New Zealand's only Master Sommelier has awarded Akarua Riesling a fantastic 95 points in his latest aromatic tasting, with only a few remaining cases of the 2015 vintage it's the perfect chance to grab those last bottles to enjoy. 

After a warmer few months, the harvest has officially finished and just in time for another Central Otago cold snap. With morning frost on the ground, our delicious fruit is safely tucked up in the winery destined for your favorite wines. A big thank you to all of our hardworking vineyard and winery teams, we hope the beautiful views made those early morning just a little bit easier! 

After a challenging season the winery and vineyard team were thrilled to begin the first of the harvest for our sparkling bases on Friday 10th March. Despite variable weather, something Central Otago is renowned for, the fruit was in perfect condition for harvesting so it was all systems go at 7am on our Lowburn vineyard. On Friday alone five tonne was harvested with more fruit coming in across the weekend!

We hope you all have a fantastic harvest and a memorable 2017 vintage...let the fun begin! 

Rose Month at Akarua

It may possibly be our favourite month of the year! February is officially Rosé Month thanks to the Sip NZ Rosé campaign. 

So whether you like your Rosé bubbly with friends or perfectly chilled with a beautiful summer barbeque, we are certain you will love our Rosé range. 


Akarua Rosé Brut NV

Akarua Rosé Brut NV is a delicious blend of our famous Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, the first two varietals planted on Akarua vineyards. Still to this day grown and harvested on our Estate Vineyards on Cairnmuir Road.

Akarua Rosé Brut is certainly a favourite with the critics. Recently recieving 5 stars from Dish magazines sparkling tasting...

“With its pretty pale pink hues and scents of strawberry shortcake this wine was an instant showstopper. Lifted florals, red berry fruits, fresh nutty complexity and a pretty, pillowy texture made this a clear favourite from the onset. Our judges were well and truly seduced. ‘Very pretty and showing excellent presence, structure and length"


RUA Pinot Rosé

With a recent Gold at the prestigious Air New Zealand Wine Awards, this beautiful Rosé has quickly become a summer hit! 

A fresh, light style of Rosé with strawberries and cream across the palate. Hints of passion fruit and watermelon with a bright, long finish. This is a perfect wine to enjoy young, accompanies seafood and the classic kiwi summer barbeque perfectly.

Thinking of stopping by for a tasting or to pick up a bottle to celebrate with over Christmas? Our Bannockburn cellar door will be open as below:

Saturday 24th 10:30am-2pm
Sunday 25th - Closed
Monday 26th - Closed
Tuesday 27th - Closed
Wednesday 28th - Saturday 31st - Normal opening hours
Sunday 1st January - Closed

From the team at Akarua, thank you for all of your business in 2016. We hope you have a fantastic Christmas and New Year and look forward to seeing you in 2017!

Akarua Scores High with Cameron Douglas

We were thrilled to hear that Master Sommellier Cameron Douglas loved our Pinot Noir's as his latest tasting and review. Both the Akarua Pinot Noir 2015 and RUA Pinot Noir 2016 scored extremely well. 

Akarua Pinot Noir 2015 - 95 Points

"Spicy and very fruity core with wild raspberry and cherry laden aromas, new and seasoned oak quite intense with vanilla and brown baking spices emerging as the wine opens-up. Dry on the palate with a core of red berry fruit – spiced cherry and wild fruits, definitive rose and red tea flavour, fine tannins, medium+ acidity and long finish. A lovely wine. "

RUA Pinot Noir 2016 - 93 Points

"Ripe, fresh, very fruity core with sweet raspberry and cherry, a hint of cola, rose and crushed rock, some new then seasoned oak suggestions. Juicy, fresh, crisp and dry; a lovely core of fruit, not too intense showing off vibrant red fruit, oak spice and texture – all leading to a lengthy and charming finish."

The wait is finally over as Akarua Wines and Kitchen by Artisan opened its doors on Saturday 10th December

Formally known as 'Walnut Cottage', the venue has undergone a loving but dramatic restoration to create a beautiful new al-fresco dining area and cellar door. Just minutes from historic Arrowtown this is a vision turned into reality for the Akarua family. We have teamed up with the talented team at Artisan catering to offer diners fresh, locally sourced, exciting food to accompany our award winning wines. 

Visitors will enjoy the relaxed ambience of the stunning gardens whilst the historic flour mill offices have been lovingly restored to create a stunning new dining and cellar door destination. General manager of Akarua Wines Kathryn Pettit explained “The cottage keeps its traditional beauty but with a contemporary twist. The addition of outside covered seating and decking provides the perfect place to spend a long summer afternoon with friends and family. The on-site cellar door also provides diners or passers-by to sample and pick up a bottle of their favourite Akarua wine, or have wine shipped to their door.

