Te Awanga Estate winemaker Rod McDonald's crafting of his globally lauded Trademark 2016 Syrah has seem him awarded a place in the inaugural Master Winemaker 100 list.
The Trademark 2016 Syrah was one of only five syrahs, and the only one from New Zealand, to pick up a Syrah Master medal as part of the 2019 Global Masters Series which is steered by a major British wine publication The Wine Business.
Master-of-Wine and editor-in-chief Patrick Schmitt said the Master Winemaker 100 list comprised "cellar-based personalities" who crafted wines great enough to for them to be classed as a "wine master" by those who are Masters of Wine.
The Global Masters series is held over a calendar year with grape variety, wine style and notable regions all judged on separate occasions, with those awarded a Master from tastings between 2013 and 2019 no named in the Master Winemaker 100 list for 2020.
McDonald's crafting of the Trademark 2016 Syrah got him the nod to be placed on the top 100 list.
He said he was "blown away" for Te Awanga Estate to be listed alongside wineries like Chapoutier, Penfolds, Vasse Felix and Charles Heidsieck Champagne.
"The Trademark Syrah is our flagship wine, only made in a good vintage from exceptional fruit and with limited bottles," McDonald said.
He said great wines taste like where they come from and varieties like Trademark challenged winemakers to take risks "to see what is possible".
"A few years ago we started looking for ways to capture character in our wines, reflecting more on why our wines taste like they do and how we can make them more individual."
He said the latest accolade was thoroughly rewarding for everyone who played a part in getting it recognised.
It followed the Trademark 2015 Syrah's winning of four trophies, including Best International Syrah, at the International Wine Challenge last year.
"Releasing the Trademark to the world is a little like poking a stick in the ground and saying that this is the best we can create at that particular time at this particular place."
McDonald said he was proud to placed on the Master Winemaker 100 list alongside some of his fellow Kiwi winemaking peers from Greywacke, Te Pa, Marisco and Babich — as well as fellow Bay winery Craggy Range, which got the nod with its Pinot Noir Masters.