By Roger Moroney
Gavin Yortt's 'Syrah 1' plate is set to stay in the wake of the latest gold medal award. HBT15095201

Hawke's Bay wines are continuing to chalk up top international honours and for Squawking Magpie chief Gavin Yortt a call from Thailand was an early Christmas present and a great way to gear up for 2018.

The Hastings-based winery picked up a brace of gold medal awards at the 13th FBAF Wine Challenge which was staged in the Far East, and the results clearly underlined why he was inspired to get a special registration plate for his car a couple of vintages back.

Having picked up a string of awards for their Squawking Magpie Syrah Mr Yortt called up 'Syrah 1' for the new plates, and the most recent awards will ensure the plate stays put.

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"Oh yes," he said.

Along with their 2016 sauvignon blanc the 2015 syrah was also awarded a gold medal at the December competition, which wrapped up the year nicely.

The 2015 syrah had also taken a gold at the International Wine Show in London six months earlier.

"It was another stellar year for us in terms of awards," Mr Yortt said, adding the latest awards had already resulted in sales inquiries.

It was the first time Squawking Magpie had entered the FBAF Wine Challenge and they had been entered by their importer in that region.

"They entered on our behalf and it was great to hear we had taken two golds — a lovely early Christmas present."

Mr Yortt said the awards came at a time when sale across the November and December were going strong.

"So a great way to finish the year, and we're looking forward to 2018, and at this stage the vintage is looking pretty good."

He paid tribute to winemaker Jenny Dobson as well as the enduring quality of the Gimblett Gravels region where their vineyard is sited.