Akarua Wines and Kitchen by Artisan can be found at 265 Arrowtown-Lake Hayes Road, Arrowtown T: 03 442 10920

W:  Facebook: AkaruaWinesKitchenbyartisan    Instagram: @akaruawineskitchenbyartisan 

#akaruawines  #akaruakitchen

Akarua Rose Brut NV wows at the Dish Magazine sparkling tasting

It has been a fantastic few weeks for our bubbles range with the latest 5 star review of our Rose Brut NV being no exception. The Dish magazine sparkling tasting recognized the Rose Brut NV as an "Instant Showstopper" and was a clear favorite among the critics. Here's what the Dish team had to say...

“With its pretty pale pink hues and scents of strawberry shortcake this wine was an instant showstopper. Lifted florals, red berry fruits, fresh nutty complexity and a pretty, pillowy texture made this a clear favourite from the onset. Our judges were well and truly seduced. ‘Very pretty and showing excellent presence, structure and length’ said James Rowan. Cameron (Douglas) agreed “Lovely yeast autolysis and a fine fruit bouquet and lush texture. Its beautifully balance and textural’”

We are thrilled to have received a gold medal for our RUA Pinot Rosé 2016 at this years prestigious Air New Zealand Wine Awards. In such a strong category with over 100 Rosé entries alone we are extremely proud to take away one of five gold medals. 

It has been a fantastic year for the team at Akarua, in particular for our Estate Akarua Pinot Noir. The 2014 vintage was awarded two trophies at the Six Nations Wine Challenge; the Pinot Noir Trophy and the overall Red Wine of Show Trophy. Announced at the awards ceremony in Sydney on Wednesday 5th October, Mark Naismith, our Vineyard Manager was in attendance to accept this great accolade.

The Six Nations Wine Challenge (representing the New World nations: Australia, Canada, Chile, New Zealand, South Africa and USA) is unique in its kind in which wines are submitted by invitation only and selected by six of the most influential voices in the world of wine including Huon Hooke and Bob Campbell MW.  

New Zealand wine certainly stood out in this competitive ceremony, winning Nation of Show and a total of seven classes claimed.

This is not the first time we have been presented with this award, winning the same trophy for our 2010 vintage at the 2012 ceremony. Huon Hooke, judge for the 2016 competition commented on the extraordinary achievement for us to have been bestowed this award for the second time.

Demonstrating the consistent high quality of our flagship wine our latest vintage - Akarua Pinot Noir 2015 was awarded the Negociants Champion Pinot Noir Trophy for the third consecutive year at the New Zealand International Wine Show 2016.

We are delighted to have been awarded five stars from Cuisine Magazine for their December Christmas edition 2016. Akarua Rose Brut NV was listed in their Top 5 category for the second year in a row. Tasting note to follow

Akarua was honored to receive the New Zealand Champion Pinot Noir Trophy for their 2015 Estate Pinot Noir at the NZ International Wine Show awards ceremony held on Saturday the 1st October in Auckland. This is the third consecutive year in which their pinot noir has been presented with the Champion Pinot Noir title at this competition, previously picking up the award for Akarua  Pinot Noir 2013 two years running in 2014 and 2015.

This is the first trophy for the recently released 2015 vintage of Akarua Pinot Noir. Akarua’s Estate-grown Bannockburn Pinot Noir has been awarded a trophy every year since 2009, significantly benchmarking their quality and success in the wine industry.

The New Zealand International Wine Show is one of NZ’s most prestigious wine competitions. The 2016 ceremony was chaired by Bob Campbell MW with assistant chief judges Huon Hooke, Larry McKenna, Peter Cowley and John Hancock.

Chief winemaker Andrew Keenleyside is thrilled by the news:

“To win three years in a row at one of New Zealand’s most esteemed wine shows is incredible! It reflects the continued hard graft put in by the whole team here at Akarua and the adherence to our core values - People, Pride, Family.”

Akarua Rosé Brut NV has been listed as No 5 out of the Top 10 Sparkling Wine Rosés in the world by The Drinks Business, a leading UK online and magazine publication focusing on the drinks trade

“An impressive sparkling find from New Zealand’s south island, Akarua’s Rosé Brut is a class act, with all the finesse and complexity of fine Champagne, but a bit more berry fruit from the sun-soaked vines of Central Otago. Made with the support of sparkling wine expert Dr Tony Jordan, Akarua is fast-becoming a benchmark New World fizz, whether it’s the blanc or rosé.”

The Wine Gang is a UK based website publishing some of the most in-depth and independent reports on hundreds of wines reviewed in the market.

We are delighted to have the following review:

 RUA Pinot Noir 201491 points

“Impressive Central Otago producer Akarua's cheapest wine is a succulent, accessible joy of a Pinot, its plump palate bursting with pure cherry, raspberry and strawberry juiciness but with wonderfully lithe and silky tannins and racy acidity. Uncomplicated drinking pleasure.”

Akarua Brut NV has been awarded a Gold Medal at the New York World Wine and Spirits Competition (formally known as the San Francisco International Wine Competition).  

The New York World Wine & Spirits Competition takes place in the heart of New York by expert Judges from across the USA including their head judge, Antony Dias Blue, editor of Tasting Panel Magazine.

