Teamwork - and good grapes - were key in producing this year's Best Student Wine.
Kaoru Mizuguchi, Hyota Sato, Chris Borain and Yuji Masuo were all studying at Eastern Institute of Technology when they made their 4 Little Pigs Merlot 2016, which was recognised at Tuesday night's Hawke's Bay A&P Bayleys Wine Awards.
Viticulture student Mr Sato said the 100 per cent merlot he made with the three other students was absolutely lovely.
"I tasted my wine, it's aromatic. A nice blend between fruit and oak, we used oak barrels."
It had a soft flavour with a hint of chocolate, liquorice and mocha, he said.
The wine was made privately in the EIT winery last year and was bottled this year.
Winemaking is all about teamwork and when you have a good team you can make a good wine, he said.
It's about collaborating with other people and working in different roles to make the best product possible.
"I like interacting with other people."
Mr Sato finishes his studies at the end of the year and hopes to make his own wines in the future.
He came from Yokohama, Japan, to study. Going back may be on the cards because the country's wine industry is growing, but he hoped to stay in New Zealand.
"I love it here, the climate is more suitable for making good wine."
Mr Sato decided to study viticulture because it was the basis of making good wine.
"Good wine has to come from good grapes."
The other three students have all graduated from EIT - Mr Borain and Mr Masuo are working at wineries in Hawke's Bay and Ms Mizuguchi is travelling New Zealand before moving back to Japan.
Mr Sato is working for Tauranga winery Mills Reef, which has a vineyard in Hawke's Bay, while he studies.
Last year's Best Student Wine winner was Jascha Oldham-Selak, a member of the Selak family which founded the New Zealand company of the same name.