Creating a "fantastic" cider comes down to using the right fruit - something that Paynter's Cider Ltd has been trying to perfect for the past decade.

It is this that saw the Hawke's Bay company win big at the 2017 New Zealand Cider Awards earlier this month.

Paynter's Cider Ltd took home the Contemporary New Zealand Cider Award for its 2015 bottle, as well as medals for gold and best in class.

The annual awards were held in Nelson by the Fruit Wine and Cider Makers Association of New Zealand.


Read more: Champion Hawke's Bay wine comes from great grapes

Paynters Cider aims to be best in the business and owner Paul Paynter sees no reason why it can't one day be considered a top drop on the global market.

"Our wine industry has already proven that's possible".

Unlike beer, cider only improves with age - a vital selling point when approaching offshore audiences.

He felt there were huge possibilities in Asia, where apple exports have already opened the door, and North America.

It is not the only award the business has won - in 2014, his recipe picked up a silver medal at the Brewers Guild of New Zealand Awards and the 2013 Red Label scooped a Cider Trophy at New Zealand Fruit Wine and Cider Makers Awards 2014.

He believes Hawke's Bay has the potential to become the cider capital of New Zealand, and follow a path already carved by the wine industry.

"There is no reason why we can't produce world class cider and it is a challenge that lies before us. We have a natural advantage with soil and a benine climate."

Since 2006 he has planted 4ha of apple specifically for cider production.

He said there was quality competition within the cider industry and it was improving, including Scoundrels and Rogues Craft Cider in Christchurch and Peckham's Cider in Nelson.

There is also a festival associated with the awards, and Mr Paynter believes hosting this is the "natural next step" for the region.

It saw up to 2500 people - a large proportion from out of town, to Nelson this year.

He hoped it would be timed with one of the F.A.W.C! seasons.

"The best move would be to rotate it around the country and in particular, the regions that produce cider."

"We have a big population base and are on the map, particularly with Zeffer Cider in town We produce about 500,000 litres in the region alone.