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Part one of a two-part review, PwC took a closer look at the two major celebrational events of the calendar year – the Bragato Wine Awards and the Air New Zealand Wine Awards. With Air New Zealand withdrawing as naming rights sponsor from 2018, the review is timely.
Tasked with determining if the status quo was the best method of celebrating success, the review surveyed NZW members, alongside award chairs and members of the board. The results showed that both events were considered important by members, particularly as platforms for the industry to get together. However there appeared to be a feeling that members wanted to celebrate more than just quality of wine and viticultural excellence. They also wanted to share the success of people, innovation, sustainability, partnerships, experience and export success.
When it came to the current two awards, Bragato and ANZWA, more than twice the number of members (45 percent) claimed they were satisfied or very satisfied. But the report states that there was a very large group – 44 percent – that sat right in the middle, neither satisfied or unsatisfied, “potentially indicating a degree of irrelevance for many”.
Delving deeper, the survey of members showed there was a strong appetite for keeping the awards but revamping them. As CEO Philip Gregan says the awards need to be about more than just wine. “It needs to be about our people and our regions.”
So from this year there will no longer be a separate Bragato Wine Awards. Instead the PwC report suggests Bragato should be focused on sharing knowledge and success such as the young viticulturists. The end of year wine awards could then focus on a range of successes, which would include wine.
As a result there will be a major transformation of the industry’s official wine competition. Firstly, without a principal naming sponsor, the awards will be known as the New Zealand Wine of the Year™ Awards.
The best in variety will be a major part of the new look awards but a new inclusion from this year will be the category of best regional wines. All the wines of each region will be judged alongside their compatriots, to find the best say Nelson wine, or Waipara wine or Gisborne wine.
Only seven trophies will be awarded on the night, with the New Zealand Wine of the Year™ Champion the ultimate prize. For the first time a trophy will be presented to the best organic wine of the year, along with a trophy for the best single vineyard wine of the year.
In addition to the New Zealand Wine of the Year™, the wider industry will be celebrated during the evening as part of the overarching New Zealand Wine Awards. This will include the induction of the 2018 New Zealand Winegrowers Fellows, Young Viticulturist of the Year, Young Winemaker of the Year and Student of the Year.
“We have big plans for the future of the wine awards, broadening the base and broadening the areas of excellence in the industry,” Gregan says.
Chair for the New Zealand Wine of the Year™ Awards will be Hawke’s Bay winemaker and last year’s chair of the ANZWA’s, Warren Gibson. Former Bragato Wine Awards chair Ben Glover from Marlborough will be deputy chair.
New Zealand Wine of the Year™ Awards 2018
Entries open August 1
Entries close August 31
Judging October 2-5
New Zealand Wine Awards dinner November 3, Wellington