We are delighted to achieve another Gold Medal for Akarua Brut NV, which has been awarded three Gold medals in the last two years.

Decanter magazine has awarded Akarua Pinot Noir 2104 with 92 points at their most recent New Zealand pinot noir tasting panel.

Judges’ comments are as follows:

“Attractive development on the nose. Unfolds to a plethora of summer pudding fruit flavours and a touch of savoury gaminess. Smooth as chiffon (drink 2016 to 2018).”

Decanter is a very well recognised wine magazine focusing on the wine and spirits industry.

Akarua Rose Brut NV has been awarded a GOLD Medal in one of Europe’s most prestigious wine competitions, the Champagne & Sparkling Wine World Championships (CSWWC). Launched by Champagne and sparkling wine writer and author Tom Stevenson, with support and expertise from Essi Avellan MW and Dr Tony Jordan, the CSWWC is the first and only terroir-driven competition judged exclusively by internationally renowned champagne & sparkling wine experts. Only the very best are selected as winners, rejecting bronze and lower awards.

Akarua first released their Sparkling Wine range in February 2012. Since its release, Akarua Rose Brut NV has been awarded two trophies and seven gold medals, now including the recent gold at the CSWWC.

We are delighted to announce the following Gold and Silver Ribbons were awarded by Master of Wine Bob Campbell:

Akarua The Siren Pinot Noir 2013 – Gold, 97 points

“Flagship Pinot Noir selection of 13 barrels out of a total of 650. It certainly shows a great deal more concentration than the regular label with red-fleshed plum, floral, violet and a similar spice and thyme character. More oak gives an extra layer of chocolate-like richness. Surprisingly approachable now, although the wine will continue to give pleasure for a decade or more.”

 Akarua Pinot Gris 2015 – Silver, 92 Points

“Off-dry pinot gris with pear, citrus and mandarin flower flavours. A smooth textured wine, with fresh acidity helping to drive a lengthy finish. Appealing purity and length”

 RUA Pinot Gris 2015, Silver, 90 Points

Light, fresh, medium-dry pinot gris with nashi pear and apple flavours. A simple wine with appealing purity. An initial suggestion of sweetness is balanced nicely by fresh acidity to give a moderately drying finish. Good value at this price 

 Akarua Riesling 2015, Silver 91 Points

“A pretty Riesling with rose petal, citrus and a suggestion of chalky mineral flavour. An initial hint of sweetness is balanced by crisp acidity to give a drying finish while adding tension to the wine.”


These results have been published on Bob Campbell’s website

Akarua Vintage Brut 2011 has recently been awarded 90 points by Master Sommelier Cameron Douglas. The results will be published in the July/August edition of The Shout NZ Magazine.

 The tasting results were as follows:

 “A lovely, fresh bouquet of citrus then stone fruits & grapefruit, white peach and red apple, medium autolysis and complexity, light toasty quality. On the palate – very lively on the palate with a full mousse, flavours of white peach and red apple, light leesy autolysis, smooth almost creamy texture, fine bubble and lengthy finish. Seems to be only just beginning to integrate, lengthy finish and well made.”

Renowned wine writer Michael Cooper has awarded Akarua Wines with two five stars for both their icon pinot noir The Siren 2013 and their flagship Akarua Pinot Noir 2014.

Tasting notes are as follows:

Akarua The Siren Pinot Noir 2013

“The second 2013 vintage (5*) of Akarua's top Pinot Noir was estate-grown and selected from 13 barrels out of 650. Deeply coloured, it has a highly perfumed, savoury bouquet. Powerful and densely packed, it is very sweet-fruited and finely textured, with concentrated, vibrant cherry, plum and spice flavours, fresh acidity and silky tannins. Already delicious, it should be long-lived; best drinking 2018+.”

Akarua Pinot Noir 2014

“The 2014 vintage (5*) is deep ruby, with an enticingly fragrant bouquet. Generous, vibrantly fruity and supple, it has fresh, concentrated, well-ripened cherry, plum, spice and dried herb flavours, showing excellent complexity, and a finely poised, lasting finish. Already delicious, it should be at its best 2018+.”

The Decanter World Wine Awards (UK) is internationally renowned for its rigorous judging process with Gold Medals being extremely hard won. We are delighted to announce not one but two Gold Medals for our RUA Pinot Noir 2014 & 2015.

This is the second time in the last few months RUA Pinot Noir has gained media attention. The Wine Merchant competition (UK) recently awarded RUA Pinot Noir 2014 in its top 100.

Bob Campbell, one of New Zealand’s most highly regarded wine writers, has selected Akarua The Siren Pinot Noir 2013 as wine of the week and awarded this wine with a staggering 97 points.

High points from Bob Campbell are extremely rare and hard won reflecting the sheer quality of The Siren 2013.

“Flagship pinot noir selection of 13 barrels out of a total of 650. It certainly shows a great deal more concentration than the regular label with red-fleshed plum, floral, violet and a similar spice and thyme character. More oak gives an extra layer of chocolate-like richness. Surprisingly approachable now, although the wine will continue to give pleasure for a decade or more.”

