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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The International Wine Challenge Digital Newsroom is a simple and useful resource for you to keep track of all the latest news stories. High resolution images and complete press releases are available to download from here, and you can connect with our various social media profiles easily. Suggestions for improvements are welcome.

Contact Details

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

International Wine Challenge

Kiwi victory: New Zealand wines win big at International Wine Challenge, with 220 medals awarded

220 medals awarded to New Zealand wines at 33rd International Wine Challenge

  • Prestigious wine competition awards 17 Gold medals, 89 Silvers and 114 Bronze medals to Kiwi wines
  • Only Australia earned more Gold medals, with 19
  • New Zealand is proven master of Sauvignon and Pinot Noir

New Zealand cemented its reputation as a thriving wine making nation, winning a mighty haul of 221 medals at Tranche One of the International Wine Challenge (IWC) 2016. Kiwi wines built on last year’s success by nearly doubling their medal haul, scooping up 17 Gold, 89 Silvers and 114 Bronze medals.

  • This tranche of the competition saw Mills Reef Winery from Hawke’s Bay come out on top, winning a trio of Gold medals for 2013 wines. The winery’s Elspeth Trust Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, Elspeth Cabernet Merlot 2013 and Elspeth Merlot 2013 all impressed the international judging panel to scoop Gold medals.
  • Pernod Ricard also won a pair of Gold medals for its young Sauvignons. Brancott Estate Letter Series B Sauvignon Blanc 2015 and Brancott Estate Letter Series R Sauvignon Gris 2015 were both Gold medallists.
  • Six more Sauvignons struck Gold, as Kiwi winemakers continue to demonstrate their mastery of the grape, with five from 2015 vintage. Kim Crawford Small Parcels Spitfire Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2015, Lawson’s Dry Hills Winery’s Mt Vernon Sauvignon Blanc 2015, The McElhinney Wine Group’s Cause & Effect Barrique Fermented Sauvignon Blanc 2015, Peregrine Wines’ Mohua Sauvignon Blanc 2015 and Sugar Loaf Wines’ Sauvignon Blanc 2015 all feature on the list of Gold medal winners from Marlborough.
  • A Marlborough winner from a different vintage, Marisco Vineyards’ The Craft Series Pride and Glory Sauvignon Blanc 2011, was the oldest Sauvignon to win Gold. Nelson-based Seifried Estate produced the only non-Marlborough Gold medal winning with its Seifried Nelson Sauvignon Blanc 2015.
  • New Zealand Pinot Noir also performed well, with five, from a variety of regions, receiving Gold medals. North Otago vineyard, Kurow Estate, struck Gold with its Pasquale Waitaki Valley Pinot 2011, while Coal Pit Wine’s Coal Pit Tiwha Pinot Noir 2014 and Rockburn Central Otago Pinot Noir 2014, both produced in Central Otago, also received Gold medals. Hawke’s Bay Greyrock Pinot Noir 2014 was also awarded a Gold medal.
  • Even celebrities are getting in on the wine making trend in New Zealand. Hollywood actor and star of Jurassic Park and Peaky Blinders Sam Neill won two Silver medals with Pinot Noirs produced at his Two Paddocks vineyard. The Two Paddocks Proprietor’s Reserve The Last Chance Pinot Noir 2013 and his Two Paddocks Proprietor’s Reserve The Fusilier Pinot Noir 2014 were the medal-winners. UK TV and radio presenter Graham Norton also produced his own Silver medal winner, in collaboration with New Zealand vineyard, Invivo Wines. Graham Norton’s Own Sauvignon Blanc 2015 is available from Majestic Wines for £11.99.
  • Visit the IWC website for the full list of winners:


Charles Metcalfe, Co-Chairman of the IWC commented:

“New Zealand’s wine industry is going from strength to strength, and the results of Tranche One of the competition cement its position as an international powerhouse of wine production. Australian and French wine makers should be looking over their shoulder because Kiwi wine makers have been perfecting their craft and are a force to be reckoned with.”

“Marlborough, Hawke’s Bay and Central Otago are already established as iconic wine producing regions, and it’s great to see winemakers from North Otago and Nelson winning Golds as well. The IWC is all about hunting out quality, from new and old wine regions, and it is wonderful to see some less well-known regions shine at this tranche of the competition.”

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