Chairman of Nelson Winegrowers, Mike Brown, said that while Nelson wineries have achieved individual success on many occasions this result proves Nelson wine wins are not one-hit-wonders: Nelson is a high-quality wine region and results like this mean wines produced in the region will be in high demand.

The Bragato Wine Awards encourage excellence in viticulture so winemakers dedicated to producing outstanding fruit in the vineyards are recognised via the quality wines that result from the vineyard discipline. 

Mr Brown said that as well as showing attention to detail delivers a wine that is a step above the rest, this result proves that Nelson has many high quality producers dedicated to excellence. 

Mr Brown said that over the years Nelson wineries have often punched above their weight in wine competitions, regularly winning more than 3% of gold medals awarded at various competitions, but this result is way beyond the norm. It started with Nelson winemakers winning six of the 38 gold medals awarded at the Bragato Wine Awards; that is almost 16% of gold medals awarded. A special week in Nelson's winemaking history was confirmed by the announcement Nelson wines had also been awarded 33% of the trophies. 

Mr Brown said that one of the most exciting things about these gold medals and trophies is that they are all for aromatic style wines, a style identified by Nelson Winegrowers as being key to the future of winemaking success in the region. 

He said that what is most remarkable is that two of the smallest producers trounced some of this country's biggest and best wineries. 

No one is surprised when a large Marlborough winery leaves the stage with the trophy for the best Sauvignon Blanc in show, but when Daniel and Ursula Schwarzenbach from Blackenbrook Vineyard at Tasman did the unthinkable and stole the trophy with their Blackenbrook 2007 Sauvignon Blanc, everyone had to sit up and take Nelson Sauvignon Blanc very seriously.

Pinot Gris is the most fashionable wine produced in New Zealand at the moment and all major wineries are putting huge effort in to producing excellent examples, but none could match the artisanal passion and effort made by Mike and Carol McGrath from Stafford Lane Estate, one of New Zealand's smallest wine producers, in their Stafford Lane 2007 Pinot Gris. 

The Seifried family added to their already substantial awards cabinet when they were awarded the trophy for the best Gewürztraminer with their Seifried Estate 2007 Winemaker's Collection Gewürztraminer. Seifried Estate is a medium to large company production-wise, but their dedication to excellence in every aspect of their business is reflected in this award.

Rounding out the trophy haul is the team at Waimea Estates who won the sweet wine trophy with the Waimea 2004 SV Noble Riesling. Owner Trevor Bolitho indulges winemaker Mike Brown's passion for dessert wines by letting him turn large quantities of fruit into small, highly concentrated berries to produce some of the consistently best sweet wines made in New Zealand.

The other wines to win gold medals were Kaimira Estate 2006 Riesling and Waimea 2004 Dry Riesling. 

International Award 

If the Bragato wins were not enough to focus attention on Nelson wines then the announcement of the International winners at the Decanter World Wine Awards deserves special mention. 

The Decanter World Wine Awards held in London each year celebrate the diversity of wine by focusing on regional styles and the influence of terroir. Wines are judged on a regional level to promote a sense of origin over international, homogenised styles. Whether the wine is red, white, rosé, still, sparkling, sweet or fortified, they are all tasted in regional flights in the first round to find outstanding examples of their type. If successful they will move forward to compete for an international trophy. 

The 2007 Decanter World Wine Awards attracted 7,642 wine entries from around the world of which just 25 were named International Trophy winners.

Seifried Estate won the Regional Trophy for the Best Sweet Wine over £10 with their Seifried Riesling Sweet Agnes 2006; Sweet Agnes being the American brand for their 2006 Seifried Riesling Ice Wine. At the awards dinner on Tuesday 4th September Seifried Estate won the International Trophy for Best Sweet Wine over £10 with the same wine. 

A Nelson wine judged as the best sweet wine in the world - beating some of the biggest names in the wine world in a truly international competition - is nothing short of outstanding for Seifried Estate and reinforces the quality of wines produced in the Nelson region.

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