You can view the full review by clicking on the below link:

Wine NZ, one of New Zealand’s largest wine magazines have included a fantastic write up on Akarua Pinot Noir 2013 for their Autumn issue.  Akarua Pinot Noir 2013 was selected as the number one Pinot Noir for their Autumn tasting.  

Wine NZ is one of the leading wine information sources, promoting wineries, wines and travel to wine regions throughout New Zealand.

MS Cameron Douglas has rated our Akarua Pinot Noir 2014 with 90 points!

Our full review will be published in the April 2016 edition of The Shout NZ magazine.

Bob Campbell recently conducted a tasting for our wine portfolio. Several were selected for his highest ranking accolade, a Gold Ribbon.

The results were as follows:

Akarua Vintage Brut 2010

Gold Ribbon, 96 Points and 5 stars

A Pinot Noir dominant blend with Chardonnay that has spent three years on the lees. Weighty, textural wine with zesty acidity adding freshness and energy. This is a serious sparkler with attractive bready yeast autolysis complementing citrus fruit flavours. Lengthy wine with a bone-dry finish.

Akarua Pinot Rosé 2014

Gold Ribbon, 95 Points, 5 stars

“Pretty Rose with charming strawberry, raspberry and cherry flavours enhanced by a creamy texture. A hint of sweetness is fruity rather than sugary. The wine has a seductively lingering finish. Very attractive Rose indeed”

Akarua Pinot Noir 2013

Gold Ribbon, 95 Points, 5 stars

“A classic fruit bomb style with ripe plum, black cherry, vanilla and liquorice flavours. Big, flavoursome wine with a featherbed texture and enough support from ripe tannins to prevent any suggestion of jamminess”.

Akarua The Siren 2012

Gold Ribbon, 96 Points, 5 stars

“Only 185 cases made. 100% de-stemmed bunches (30% whole-bunch the following year) and a very light filtration has helped produce a dense, flavoursome Pinot Noir. I noted red and black cherry, spice/thyme, plum, violet and spicy French oak characters but i suspect the wine will offer even greater complexity in time. Elegance on a grand scale. Powerful wine showing a great deal of finesse”

Bob Campbell, the second New Zealander and is just one of 300 people in the world to hold the Master of Wine qualification. He is widely regarded as New Zealand’s foremost educator.

RUA Pinot Noir 2015 has been awarded 4 stars for Winestate Magazines' recent release tasting.

Judges’ comments were as follows:

“Designed for early drinking, this delicious pinot noir was matured for six months in French oak barriques (10% new).  Full, bright ruby, it is mouthfilling and buoyantly fruity, with fresh, strong plum/cherry flavours, spicy and nutty notes adding complexity, and a smooth, finely textured finish.”

RUA Pinot Noir 2015 was recently awarded a Double Gold at the China, Wine & Spirit Awards and 90 points by MS Cameron Douglas.

The month of February is National Rosé month, and our RUA Pinot Rosé 2015 has struck its first GOLD at the Royal Easter Show Wine Awards 2015. RUA Pinot Rosé has gained fantastic recognition over the last few months including 92 points from Master Sommelier Cameron Douglas and 5 stars from Wine NZ Magazine.

The Royal Easter Show Wine awards is one of New Zealand’s oldest national wine competitions.

Master Sommelier Cameron Douglas, 18th Feb 2016

“A bouquet loaded with ripe fresh red berry fruit aromas – raspberry, cherry, plum; mild oak and dry stone mineral add depth. On the palate – lots of energy, lots of fruit, lots of pinosity; flavours reflect the bouquet with red berry fruits and red apple skin, mild oak, fine to moderate tannins and plenty of acidity. Balanced, fresh, oozing personality with a fairly lengthy finish”.

 90 Points

Akarua Pinot Gris 2015 and Akarua Riesling 2015 have both been awarded 4.5 stars for Cuisine magazines white varietal tasting, with Akarua Pinot Gris being listed in the Top 5 category.

White varietals from Central Otago are renowned for their alluring aromatics and crisp flavours. 

Cuisine wine tastings are conducted annually according to each variety. They have very strict procedures, and all applications are blind tasted. Top scoring wines are re-tasted to determine which wines should be included in the Top 5 category.

Tasting Notes from judges are as follows:

Akarua Pinot Gris 2015

4.5 stars, Top 5

“This is another Bannockburn-grown wine that bristles with crispness and energy. Peardrop, citrus and appley notes ring out with freshness and clarity. This appealing juicy dry style would be an excellent accompaniment for a creamy pasta primavera”

Akarua Riesling 2015

4.5 stars

“A greeting of jasmine and apple blossom scents leads through to a delicately textured, medium-dry mouthful, generously stocked with lime and ginger notes. It’s still young and tight so put it in the cellar for a year or two, and then have it with lightly spiced Thai food”


RUA Pinot Noir 2015 has been awarded its first DOUBLE GOLD for 2016, at the China Wine & Spirit Awards (Best Value). RUA Pinot Noir 2015, Akarua’s second label, has consistently gained international recognition for its high quality and value for money over the years.

