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.

Renowned Canadian wine writer Natalie MacLean recently tasted our RUA Pinot Noir 2012 and awarded 91 points out of 100. 

Her tasting notes are as follows;

"Rich cherry aromas and flavours without being too sweet. Love the balance and acidity that adds complexity to this wine. Medium-bodied and satin-textured. Gorgeous mouth-filling voluptuousness. Long finish. Great value."

Winestate Magazine held a recent Pinot Noir tasting in July 2015. 

Out of the 169 Pinot Noir's tasted, Akarua Pinot Noir 2013 was awarded 5 stars. 

Full tasting notes will be published in Winestate's November/December issue 2015. 

Over the years, Akarua have been a regular host for NZ Wine Tours, who bring visitors from all over the world to visit our Cellar Door. 

If you are interested in learning about the wine industry and tasting some fabulous Central Otago wines - NZ Wine Tours are perfect!

Thank you for our feature in your blog NZ Wine Tours:

Dish magazine held a recent Pinot Noir panel tasting for which 155 wines were blind tasted under strict competition conditions. 

The judges panel consisted of six judges - Yvonne Lorkin, James Rowan, Cameron Douglas MS, Jane Boyle, Chloe Parkinson and Ric Little. 

Akarua Pinot Noir 2013 was awarded at '1st' place, positioning it as No 1 out of the Top 12 Pinot Noir's tasted. 

5 stars 

Judges' Comments: "This wine makes an immediate impression. Saturated with dark berries, ripe cherry and oodles of fresh spice, "..fleshy, pure, silky and very long", noted Sam, while Yvonne was wowed by its bright core of fruit, elegant leggy acidity, bold sinewy tannins and succulence on the finish. Matt Connell has created a stand-out wine, this Central Otago stunner is a must-try". 

The Pinot Noir tasting results will be published in the August-September issue. On sale 27th July. 

New Zealand's sole Master Sommelier Cameron Douglas has awarded our recent 2014 vintage of Akarua Chardonnay with 4.5 stars. 

Tasting Notes are as follows; 

"Pure expression of fruit leads the bouquet with a soft almost feminine lean; mineral, lemon and white peach fruit suggestions; judicious use of oak. On the palate – elegant, fruity, dry and lush; medium+ acidity and weight this is a charming wine with a core of fruit – lemon and white peach with a pear; medium+ length. Very nice indeed!"

4.5 Stars

Cameron Douglas conducted a recent wine tasting focusing on the region of Central Otago in the August 2015 issue of The Shout NZ.

The highest point earners was our Akarua Alchemy Ice 2013 and Akarua Vintage Brut 2010, which were both awarded five stars.

4.5 stars was also awarded to our Akarua Brut NV, Akarua Rosé Brut NV and RUA Pinot Noir 2014.

Tasting notes are as follows; 

Akarua Central Otago Alchemy Ice 2013 

Peach and golden Kiwi colours with aromas of beeswax honey and dried apricot; concentrated tea and even a little saffron. On the palate – lusciously sweet with high acidity to bring balance; flavours of apricot jam and honey, peach and red apple. Long rich and satisfying finish.

5 Stars

Akarua Central Otago Vintage Brut 2010 Methode Traditionelle

Full and rich bouquet with noticeable autolysis and aged characters – nutty, peachy and floral; aromas of oats, wild flowers, honey and even a touch of marmite. A miso note adds further depth; high acidity, bold style, full-bodied and long finish; Excellent example.

5 Stars 

Akarua Central Otago Brut NV Methode Traditionelle

Attractive bouquet which is both floral and fruity then reveals an autolysis of yeast derived complexity adding depth and complexity. On the palate – generous, crisp, firm and dry, plenty of lemon and apple fruit flavours with hints of peach; the yeast complexity builds on the palate adding length to the finish. Great food or aperitif example.

4.5 Stars

Akarua Central Otago Rosé  Brut NV Methode Traditionelle

Soft white peach and gentle strawberry aromas, cold fruit tea note and moderate+ yeast autolysis, fragrant and quite rich. On the palate – crisp, dry and almost full-bodied with soft red fruit flavours and mild yeast derived flavours, rose and light honey note. Long and elegant finish, well made.

4.5 Stars

Akarua RUA Central Otago Pinot Noir 2014 

Fruity, floral and perfumed bouquet with fresh red berry fruits, red apple skin, violet and gentle oak spices; forward, fresh, lively and generous attack. On the palate – lush, plush, fruity and dry; plenty of light red fruit flavours of raspberry and cherry with red apple skin; medium oak, lots of crunchy acidity adding bite and texture; medium oak level – overall a lovely wine with immediately drinkability.

4.5 Stars

Metro Magazine have released their June issue including their Top 100 Wonderful Wines for 2015.

