For a second consecutive year chardonnay has been declared the Champion Wine of the Show at the Hawke's Bay A&P Bayleys Wine Awards.

The Church Road Grand Reserve Chardonnay 2018 received four trophies at the awards ceremony last night, marking the first time one wine has won multiple accolades in the 19-year history of the event.

Chairman of judges, Rod Easthope, described the winning wine as having "power, intensity, rich fruit, yet tempered by balance and beguiling length of flavour".

"This chardonnay will grace the finest wine lists and cellars and will please the world's most discerning palates," he said. "It is a new benchmark for all to aspire to."
Topping the charts in so many categories, the great white will undoubtedly garner more recognition "both here and internationally", Easthope noted.

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General manager for the Hawke's Bay A&P Society, Sally Jackson, said she was "thrilled" the wine industry packed out the recently renovated Exhibition Hall at the Showgrounds to celebrate the winning wines being announced for 2019.

She noted that the longest running regional wine competition in New Zealand exists to honour the incredible talent in the winemaking sector, and to showcase that talent to the world.

"Winemaking is key to the success of our region's primary sector and it's important to stop, take stock, reflect, and recognise excellence within this industry each year."
Event master of ceremonies, comedian Urzila Carlson reported that 10 judges tasted more than 320 wines. Merlot blends were the largest category of wine judged in this year's competition.

Winner of the Hawke's Bay Wine Growers Hall of Fame was Dr Alan Limmer. Judge of the category, Bob Campbell, said Limmer has a reputation for taking on difficult challenges. Limmer saw the viticultural potential of a piece of bony land that others thought was only fit for dumping rubbish.

Having a doctorate in soil science helped him look beyond the barren, stony piece of land and imagining the "flourishing viticultural oasis" that it could become.

That land, now known as Gimblett Gravels, has helped put Hawke's Bay wine on the international wine map by producing flavours that have won 600 gold medals and 210 trophies at local competitions and 105 gold medals and 35 trophies globally.

* List of winners:
Champion Wine of Show
Church Road Grand Reserve Chardonnay 2018

Hawke's Bay Wine Growers Hall of Fame
Dr Alan Limmer

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