The ‘Best Value’ category of the China Wine & Spirits Awards reviews wine and spirits according to their price level. Medals are awarded to represent ‘Best Value’ as best quality for price is a crucial indicator for sales success.

The China Wine & Spirits Awards 2016 will release the rest of their awards in autumn 2016.


Wine writer Michael Cooper has just released his buyers guide for 2016. 

Akarua Alchemy Ice 2013 has received 4.5 stars and the following review...

Michael Cooper’s Buyer’s Guide 2016
“The highly seductive 2013 vintage (4.5 stars) was made from freeze-concentrated Riesling grapes. It is rich and sweet (207 grams/litre of residual sugar), with an oily texture, balanced acidity, and finely balanced peach, citrus-fruit, pear and apricot flavours, showing excellent intensity. Drink now or cellar.”

Wine writer Michael Cooper has just released his buyers guide for 2016. 

RUA Pinot Noir 2014 has received 4.5 stars and the following review...

Michael Coopers Buyers Guide 2016

4.5 stars
“For a third-tier label, this regional blend can be remarkably good. Matured for 10 months in French oak barriques, the 2014 vintage (««««½) is deeply coloured, mouthfilling and sweet-fruited, with generous, plummy, spicy flavours, considerable complexity, and a well-rounded, lingering finish. Instantly appealing, it's a classic example of the drink-young charm of the region's reds and offers outstanding value.”

Wine writer Michael Cooper has just released his buyers guide for 2016. 

Akarua Pinot Noir 2013 has received 5 stars and the following review...

Michael Coopers Buyers Guide, 2016

5 stars
“Estate-grown, picked from 16-year-old vines, matured for 10 months in French oak barriques (30 per cent new), and bottled unfined and unfiltered, the 2013 vintage (5 stars) is deep and youthful in colour. Fresh, concentrated and supple, it is a beautifully perfumed, highly refined style with vibrant, plummy, spicy flavours, showing excellent complexity and harmony, lots of drink-young charm, and good cellaring potential.”

Michael Cooper, The Listener, January 2016

4.5 stars

“A classic example of the drink-young charm of the region’s reds, this deeply coloured, mouth filling wine has generous plum and spice flavours, considerable complexity and a smooth, lasting finish”.

Cellar Talk Wines, MW Bob Campbell (online). December 2015

Wine of the Week – 96 points

“A Pinot Noir dominant blend with Chardonnay that has spent three years on lees. Weighty, textural wine with zesty acidity adding freshness and energy. This is a serious sparkler with attractive bready yeast autolysis complementing citrus fruit flavours. Lengthy wine with a bone dry finish.”

Raymond Chan Wine Reviews (online), December 2016

5 stars

“Very pale strawberry pink with light peach hues, pale on rim, the bead very fine with moderate persistence.  This has a full and voluminous nose with firmly packed aromas of yellow stone-fruits from the Pinot Noir interwoven with subtle red berry and red floral nuances and positive, complexing bready, yeasty autolysis, detailed by brioche and toast.  Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate id bright, lively and refreshing with attractively sweet flavours of yellow stone-fruits, red berries and red florals.  The fruit forms a deep and harmonious core with bread yeast and brioche autolysis layers.  The wine grows in richness and the soft, but significant textures enhanced by the gentle mousse provide body and vinosity.  The wine carries to a full and softly concentrated finish of red fruits, florals and yeast.  This is a bright, sweet-fruited rosé methode traditionnelle with autolytic complexity and vinous structure.  Serve as an aperitif and with antipasto over the next 3+ years.  56% Chardonnay and 44% Pinot Noir, from 15 y.o. vines, hand-picked, WBP and fermented in tank and barrique, with MLF.  The blend includes 15% base wine, and some Pinot Noir red wine for colour, and triaged October 2012, the wine spending 18 months on lees and disgorged from September 2014.  13.0% alc. and 6.0 g/L dosage.  18.5+/20th Dec 2015”

Raymond Chan Wine Reviews (online), December 2016

5 stars

“Clone 10/5, 115 and mixed clones from the ‘Akarua’ estate, given 5 days pre-ferment maceration and fermented with 10% whole bunches to 14.0% alc., the wine aged 10 months in 30% new French oak barriques.  Full, dark, deep, purple-hued ruby-red colour, a little lighter on the rim, youthful in appearance.  This has a full, harmoniously interwoven bouquet of rich, ripe dark-red and black berried fruits, dried thyme herbs, and lifted black and violet florals, revealing a little oak spice and shine.  The aromatic array and detail grows in volume with aeration and seems complete.  Medium-full bodied, the fruit is rich and succulent, expressed with plushness, showing ripe black and dark-red berry fruits with oft notes of plums, entwined with thyme herbs and florals.  The mouthfeel is very fine-featured, the fruit sweetness balanced by fine-grained tannin extraction and integrated acidity.  The flavours flow seamlessly along a detailed and layered, complete finish.  This is a beautifully rich and succulent, ripe, dark-fruited Pinot Noir with an array of flavour detail and a harmonious, fine-grained, complete mouthfeel.  Match with pork, lamb and beef over the next 5-6+ years.  19.0+/20  Dec 2015  RRP $42.00”

Wine NZ, summer 2015/2016

Top Wine and Top Value, 5 stars

“The RUA was like biting into a juicy plum, yet it is savoury at the same time, said Barry. He also had cherry and blackberry going on in this wine. He said it was a serious wine, dry but fleshy with good fruit flavours, yet savoury with a long, dry finish.

