Chardonnay and pinot noir won the most golds, with 16 a' />

A record 77 wines have been awarded gold medals in this year's Air New Zealand Wine Awards.

Chardonnay and pinot noir won the most golds, with 16 and 13 medals respectively - both up two from the previous year.

This year's sauvignon blancs showed improvement over last year's, with 12 golds - eight more than last year.

Cabernet/merlot blends also showed sharp improvement, winning seven gold medals compared with three the previous year.

The wines were judged at the Albany Stadium.

A total of 698 entries won awards - 57 per cent of the total 1223. The medal tally was 46 more than last year. Silver medals rose 20 per cent to 162, up on 135 last year, and bronze medals remained fairly static at 459 compared with last year's 454.

"The standard of entries this year was one of the best I have experienced in my five years of chairing the judging process," said judging panel chairman John Belsham.

"It is pleasing to see sauvignon blanc back on top form and that our other key varieties of chardonnay, pinot noir and cabernet/merlot blends continue to go from strength to strength."

Marlborough wines took the highest number of gold medals, receiving nearly half the quotient with 35, followed by Hawkes Bay with 29, Otago with seven, Gisborne with three, Wellington (including Martinborough) with two and Canterbury with one.

Trophy winners will be announced at a dinner in Auckland tomorrow.

Gold medal winners

Sparkling: Morton Estate Premium Brut.

Gewurztraminer: Forrest Estate Gewurztraminer 2003 (Q screw top), Spy Valley Gewurztraminer 2003 (Q).

Pinot Gris: Esk Valley Black Label Pinot Gris 2003 (Q), Lawson's Dry Hills Pinot Gris 2003 (Q), Villa Maria Single Vineyard Pinot Gris 2003 (Q).

Riesling 2003 (Q), Framingham Classic Riesling 2002 (Q), Hunter's Riesling 2003 (Q), Kim Crawford Marlborough Dry Riesling 2002 (Q), Saint Clair Marlborough Riesling 2002 (Q), Vidal Estate Riesling 2003 (Q), Villa Maria Private Bin Riesling 2002 (Q).

Sauvignon Blanc: Borthwick Sauvignon Blanc 2003, Cape Campbell Wines Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2003, Cellier le Brun Terrace Road Sauvignon Blanc 2003 (Q), Highfield Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2003 (Q), Matua Valley Paretai Sauvignon Blanc 2003 (Q), Sacred Hill Cairnbrae The Stones Sauvignon Blanc 2003 (Q), Saint Clair Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2003 (Q), Saint Clair Wairau Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2003 (Q), Villa Maria Reserve Clifford Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2003 (Q), Waipara Hills Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2003 (Q), Willowbank Sauvignon Blanc 2003, Wither Hills Sauvignon Blanc 2003 (Q).

Chardonnay: Clearview Reserve Chardonnay 2002, Gibbston Valley Reserve Chardonnay 2002 (Q), Matariki Chardonnay 2001, Matua Valley Judd Estate Chardonnay 2002, Mills Reef Reserve Chardonnay 2002, Morton Estate Riverview Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2000, Sacred Hill Riflemans Chardonnay 2001, Selaks Founders Reserve Chardonnay 2002, Spy Valley Chardonnay 2002, Tohu Chardonnay 2002, Villa Maria Cellar Selection Chardonnay Hawkes Bay 2002 (Q), Villa Maria Single Vineyard Waldron Chardonnay 2002 (Q), Villa Maria Reserve Chardonnay Gisborne 2002 (Q), Villa Maria Single Vineyard Waikahu Chardonnay 2002 (Q), Villa Maria Reserve Chardonnay Hawkes Bay 2002 (Q), Villa Maria Single Vineyard Keltern Chardonnay 2002 (Q).

Sweet White: Kim Crawford Reka Riesling 2002, Matua Valley Shingle Peak Botrytis Riesling 2003, Selaks Founders Reserve Noble Riesling 2001.

Pinot Noir: Akarua Pinot Noir 2002 (Q), Allan Scott Prestige Pinot Noir 2001 Bald Hills Pinot Noir 2002 (Q), Bannock Brae Estate Goldfields Pinot Noir 2001, Bannock Brae Estate Barrel Selection Pinot Noir 2002, Berridge Vineyard Estates Drystone Pinot Noir 2002, Cardmember Hawkesbridge Marlborough Pinot Noir 2002, Kaituna Valley Canterbury Pinot Noir The Kaituna Vineyard 2002, Kawarau Estate Reserve Pinot Noir 2002, Spy Valley Pinot Noir 2002, Vidal Estate Stopbank Pinot Noir 2002 (Q), Villa Maria Single Vineyard Seddon Pinot Noir 2002 (Q), Villa Maria Reserve Pinot Noir 2002 (Q).

Merlot: CJ Pask Reserve Merlot 2002 (Q), Esk Valley Black Label Merlot 2002 (Q), Kathy Lynskey Merlot 2002, Mills Reef Reserve Merlot 2002, Mills Reef Elspeth Merlot Block 4 2002, Villa Maria Reserve Merlot 2001 (Q).

Cabernet Sauvignon: Schubert Cabernet Sauvignon 2001.

Cabernet Sauvignon and or Merlot Predominant.

Bilancia Bilancia 2001, Esk Valley Black Label Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon 2002 (Q), Mills Reef Elspeth Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon 2002, Nautilus Marlborough Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2001, Sileni Estates Merlot Cabernets 2000, Trinity Hill Gimblett Road Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot 2001, Vidal Estate Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon 2002 (Q).

Syrah: Trinity Hill Gimblett Road Syrah 2001, Vidal Estate Soler Syrah 2002 (Q).

Other Red Varietals: Delegat's Gimblett Gravels Malbec 2000, Mills Reef Elspeth Malbec 2002, Murdoch James Estate Cabernet Franc 2002.