New Zealand narrowly headed off Australia to win the trophy for top country at the Six Nations Wine Challenge this year.
As this year’s chairman, and the Australian judge, it was my pleasure to present the awards for the 2017 Six Nations Wine Challenge last week.
This is the 15th year that the Six Nations Wine Challenge has been held in Sydney. It’s my favourite wine competition for lots of rather obvious reasons.
This year, New Zealand won “Top Country” trophy as well as winning seven out of the 15 classes.
New Zealand was the overwhelming winner at the 2015 Six Nations Wine Challenge. And Australia was arguably the big loser.
There are many competitions which allow New Zealand wines to compete against those from other countries. Because much of our wine is exported it’s useful to see how they stack up against the competition.
I’ve just finished selecting New Zealand’s entries for the 13th Six Nations Wine Challenge held in Sydney each year. The competition started as a head-to-head match between Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Chile, Argentina and the United States were added more recently.
Which country was the world’s biggest wine producer in 2014?
I’ve just completed my annual Pinot Noir tasting. A total of 275 wines were submitted by wineries in every region south of Gisborne. The best were better than ever and the same applies to the wines at the other end of the quality scale. I was surprised and gratified by the enthusiasm for our most prestigious, if not most prolific, varietal wine during a recent trip through Asia, Europe and the US. Pinot Noir lovers are enthusiastic. They are quick to appreciate exciting wines from emerging regions.
Does Australia make better wine than New Zealand? To answer that you’d have to pick the very best wines from both countries and get professional judges to compare them in a blind tasting. I’ve done exactly that each year for the past eleven years. The score so far is nine wins to Australia and two to New Zealand. The two countries go head-to-head once a year at a competition that started as the Tri Nations Wine Challenge with the best wines from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa and has evolved into the Six Nations Wine Challenge by adding wines from Chile, Argentina and the United States.