Coaxing a ‘wow’ out of Simon is considerably more difficult than getting blood from a stone, he’s our hard-nosed Master of Wine and doesn’t allow emotion to influence his impeccable judging. Yet there it was on his notes after he’d tasted the RUA Pinot Rosé. He described the wine as electric pink in colour, with quite a sweaty nose, off dry, not fruity and fresh. Ant also like the super vibrant colour and blueberry/cranberry nose, and described the wine as ‘lovely’ ”.

Wine NZ, Summer Edition, December 2016

“This wine had a nice salmon pink colour with attractive lifted aromatics and a fresh palate, said Simon. It was clear, had good fruit, was crisp and lifted. “Good Wine”. Ant also like the colour. He said there was a rather closed nose with strawberries and mushroom. There was a good palate flavour as well. Barry had peachy, strawberry notes, with a good finish. It was ‘full and smooth.”

Wine NZ, Summer Edition, December 2016

“This wine had a fruit-driven style with underlying mushroom complexity for Ant. It had a sweeter palate, but a long, rich finish and good balance. Green apple and lime were there for Barry, with a good derive of acid through to a slate-like, limey finish. It was still fine when warm. There were fine, malic appley notes for Simon, with good definition”.

Akarua have received the following points from Master Sommelier Cameron Douglas at his most recent Pinot Gris tasting for NZ Liquor News 2015…

Akarua Pinot Gris 2015

“Generous and forward bouquet; spicy, rich, alluring and floral with flavours of white pepper, spiced pear, white peach, lemon and red apple skin. Luscious texture with ripe almost sweet acidity, mealy if not slightly chalky too, wonderful balance and charm with a lengthy finish”
92 points

RUA Pinot Gris 2015

“Distinctive aromas of Gris with lots of spice and lees layers over fresh white fruits of nectarine and peach, pear and mineal with a sulphides layer that adds complexity and depth. On the palate – dry, textured, youthful and flavourful – this is a specific expression of a cool climare Gris that is best contemplated over a couple of hours and fresh sashimi for white it is well suited. Crisp, fresh, textured with a long finish”

91 points

Akarua have received the following points from Master Sommelier Cameron Douglas at his most recent Riesling tasting for NZ Liquor News 2015…

Akarua Riesling 2015, Central Otago, Bannockburn

“Fragrant and alluring with ripe lime flower and mineral aromas, mandarin peel and a touch of sherbet. On the palate – just dry with some moments of sweetness; the label says ‘medium dry’ but the acidity adds a crisp and intense contracts to the sweetness within the wine. Delicious wine with a long crisp finish”

92 points

DISH magazine held a recent tasting for Dessert and Fortified Wines in November 2015.

We were delighted our Akarua Alchemy Ice 2013 received Top 5 (number 3) and 5 stars.

Notes from the magazine were as follows….

““Creamy macadamia-like nuttiness” “dramatic intensity, drive, power and precision” and “honeysuckle, buttered toast and bursting with sweetness” were just a sample of our judge’s notes for this superb ice wine. A 100% Riesling Ice wine, it is made by blast chilling the fruit before fermentation to increase the sugar content and the result is just divine. It’s vibrant, tangy and taut, yet has creamy honeyed notes on the finish”.

Akarua Vintage Brut 2010 has hit the headlines again with a PURE GOLD medal at the Air New Zealand Wine Awards 2015. Fingers crossed for the trophy announcement on the 28th November 2015.

The Air New Zealand Wine Awards is the premier wine competition in New Zealand recognising excellence in winemaking. The competition is owned and organised by New Zealand Winegrowers, the national organisation for the country's 1,700 grape growers and winemakers.

Akarua Rosé Brut NV has been awarded 5 stars and Top 5 by Cuisine tasting panel.

The results will be issued in the Christmas edition of Cuisine Magazine.

Master Sommelier Cameron Douglas held a recent Sparkling Wine tasting for the November 2015 edition of NZ Liquor News with some fantastic achievements;

The Highest Score ever awarded by Cameron Douglas: Akarua Vintage Brut 2010

“Complex bouquet with a mix of bottle development, dense autolysis, white strawberry and nutty overtures, very Champagne like bouquet. Dry, elegant, complex, savoury and packed with flavour, makes you feel like celebrating; soft mousse and a long drifting finish.”

98 Points

Akarua Rosé Brut NV

“Luscious, fruity, floral and focused aromas of wild strawberry and wild flowers and a mild savoury complexity. On the palate – dry, crisp, firm structure with a soft red fruit core; light savoury flavours, soft plush mousse and long delicate finish.”

