By Ric Oram

Wairarapa winery Lintz Estate has won two gold medals to replace the one it returned late last year amid controversy. The InterVin International Wine Awards in the United States has given gold medals to Lintz's Optima noble selection 1997 dessert wine and Vitesse cabernet sauvignon 1997.

Last December, soon after a public share float, the winery returned a gold medal and trophy it won at the Air New Zealand Wine Awards after a subsequent bottle of its 1997 shiraz was found to be inferior to that entered for judging.

The winery's chairman, John Falloon, said before entries were sent this time, bottles were randomly chosen for analysis to check the contents were consistent with what the public could buy.

Other New Zealand wineries to win golds were Villa Maria (Wairau Valley reserve sauvignon blanc 1998, Hawkes Bay cellar selection chardonnay 1997 and cabernet sauvignon/merlot reserve 1996), Montana (reserve chardonnay 1998 and Brancott vineyard sauvignon blanc 1998) and Forrest Estate (chardonnay 1997).