A panel of four international wine judges picked Patrick Newton of Mudbrick Vineyard as the inaugural winner on 15 October. The competition replaces the New Zealand Young Winemaker of the Year as part of the New Zealand Aromatic Wine Competition, administered by the Canterbury A&P Show. The Waiheke Island winemaker was thrilled with the award. “It’s very exciting – it’s quite an honour. I think when every young winemaker starts out it’s a goal to win these major awards. To do it at 34 years old is fantastic – it’s my best professional achievement to date.” Mr Newton entered the competition with the 2015 Mudbrick Reserve Chardonnay, 2013 Mudbrick Reserve Syrah and the 2013 Mudbrick Velvet a Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot/Malbec blend.
Chairman of judges Terry Copeland agreed that the winemaking style was evident in the wines on show. “The chardonnay was the standout wine in that selection – well-crafted yet restrained. He really allowed the fruit to shine through. All three wines presented by Patrick were full bodied, incredibly seductive and very drinkable.”