94 Points

Akarua Brut NV

“Refreshing, crisp and lively bouquet of white tree fruits and citrus with red apple and lemon up front; mild and soft yeasty autolysis with a very light ginger quality which I find appealing. Dry, crisp, firm and quite fruity with flavours that reflect apple and tree fruit with a lemon twist. Bold mousse with a medium bubble, balanced, dynamic and fresh”.

90 Points

Akarua Pinot Noir 2013 was awarded Double Gold at the 2015 6 Nations Wine Challenge.

The 6 Nations Wine Challenge is the only competition in the world where wines come in exclusively by invitation only.

“Because the wines are all selected by each of the judges the standard of wine quality must surely be higher than any competition of this size in the world”.  Bob Campbell MW.

The objective of the challenge is to discover Champion Wines across the globe. The challenging countries are Argentina, Australia, Chile, New Zealand, South Africa and the United States of America.

This is the third year that Akarua has won an award at this special competition. In 2011, the previously referred to 5 Nations Wine Challenge awarded Gold to Akarua Pinot Noir 2009 and Double Gold to Akarua Reserve Pinot Noir 2009 (Runner up for Trophy). In 2012, Akarua Pinot Noir 2010 was awarded the coveted Red Wine of Show Pinot Noir Trophy.

Akarua’s entry level RUA Pinot Noir 2014 has received a GOLD medal at the New World Wine Awards 2015.

A record of 1,309 wines were entered from 185 wineries into the New World Wine Award Competition 2015. Out of this only 86 wines received a GOLD medal.

The aim of the competition is to demonstrate just how many brilliant wines you can buy for under $25.00 at New World.

RUA Pinot Noir 2014, has received three Gold medals this year, which currently breaks all records for the RUA label.

List of Gold Medals

New World Wine Awards 2015

New Zealand International Wine Show 2015

Royal Easter Show Wine Awards 2015

There are few wineries that could boast of winning the Champion Pinot Noir Trophy two years in a row at the New Zealand International Wine Show 2015 – however that is just what Akarua Pinot Noir 2013 did.

With six gold medals and two trophies in the bag; our Akarua Pinot Noir 2013 may be destined to break all records.

The judges’ comments summed up this delicate wine beautifully….

“Charismatically aromatic, sultry, smoky and savoury with delicate chocolate-coated cherries and silky tannins, it’s beautifully refined with a spicy brightness and a generous plush velvety flow”

It is with great pleasure that we announce the promotion of Assistant Winemaker Andrew Keenleyside to the position of Winemaker at Akarua.

With seven years of winemaking at Akarua and a total of 14 years spent gaining invaluable experience with a number of key Central Otago wineries,

Andrew is the ideal person to continue to shape the proven quality of Akarua wines.

David Skeggs, Managing Director of the Skeggs Group which owns Akarua stated that:

“This appointment is a logical progression for the company. Andrew is ideally suited to provide the continuity to the quality and the style that Akarua is recognised for.”

“Over the past seven years not only has Andrew played an essential role in positioning our Pinot Noir’s, he has also expanded his repertoire to include specialised methode traditionelle production by assisting our internationally renowned sparkling wine consultant Dr Tony Jordan. Andrew has experience in such notable regions as California, Oregon and Alsace which has provided him with the international background to ensure that Akarua remains an ultra-premium producer”.

With a passion for Pinot Noir being a prerequisite for any winemaking role in Central Otago, Andrew has firm views.

“Pinot Noir is arguably the most translucent of all red varieties. It is the most fickle, subtle and delicate of red wines to make. The effort that you put in is reflected in the wine quality”.

Andrew revels in the continuing pursuit of excellence in our wines as well as the opportunity to develop the portfolio with the two new vineyards that Akarua purchased last year.

Andrew is excited to have the latitude to explore such options as sub regional blends and the development of single vineyard wines.

Andrew cannot wait for this new chapter to begin.

“It is an absolute privilege to be given this opportunity. I feel a very close connection to the brand Akarua and its significant reputation. After seven years in the wings my aim as winemaker is to continue to make outstanding wines in the Akarua style – wines that pay homage to the very special plots in which they are grown. It is my role to continue to build on our incredible history and to ensure that Akarua always delivers well above our customer’s expectations. My goal is to consolidate our position as an internationalleader in Pinot Noir and sparkling wine from Central Otago ”.


Our newly released RUA Pinot Rosé 2015 has received an outstanding 92 points and 5 stars by Master Sommelier Cameron Douglas at his most recent Rosé tasting in the upcoming issue of NZ Liquor News, October 2015.

The RUA Pinot Rosé received the highest points in the whole Rosé competition, giving it an excellent start to its new release.

It certainly has been an excellent week for Akarua Pinot Noir 2013.

GOLD has been awarded to Akarua Pinot Noir 2013 at the Decanter Asia World Wine Awards (DAWA) 2015 in China.

