Sentry Hill Winery has just won its highest ever accolade, providing extra leverage for tapping into lucrative international markets.
The Lepperton winery's Garrison Red Medium fruit wine won the highest scoring fruit wine trophy at the Fruit Wine and Cider Makers of NZ Awards in Napier this month.
"We're over the moon really," managing director Steve Parkes said. As well as nabbing highest-scoring fruit wine, the Garrison Red Medium also took out best still red fruit wine for the third year running.
The winery's Garrison Red Boysenberry Dry won a silver medal, both its Feijoa Supreme and Troopers Green Ginger won bronze in the still white fruit wine category and its Port of Taranaki (boysenberry) won a silver medal in the best fortified wine category.
The recent success would help boost existing markets and open doors to new ones, Mr Parkes said.
"We intend to grow the business so hopefully it can lead into some more national and international trade."
He was looking forward to taking the wines to the Sydney, New York and London wine shows.
"The fruit wine business is flourishing now."
Mr Parkes and Sentry Hill Winery marketing manager Wendy Goodwin recently went to a Hong Kong wine show where they had tastings for 50,000 people over three days.
All up Sentry Hill produced five wines which retailed for between $14.99 to $17.99, he said.
Sentry Hill grew its own feijoas and sourced its berries from Nelson, kiwifruit from Te Puke and ginger from Australia, he said.
A total of 73 wines were entered from around the country in the awards including 29 ciders/perries, 11 fruit ciders, 25 fruit wines and eight fortified wines.
The entries were scrutinised at a tasting facility at the Eastern Institute of Technology in Napier.
Garrison Red Medium was a medium-full flavoured boysenberry wine.
Mr Parkes said it was the first time Sentry Hill Winery had won the best overall accolade. "We must be doing something right."
Sentry Hill Winery had existed for 28 years and Mr Parkes had been at the helm for the past eight. "It's pretty entrenched in Taranaki."
Sentry Hill winemaker Kurt Meyer, who had been with the winery for four years, had been extremely consistent in his work, Mr Parkes said.
"He's done a bloody good job."
Sentry Hill Winery produced about 40,000 bottles of wine a year, he said.
It supplied supermarkets, liquor stores and restaurants throughout Taranaki and some outside the region.
The annual awards were New Zealand's only commercial fruit wine and cider competition.
- Taranaki Daily News
Is this the best summer ever?Related story: Wellington sizzles in January heat