Gourmet Traveller WINE is proud to present the inaugural New Zealand Winemaker of the Year Award. New Zealand Editor Bob Campbell MW chairs the judging panel alongside two of his country’s most esteemed wine judges and critics Raymond Chan and Cameron Douglas MS.
It’s a pleasure to announce the introduction of a Gourmet Traveller WINE award for Winemaker of the Year New Zealand and it’s an honour to be part of the judging process. The first step we had to consider was the selection of judges who have an intimate and up-to-date understanding of New Zealand wines and the people who produce them.
Raymond Chan was an obvious choice. Raymond has an encyclopedic knowledge of New Zealand wines and winemakers. A recent recipient of the Sir George Fistonich Medal for his contribution to New Zealand wine, Raymond is a wine critic and judge with a background in wine retailing and restaurant management.
Cameron Douglas Ms is the other valued member of the judging panel. Cameron is this country’s first and only Master Sommelier. He’s an experienced wine judge at local and overseas wine competitions, runs the food and beverage program at Auckland University of Technology and is a ‘writer, commentator and reviewer of all things beverage’.
Our judging procedure and awards closely follow those established by the Gourmet Traveller WINE Winemaker of the Year Awards that have selected 160 finalists and 20 winners in the past 20 years.
Each of the judges independently compiled a list of six finalists. Those lists were compared and discussed before each judge compiled a second short-list, this time ranked in order of preference. That second list, which established the winner and runners-up, was reviewed and approved by the judges without dissension.
Four of the six finalists are based in Hawke’s Bay with one in Waipara and one in Central Otago. All have worked in their current wineries for at least 10 years and have earned many awards and accolades for excellence in winemaking. I estimate that New Zealand is home to at least 1,000 winemakers. These are six of the best.
Bob Campbell MW, chair of judges GT WINE New Zealand Winemaker of the Year
Photography by Christopher David Thompson