This is the sixth GOLD medal awarded to Akarua 2013 along with the New Zealand Champion Pinot Noir Trophy from the New Zealand International Wine Show 2014.

Now in its fourth year, the DAWA is Asia’s leading and most trusted wine competition. Judged by Asia’s top wine experts, the DAWA is trusted for its rigorous judging process.

GOLD medals were awarded to AKARUA Pinot Noir 2013 and RUA Pinot Noir 2014.

The New Zealand International Wine Show is the largest wine competition in New Zealand.

For 2015, 2,103 wines were entered and only 221 of those were awarded GOLD. Pinot Noir was awarded just 25 Golds, with Akarua holding two GOLD medals for both their icon and entry level pinot noir.

The judging took place from the 7th – 9th September, and was chaired by Bob Campbell MW with assistant Chief Judges Larry McKenna, John Hancock and Kym Milne MW.

A GOLD Medal has been awarded to Akarua Brut NV at the China Wine & Spirit Awards (CWSA) 2015

The CWSA is the biggest and most prestigious wine and spirits competition in Hong Kong and China. 

All wine and spirits are blind tasted by CWSA Judges - the Top Buyers, Distributors, Importers and Retailers in Hong Kong and China.

The Akarua Sparkling wine range, released in 2012 includes Akarua Brut NV, Akarua Rosé Brut NV and Akarua Vintage Brut 2010. Since their inaugural release three years ago, the Akarua Sparkling range has been a huge success with many international and national accolades. The most recent being the Champion Sparkling Wine Trophy at the Romeo Bragato Wine Awards in Hawkes Bay for Akarua Vintage Brut 2010.

The Akarua Vintage Brut 2010 has won its second trophy at the Romeo Bragato Wine Awards 2015.

Akarua vineyard manager Mark Naismith attended the Romeo Bragato Conference in Hawkes Bay this week, and was delighted to receive the ‘Champion Sparkling Wine Trophy’ at the awards dinner last night.

The Bragato Wine Awards, which is held in conjunction with the New Zealand Winegrowers Romeo Bragato National Conference, are awarded to the grower for viticultural excellence. This competition focuses on the excellence of grapes in the foundation of making top quality wines.

Mark Naismith is pictured below proudly holding his trophy with TV3 presenter Mike McRoberts. 

The Wine Enthusiast is one of the largest and most recognized USA wine publications in the world. Published 14 times a year, the magazine has a readership of 800,000 consumers worldwide.

Joe Czerwinski wrote a beautiful article titled “Middle Earth Magic” – detailing how New Zealand Pinot Noir is setting a new global standard for quality and affordability. Focusing on the different regions that produce Pinot Noir, Joe lists her Top Rated Pinot Noir’s from Central Otago.

We were delighted to see our RUA Pinot Noir 2013 mentioned first and listed as one of the Top Rated pinots' from Central Otago.

Awarded 92 points and editor’s choice, the tasting notes were as follows;

“The acids and tannins stick out a bit, but they are cushioned by loads of ripe berry fruit. Hints of dried bracken and chocolate add complexity. Drink now – 2018”.

Akarua are delighted to announce their recent results at the Romeo Bragato Wine Awards 2015. GOLD was awarded to Akarua Pinot Noir 2013 and Vintage Brut 2010.

Akarua vineyard manager Mark Naismith, who is currently attending the Romeo Bragato Conference in Hawkes Bay this week, was thrilled with the results.

Akarua Pinot Noir 2013 and Akarua Vintage Brut 2010 have both won numerous awards and trophies over the past two years; establishing themselves at the higher end of the fine wine spectrum.

For full details of awards and reviews please visit the media reviews tab on our website.  

Media Reviews

We are currently running a competition on Instagram. Three winners will be selected and awarded a twin pack of Riedel Central Otago Pinot Noir Glasses. 

You need to have an active Instagram account and follow Akarua Wines on Instagram. 

All you need to do to enter is to regram the image and include the handles @akaruawines and #RiedelCOPinotNoir. 

Full terms and conditions are as follows; 

  • This competition is being run by Akarua wines, Central Otago which is a New Zealand based winery.
  • You must live in New Zealand to enter.
  • You must be over the years of 18 to enter this competition.
  • All entries will be entered into the competition; three winners will be randomly selected.
  • The winner(s) will receive a twin pack of Riedel Central Otago Pinot Noir Glasses (worth $60).
  • The gift(s) will be posted to the winner(s). If there are any breakages during postage, the glasses will be replaced.
  • The Riedel twin pack may not be exchanged for alcohol or cash.
  • Judges decision is final.
  • The opening date for the competition is Monday 24th August 2015.
  • The closing date for the competition is Thursday 3rd September at 15:00 GMT
  • This Competition is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Instagram. You are providing your information to Akarua Wines and not to Instagram. The information you provide will be used for marketing purposes.
  • Your email address will be automatically added to our mailing list which is mandatory for the competition.
  • Any questions, comments or complaints regarding the competition will be directed to Akarua wines, Central Otago and not to Instagram or Riedel.

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