Richmond Plains finds gold

Surprise win for family-owned winery

PETER WATSON
Last updated 13:00 01/03/2012
Steve Gill
ASTUTE: Richmond Plains winemaker Steve Gill with some of the product that helped the winery achieve stunning success in Sydney.

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Richmond Plains has beaten Marlborough wineries at their own game by winning the trophy for the best sauvignon blanc at the prestigious Sydney International Wine Show.

In one of the big surprises of the show, the small family-owned winery's 2011 sauvignon blanc overcame competition from much bigger and well known rivals in Marlborough and overseas to win this year's crown.

Richmond Plains co-owner Lars Jensen said it was a fantastic result for the winery, as it was the first New Zealand organic and biodynamic wine to win the trophy.

"We were very excited to be awarded a gold medal and to be selected as one of the top 100 entrants to this show, which is limited to 2000 entries from around the world, as well as being awarded a blue gold for excellence in food and wine matching. Winning the trophy is certainly the icing on the cake.

"It's a pretty big award and there are probably 28 other disappointed wineries in Marlborough."

It was the first time the winery had entered its sauvignon blanc, the wine it produces most of from its McShane Rd base, he said.

"You never have great expectations as much as you might enjoy your own wine, because you can never be sure what the judges will decide."

The show is known for its tough scoring and one of the few which judges wine alongside food.

It is the second vintage in a row that Richmond Plains has won recognition for – its 2010 sauvignon blanc won a gold medal and trophy for the best organic wine at the Hong Kong International Wine Challenge last year.

Mr Jensen put the success down to a team effort and from nurturing good quality grapes through to astute work by winemaker Steve Gill.

Established in 1991, Richmond Plains was the first New Zealand winery to receive both organic and biodynamic certification.

A second Nelson winery also tasted success at the show, with Waimea Estates' winning blue golds for its pinot gris 2010 and barrel selection pinot noir 2008.

It capped a strong showing by New Zealand wine producers who won almost half of all the trophies, including the top prize for syrah/shiraz, a variety which has long been the backbone of Australian wine.

Another talking point was the success of New Zealand pinot noir producers, who picked up a remarkable 32 of 33 of blue golds awarded.

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- The Nelson Mail

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