International Wine Challenge

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About International Wine Challenge

The International Wine Challenge (IWC) owned by William Reed Business Media is now in its 35th year. The IWC is accepted as the world's finest and most meticulously judged wine competition which assesses every wine blind and judges each for its faithfulness to style, region and vintage Throughout the rigorous judging processes, each medal winning wine is tasted on three separate occasions by at least 10 different judges and awards include medals (Gold, Silver, Bronze) and Commended awards

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Elly Barham-Marsh Helen Kenny
Manifest London
t. +44 (0)203 1379 270

International Wine Challenge

New Zealand wines scoop mighty haul of 470 medals at International Wine Challenge 2015 as Kiwi wine industry continues to thrive

470 medals awarded to Kiwi wines at 32nd International Wine Challenge

  • Total of 41 Gold medals, 169 Silvers and 260 Bronze medals awarded to Kiwi wines by prestigious wine competition
  • New Zealand scoops more Golds for Pinot Noir than traditional masters of the grape from Burgundy
  • Increased diversity coming out of country as young wine industry continues to flourish

New Zealand winemakers demonstrated star quality at the 2015 International Wine Challenge, which announces its results today. 470 Kiwi wines were awarded medals, including 41 Gold medals, 169 Silvers and 260 Bronzes, as the nation continues to cement its position as a winemaking powerhouse.

  • Modern masters of the Sauvignon Blanc grape, this year it was New Zealand’s vastly improved reds that lead the Gold medal charge at the competition, with Kiwi winemakers producing 17 Gold medal winning Pinot Noirs. This is the first time New Zealand has produced more Gold medal winning Pinot Noirs than winemakers in Burgundy, France, traditionally viewed as the masters of the grape. Ten Burgundy Pinot Noirs received a Gold medal at the competition.
  • Notably, Brennan Wines, producer of the 2014 IWC Champion Red (Brennan B2 Pinot Noir 2011), received a Gold medal for its Brennan B2 Pinot Noir 2013 and will be in the running for another Trophy. Trophies will be announced on the 18th May.
  • Hollywood actor and wine producer Sam Neill also received a Gold medal for his Two Paddocks Proprietor’s Reserve The Last Chance Pinot Noir 2012, continuing the success of last year, when he also picked up a Gold medal.
  • Six Syrahs, all produced by North Island wineries, were awarded Gold medals. Mission Estate Winery in Hawke’s Bay picked up a pair of Gold medals for its Jewelstone Syrah and its Reserve Syrah, both 2013 vintage. Also based in Hawke’s Bay, Elephant Hill produced the only blended red to win Gold; Elephant Hill Merlot-Malbec-Cabernet Franc 2013.
  • New Zealand winemakers continued to show their mastery of the Sauvignon Blanc grape with eight Gold medals Sauvignons. Six of the eight Gold medal winners were produced in the Marlborough region in New Zealand’s South island, including the Matua Single Vineyard Awatere Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2014. Matua was the first winery to plant the grape in New Zealand back in 1969. Matua also received a Gold medal for its Single Vineyard Bannockburn Pinot Noir 2013.
  • Two Gold medals were also awarded to Marlborough winery Spy Valley for its Spy Valley Envoy Sauvignon Blanc 2012 and Spy Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2014.
  • While Sauvignon Blanc production is generally associated with New Zealand’s South Island, this year the North Island produced two Gold medal-winning Sauvignon Blancs. Auckland winery Man O’War struck Gold with its Gravestone Sauvignon Blanc Sémillon 2013, and Matahiwi Estate in Wairarapa with its Holly Sauvignon Blanc 2013.
  • Six New Zealand Chardonnays also picked up Gold medals at the competition, including The Society’s Exhibition New Zealand Chardonnay 2013, produced for The Wine Society by Kumeu River winery.
  • UK shoppers keen to get their hands on a Gold medal winning New Zealand wine need look no further than their supermarket. Kiwi wines produced for UK supermarket own brand ranges performed very well at the competition. Aldi The Exquisite Collection Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc 2014 struck Gold, as did Marks & Spencer Mount Bluff Brut NV, a sparkling Chardonnay produced in Central Otago by Lion.
  • Yealands Wine Group picked up a total of 34 medals, including two Gold medals, 13 Silver medals and 19 Bronze medals both for its own label wines as well as wines produced for UK supermarkets including The Co-operative, Marks & Spencer, Morrison’s, Sainsbury’s and Tesco.
  • Beyond the usual suspects, New Zealand wineries showed their capabilities with more unusual grapes. Silver medals were awarded to examples of Albariño, Arneis, Cabernet Franc, Gewürztraminer, Grüner Veltliner, Pinot Gris and Verdelho.
  • Visit the IWC website for the full list of winners:


Charles Metcalfe, Co-Chairman of the IWC commented:

“For the first time, New Zealand has scooped more Gold medals for Pinot Noirs than the traditional masters of the grape in Burgundy, which is a fantastic result for the country’s relatively young wine industry. New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs continue to be as good as ever, and it is great to see Kiwi winemakers creating tremendous wines from more unusual grape varietals. New Zealand winemakers have proven that they are capable of much more than just creating good Sauvignons and Pinot Noirs. Kiwi wines are getting better and better.”

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