There was plenty for the Squawking Magpie winemaking crew to crow about this week after their 2013 SQM Cabernet took the highest of honours against some of the finest 'cabs' in the world at one the United States' major wine competitions.

"We are absolutely thrilled because we were not just up against the best from the Napa Valley but also the best 'cabs' from all over the world," winery director Gavin Yortt said as he praised the skills of winemaker Jenny Dobson and the unique Gimblett Gravels terrain which produced the 2013 SQM.

It was awarded a remarkable 96 points and accordingly received a double gold award.

Mr Yortt said while their wines had taken honours at other championships, this was the first time they had entered the San Francisco International Wine Competition which is now in its 37th year and is acknowledged for setting high standards for wine judging.


"We just started distributing up that way about six months ago and it is a very competitive and difficult market to get into as there is so much competition," Mr Yortt said.

So entering the 2013 SQM, which emerged from what was acknowledged as being one of the finest grape-growing seasons to descend upon Hawke's Bay, was seen as an effective way to get the word out - about both Squawking Magpie and the growing global emergence of the Hawke's Bay region.

"The market is ticking along - we have had one re-order already."

Mr Yortt said the winemaking team were confident the 2013 SQM would stack up against the best cabernets in the world but getting a prestigious double gold was especially rewarding.

Squawking Magpie also scored silver awards for their Counting Crows Chardonnay and Methode Traditionelle which are also now being exported into the big US market.

"So it was good news all round," Mr Yortt said, adding it came on the back of their syrah picking up a gold at the International Wine Show in London.

Equally good news had also emerged from recent tastings he and Ms Dobson had carried out on their 2016 and 2017 vintages.

"The 2016 is looking brilliant and the 2017 is starting to look very good already."

The 2017 vintage had been challenging for many growers and winemakers and he said the now 20-year-old vines and the "gravels" had done the job for them.

"We have come through it [the 2017 season] really well."