days in the company of some of the world's best-known winemakers, judging, discussing and analysing the wines in the competition. The Associates provide a score and opinion on each wine, but their scores don’t count towards the final mark. This incredibly valuable experience helps them make recommendations and answer your questions about wine.

The New World Wine Awards 2019 Associate Judges were:

Calum Jamieson – New World Hillcrest
Heidi Brittenden – New World Te Kuiti
Jarrod Mackereth – New World Matamata
Raj Jamwal – New World Gardens
Terry Pattison – New World Kaikohe
Nichkan Sayasith – NMIT scholarship
Kristy Marsden – NMIT scholarship