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Wild Earth Wines, a Central Otago winemaker, has been awarded the trophy for Top Red Wine at the International Wine Challenge, the world's largest competition.

It beat 31 other red wine trophy winners from around the globe in the final judging round, announced on Wednesday night in London.

Wild Earth Wines' general manager Dave Nicholas said the win was an astounding accomplishment for a winery which was established just 10 years ago.

"It's great that a New Zealand pinot has beaten the likes of cabernet from the Napa Valley and shiraz from Australia," he said.

With almost 10,000 wines in contention, the International Wine Challenge is the world's largest wine competition.

The Wild Earth Pinot Noir 2006 took five trophies in total at the event, including Top International Pinot Noir, Top New Zealand Red Wine and Top International Red Wine.

In May, at the Decanter World Wine Awards - the second largest wine show globally - the Wild Earth Pinot Noir 2006 was awarded the Top New Zealand Pinot Noir trophy and it has previously been awarded Gold Medals in New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

The owners of Wild Earth, Quintin and Avril Quider, are elated with the awards.

"Central Otago produces so many outstanding wines and this latest trophy simply re-emphasises the incredible potential of the wines from our region. The award comes at the perfect moment as we're currently seeking investment capital for expansion," they said in a statement.

Nicholas said the awards proved New Zealand could do more than just white wines well.

"The thing with the New Zealand wine industry is that whenever someone does well the whole industry benefits.

"Any New Zealand wine that wins an award helps to put the local industry on the map."

Established in Bannockburn in 1998, Wild Earth Wines has produced wines under the Wild Earth label since 2004.

Its wines are entirely estate grown, and are available throughout New Zealand and exported to international markets including the United States, Australia, United Kingdom, Europe, China, the United Arab Emirates and Canada.

The trophies awarded to Wild Earth at the International Wine Challenge 2008 are:

* Top International Red Wine
* Top International Pinot Noir
* Top New Zealand Red Wine
* Top New Zealand Pinot Noir
* Top Central Otago Pinot Noir

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