Hawke's Bay wines have picked up 26 gold medals at this year's Air New Zealand Wine Awards and as expected made a big impact in three of the region's most acclaimed varieties.

In the Champion Syrah class all five gold medals awarded went the Bay's way with Alpha Domus, Mission Estate (2), Te Awa and Villa Maria scoring.

That "full house" was echoed by the Champion Merlot, Cabernet and Blends with all six golds scored by Hawke's Bay wineries - Church Road (2), Crossroads, Saint Clair, Te Awa and Villa Maria.

The Champion Exhibition Red Wine class also saw plenty of golden applause go the Bay's way, taking five of the 10 golds through Abbey Cellars, Church Road, Matua Estate, Mission Estate and Villa Maria.


There were also plenty of accolades in Champion Chardonnay with Bay wines ticking off five of the 11 golds through Clearview Estate, Coopers Creek, Leveret Estate, Trinity Hill and Villa Maria coming through.

Golds were also picked up by Osawa Wines in Champion Pinot Noir, Petane Station in Champion Pinot Gris, Alpha Domus and Church Road in Champion Open Red Wine, Beach House and Villa Maria for Champion Exhibition White Wine.

After three days of judging more than 1400 wines, 91 gold medals were awarded and chair of judges and master of wine Michael Brajkovich said the most pleasing aspect of this year's awards was the spread of gold medals across a number of varieties and regions.

He had plenty of praise for Hawke's Bay.

"The quality of Hawke's Bay merlot and cabernet-based wines took a big step up this year hailing from strong 2013 and 2014 vintages," he said.

Mr Brajkovich said pinot noir was once again a star performer with 17 golds, and while they predominantly came from the variety's hotspots of Marlborough and Central Otago, a Hawke's Bay pinot noir was also in the mix.

"The top wines from other categories were exceptional, particularly from chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, pinot gris, riesling and syrah," he said.

Leading the gold medal take was Marlborough with 44, mainly from open white wine and sauvignon blanc classes, with Hawke's Bay scooping up second place with its 26.

Otago came third with 13.

In addition to the 91 gold medals, 268 silver medals and 973 bronze medals were awarded by the judges, bringing the total number of medals awarded across the 17 different classes to 1332.

The 'best of the best' elite gold and trophy winning wines will be revealed at a black tie dinner in Auckland on November 12, with the dinner set to mark the 30th anniversary of the partnership between New Zealand Winegrowers and naming rights sponsor Air New Zealand.