Air New Zealand Wine Awards tasting event kicks off
Twenty-six judges will look, swirl, sniff, sip, gargle and spit more than 1400 wines for this year's Air New Zealand Wine Awards.
The prestigious three-day tasting event, now in its 40th year, is being held at Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland.
A total of 1424 wines across 16 classes were entered into this year's competition.
Marlborough wines topped entries this year with 588 wines, followed by Hawke's Bay with 323 entries, Otago with 184 entries and Nelson with 101 entries.
Pinot noir was the most popular variety entered with 304 entries, followed by sauvignon blanc and pinot gris with 258 entries and 152 entries respectively.
The judges will be chaired by Master of Wine Michael Brajkovich who will be joined by two international judges - Mark Protheroe, head of beverage operations for the Grossi Restaurant group in Australia, and Ronny Lau, an independent wine critic and co-chairman of Shanghai International Wine Challenge in China.
The competition is owned and organised by New Zealand Winegrowers.
Gold medal wines would be announced on November 10 and trophy winners would be announced at an awards dinner on Saturday, November 28 at Saxton Stadium in Nelson.
The most coveted prize of the competition, the Air New Zealand Champion Wine of the Show Trophy, would be announced at the dinner.
Last year, the trophy went to Vidal Legacy Hawke's Bay Chardonnay 2013. Vidal Legacy is a brand produced by Vidal Estate, owned by Villa Maria Estate founder Sir George Fistonich.