Akarua Vintage Brut 2010 and Akarua Rosé Brut NV were selected for the June issue.

This is the second achievement for Akarua bubbles this week; Akarua Rosé Brut was awarded GOLD at the UK Global Rosé Masters 2015. 

We are delighted to have received international recognition at the Global Rosé Masters 2015 in the UK.

Akarua Rosé Brut NV has been awarded GOLD and over 90 points at the Global Rosé Masters; coming out on top of all non-French Roses in the competition and even outscored one of the most famous Rose’s in the world.

Organized by Europe’s leading drinks trade publication magazine ‘The Drinks Business’, The Global Rosé Masters aim is to identify the best still and sparking rosés from across the world, judged by style and price exclusively.

Akarua has recently gained new representation and distribution in the UK with Liberty Wines.

Winemaker Matt Connell is ecstatic by the news;

“Another exceptional achievement for Akarua on a global scale. We have a lot of potential in the United Kingdom, and winning a gold for our Rosé Brut NV will really help in establishing our wine in the English market.”

Akarua is distributed by Liberty Wines in the United Kingdom:

For more information, please contact Adam Black, Liberty Senior Brand Manager, T: +44 (0) 207 819 0333

Winestate Magazine, Central Otago tasting, June 2015

5 stars

“Rich, complex, nutty blend of pinot noir (54%) and chardonnay (46%), grown at Bannockburn and disgorged after four years on its yeast less. Highly fragrant, with intense, peachy, yeasty flavours, showing impressive complexity and length. Praised by one judge as, ‘great’!’.”

Winestate Magazine, Central Otago tasting, June 2015

4 stars       

“Pale pink, vivacious blend of pinot noir (61%) and chardonnay (39%), estate-grown at Bannockburn and disgorged after four years on its yeast less. Crisp and dry, with fresh, gentle strawberry and spice flavours, showing excellent complexity and length.”

Winestate, Central Otago tasting, June 2015

5 stars

“Deeply coloured, rich and sweet-fruited red in a bold style. Complex bouquet, with rich fruit aromas mingled with French oak (30% new). Concentrated, well-structured palate with fine-grained tannins. Very age worthy”.

Winestate Magazine, Central Otago tasting, June 2015

4 stars

“Delicious young. Generous, sweet-fruited red with fresh, vibrant, plummy flavours, finely integrated oak (French 10% new), gentle tannins, and an invitingly floral bouquet”.

Renowned wine writer & expert Joelle Thomson; in conjunction with, has awarded our Akarua Pinot Rose 2014 with 4.5 stars and the Top Tip award at the Juicy Aromatic Whites and Rose Tasting 2015.

The Top Tip award is presented only to wines of exceptional quality regardless of price.

The full results can be viewed on the TIZ Wine website:

Master Sommelier Cameron Douglas held a tasting for The Shout NZ/Hospitality Business magazine, June edition 2015.  

Our newest vintages of Pinot Noir; including our icon Akarua Pinot Noir 2013 and entry level RUA Pinot Noir 2014 were highly rated.

Our Akarua Pinot Noir 2013 was awarded 5 stars;

“Complex, youthful and seductive bouquet with lots of oak soaked red fruit aromas; dark cherry and blackcurrant; spicy new oak and gentle older oak layers. On the palate – dry, firm, fruity and full of youthful energy, a wine destined for the cellar if you can wait 2-3 years it will reward; a lovely core fruit, medium + fine tannins and long finish.”

Our entry level RUA Pinot Noir 2014 was also rated 4.5 stars.

“Rich fruit centred bouquet with a mix of soil, medium + wood spice and red velvet rose highlights. On the palate – lots of pinosity with dark red cherry fruits and raspberry, medium + tannins and acidity adding lots of poise and tension and a long fruit filled finish. Very nice wine

"New Zealand is hardly a recent discovery for most Pinot Noir fans, but this year’s competition further reinforced the breadth and consistency on offer here, with Akarua proving yet another name to watch.

Produced in the Bannockburn sub-region of Pinot Noir stronghold Central Otago, this wine comes from four different vineyard blocks planted on schist-based soil and retails for around £20.

Although the first vines were planted here by the Skeggs family back in 1996, there has been considerable expansion since then. 2008 marked a major restructuring programme, including the appointment of winemaker Matt Connell, and Akarau is now busy stepping up its export focus."

The Drinks Business, 15th May 2015

The Wine Enthusiast is one of the largest and most recognized wine publications in the world. Published 14 times a year, the magazine has a readership of 800,000 consumers worldwide and in 2014, underwent a complete re-design and re-launch to address the growing, more mainstream culture of wine and spirits in America.

