New Zealand wines have been banned from entering two top Australian wine awards, which a wine expert says is because they are taking too many Aussie trophies.
The Royal Hobart International Wine Show has “temporarily suspended” its invitations to New Zealand winemakers and the Perth Royal Wine Show also closed the door to Kiwi wineries, the New Zealand Herald has reported.
Royal Agricultural Society of Tasmania CEO Scott Gadd said New Zealand wine was banned because Tasmanian wines and judges were not allowed to enter the Air New Zealand Wine Awards and Royal Easter Wine Show, despite an “informal understanding” with the organisers.
“I would dearly love New Zealand wines to come back into our show so I’m hoping this decision might prompt a bit of a rethink over there,” he said.
But Shona White, Royal Easter Wine Awards show coordinator, said she could not recall any discussions with Australians about entry into the event and only New Zealand-produced wines were accepted.
“It’s the same in Australia, they have competitions that are only for Australian wines,” she said.
Chris Yorke, global marketing director for New Zealand Winegrowers, said the Air New Zealand Wine Awards had only ever been open to New Zealand wines, although overseas judges had participated.
New Zealand wine writer and columnist Michael Cooper said Australian wine shows had been “generous” allowing Kiwi winemakers to participate but it was unlikely they had anticipated the success of NZ wines.
In the past two years New Zealand wines have won 23 gold awards, 17 silver awards and 47 bronze awards at the Hobart show.
“The pinot noir trophy is going consistently to New Zealand, so whoever is funding that trophy is funding a New Zealand winemaker to go to Burgundy in France. They must be asking themselves ‘why are we doing this?’