Glittering medal haul for Nelson wines

Nelson has won another swag of gold medals at the two latest wine competitions.

Local wineries gained seven golds at the recent New Zealand International Wine Show, the largest wine competition in the country.

The show attracted 2122 entries from 13 countries, with the judges awarding a record 224 golds which they said was a reflection of the high quality of wines entered.

Nelson wines to win gold were Kahurangi Estate Mt Arthur Reserve Nelson chardonnay 2011, Te Mania Nelson sauvignon blanc 2012, Waimea Nelson gewurztraminer 2011, Brightwater Vineyards Nelson pinot gris 2012, Sea Level Home Block Nelson pinot gris 2012, Tussock Nelson pinot gris 2011 and Brightwater Vineyards Nelson pinot noir 2011.

The region also shone at the New World Wine Awards which were announced this week, with golds going to Brightwater Vineyards Nelson pinot noir 2011, Te Mania Nelson chardonnay 2010, Trout Valley pinot noir 2010 and Wingspan Nelson pinot noir 2010

Nelson's total medal haul of 27 put it third behind runaway winner Marlborough and Hawke's Bay.

Brightwater Vineyards co-owner Gary Neale said the latest medals showed the region was no longer being overlooked as a serious pinot noir producer. He was rapt their pinot noir had won two golds as they had come from vines only planted in 2007, and 2011 had been a difficult year with a lot of sour rot around.

"So for that to turn into such a great wine after all the trouble it gave us at the beginning is very rewarding."

Along with other Nelson wineries, Brightwater had enjoyed a lot of show success this year and now had eight gold medal wines and two trophies in its tasting room.

A total of 1008 wines from 162 wineries were entered in the 10th annual New World competition, and a record number of gold medals were awarded.

The judging panel, comprising 13 top New Zealand wine judges and commentators, awarded 56 gold, 130 silver and 412 bronze medals.

All competition entries must retail for below $25 a bottle, and at least 500 cases must be available for sale.

New World Wine Awards judging chairman Jim Harre said the quality of wines entered this year was "outstanding", and reflected the credibility of the awards among winemakers.

Consumers eagerly awaited awards results - last year's champion white sold out nationwide in 10 days, Mr Harre said.

More people were buying wine as part of their grocery shopping, and a bottle of wine costing $25 or less gave people the chance to try varieties they wouldn't normally choose, he said.

Nelson's success follows on from its haul of 10 golds at the recent Romeo Bragato awards.