An international wine tasting was recently held for the upcoming July issue for which Akarua put forward their icon pinot noir ‘The Siren Pinot Noir 2012’, their flagship pinot noir “Akarua Pinot Noir 2012” and their entry level “RUA Pinot Noir 2013”.

All three pinots were awarded top results; The Siren (92 Points), Akarua Pinot Noir 2012 (91 Points) and RUA Pinot Noir 2013 (92 Points, Editor’s Choice).

With this magazines influence on the world of wine, we are delighted to have achieved such high scores., December 2014

90 points

"Medium to deep ruby-purple coloured, the 2013 The Siren Pinot Noir has quite a floral nose over a core of black cherries, ripe plums and rhubarb with a touch of forest floor. Medium bodied and with a good concentration, it bursts with black and red fruit supported by chewy tannins and finishing long."

“Delicately textured, this sophisticated wine is rich in sweet melon, candied citrus and spiced honeysuckle. Enjoy it with a pate before your main course”

“This is a real smoochie soft easy red from Central Otago with a plummy nose and sweet flavours of omega plums and blackcurrants. There is a light structure of acidity and tannin with some aftertaste. Good value.”

RUA Pinot Noir 2013 has struck success in the USA, winning a gold medal at the TEXSOM International Wine Awards 2015.

The TEXSOM International Wine Awards is one of the most-respected, largest and most written about wine competitions in the United States.

Over 50 New Zealand wineries entered the competition in the hopes of gaining media attention in the American market.

Founded by Rebecca Murphy, the competition is now supported by 68 judges and 28 sommelier panel members. Wines are blind tasted by judges and award winning wines are selected.

At the recent sweet wines tasting, Cameron Douglas rated our Alchemy Ice with an astounding 5 stars!

“Sweet, floral, gentle honey tones and lots of lush fresh apricots and peaches, vibrant and lively. On the palate – sweet and complex with a gentle savoury note adding depth and personality; apple and spiced apple with ginger and clove; plenty of acidity and length in a medium+ to full bodied expression. Must have!” 5 stars

Our pre-released Alchemy Ice 2014 was also awarded 4.5 stars.

“Very similar to the 2013 though more honeyed on the nose and perhaps more nectarine and peach before citrus and apple; there’s still a complex layer there though. On the palate – very sweet and creamy with lots of acidity and flavours that reflect the nose. I like the emerging complexity and textures this wine has to offer. Very nice indeed.” 4.5 Stars

This is the third tasting of Akarua wines involving Cameron Douglas and we are delighted to be consistently achieving high results. These high ranked wines are hard won, with some wines being awarded two or no stars.

England suffered a humiliating defeat against the Black Caps at the Cricket World Cup 2015. However the day before in a lower key pre-match contest, it was England that came top in a taste-off between its bubbles and those made here in New Zealand.

For a bit of sport themed fun, New Zealand Wine Growes, Tourism New Zealand and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise staged a “Battle of the Bubbles”. In this, 12 Sparkling Wines from both England and New Zealand went head to head, judged by English wine-writer, Oz Clarke and New Zealand-based Master of Wine Jane Skilton. Though the end of the results were a draw, with the dozen highest ranked wines split 50-50 between the two countries, the ‘player of the match’ was an English wine, Wyfold Brut 2010.

English sparkling wines are proving so successful they’ve not only beaten our top bubbles, but French Champagnes aswell. Vines have grown in Britain since Roman times, but the country’s moist and chilly climes makes rippening grapes a challenge. With sparkling wine being a style whose best examples are built around a corse of fresh acicity, which doesn’t require grapes to ripen to the levels required for palatable still wines, fizz is a natural fit.

Britains small production is one of the reasons we don’t see English bubbles here in New Zealand. If you are in the UK, it is worth seeking labels such as Ridgeview and Nyetimber, both of which produce sparkling wines with freshness and finesse.

Unlike in Cricket, when it comes to Sparkling Wine, New Zealand and England are more closely matched.

Writer Jo Burzynska, recommended her top Sparkling Wines from the Battle of the Bubbles, with a lovely write up of our Akarua Rose Brut NV.

“A dry, pretty, pure pink sparkler from Central driven by a fresh line of citrus joined by notes of fresh red berry and a savoury edge.” Find at Glengarry stores nationwide. RRP: $35.90

“Juicy, fresh, lush and fragrant bouquet with lots of fresh berry suggestions, obvious, but not invasive oak tones and a youthful mineral wild red flower suggestion. On the palate – vibrant, lush and packed with red fruit flavours, medium + tannins and acidity snuggle up to the fruit adding lots of texture and promise. Great finish!”

Announced today, we have received two Gold Medals at the Easter Show Wine Awards 2015.

Our second label and newest vintage ‘RUA Pinot Noir 2014’ has snatched up a Gold - promising a bright future for this lovely, vibrant pinot noir.

Akarua Pinot Noir 2012 has picked up its eighth GOLD Medal to date.

Distributed by Hancocks Wine, Spirit & Beer Merchants

P: +64 800 699 463

We are delighted in achieving fantastic results at the 2015 China Wine & Spirits competition! We received Double Golds for Akarua Pinot Noir 2011, Akarua Pinot Noir 2013, Akarua Rose Brut NV and Brut NV.

Akarua distributes to both Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong.

The CWSA (China Wine & Spirits Awards) is the biggest & most prestigious wine & spirits competition in China. ALL 100 Judges are carefully selected for being the top BUYERS of wines and spirits for this market and are importers, distributors, retailers and sommeliers'. Wines and spirits enter from 35 countries and are ‘blind tasted’.

For Chinese distribution please contact:

Ruby Red Fine Wine, (Shanghai & Beijing)

Platinum Group Ltd, (Hong Kong)

The Drinks Business has held their Global Pinot Noir Masters 2015 this month. Akarua Pinot Noir 2011 won a GOLD, and one of the highest scores in the whole competition. The UK competition has a reputation for being the toughest in the business, with many wines failing to reach the medals at all.

The Gold and Silver Medals in particular were extremely hard won, as the judges awarded very few high scores, and no Sparkling Wines including some Champagnes, reached a higher medal than Silver. Akarua Brut NV, Akarua Rose Brut NV and Akarua Vintage Brut 2010 were all awarded silver (85 points/100).

Natalie MacLean, (Canadian Wine Writer)

“A gloriously vibrant New Zealand Pinot Noir that’s medium bodied and packed with flavour. A rich, silky Pinot bursting with ripe cherries and wild berries. Small kick of spice on the finish. Closed with a screwcap. Try it tonight with roast chicken, and invite me along please. Match this wine with lamb, duck or turkey.”

Sue Courtney, Urban & County, Feb 2015

"In Maori RUA means two, so how appropriate Akarua RUA Central Otago Pinot Noir 2013 would be to emphasize it is the exchanging of vows of two people that is being celebrated. 

This gorgeous ruby-hued wine is smoky and savoury with a lush plush texture, black cherry fruit, and hints of dried rose petals, a touch of spice and a seductive, succulent, smooth, creamy mouth-filling finish.

A 2014 Air New Zealand Wine Awards Gold Medal winner, RRP: $28.50.", December 2015

92 points

Medium Ruby with a hint of purple to the colour, the 2012 The Siren Pinot Noir  is a little funky and reduced to begin over notes of crushed raspberries, cherries and pomegranate with hints of mossy bark and Provence herbs. It offers great elegance in the mouth with a fine structure of firm, grainy tannins and lively acid, finishing with great length.

5 stars 

“Raspberry & ruby pink hues with aromas of sweet red berries, loads of red cherry and red apple skin; lively and refreshing bouquet with a gentle perfume note. On the palate – just dry with a hint of sweetness then gobs of fresh red berry fruit flavours, medium + acidity and a long refreshing finish. Simple, refreshing, delicious”  

4.5 stars

“Raspberry rose and pink hues with aromas of intensity ripe sweet cherry, red melon and even a touch of Air New Zealand red candy. On the palate – just dry with lots of lush red fruit flavours, medium acidity, medium weight and a longish fruit centred 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”

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’ ”.

Well known Central Otago Winery, Akarua is celebrating after having their 2012 Akarua Pinot Noir selected as Australasian Pinot Noir of the Year by Winestate magazine at a lunch held in Queenstown this afternoon (November 21).

Akarua winery, located in the outstanding Bannockburn sub-region, picked up the coveted Wine of the Year Pinot Noir trophy at the award presentation, recognising its 2012 vintage as the best in a field of over 1000 pinot noirs from Australia and New Zealand.

Winestate, a bi-monthly magazine is Australia’s oldest wine publication which was started in 1978.

The competition, run by Winestate magazine, has become one of the most comprehensive assessments of wine varietals in Australia.

Akarua winemaker Matt Connell said it was “fantastic” for Akarua to gain further recognition for the already well-awarded 2012 vintage.

“It has been a great year for us and this award is significant in that it confirms that this wine can stand out amongst the best in its class from Australia and New Zealand which we are thrilled about. This wine has been consistent from the day we released it, with seven gold medals awarded to this wine to date”.

A busy and exciting year for Akarua has finished on the right note with three pure gold medals at the 2014 Air New Zealand Wine Awards.

The results of the awards were announced today to the public. Akarua received three pure gold's for their Akarua Pinot Noir 2013, Akarua RUA Pinot Noir 2013 and one for their sparkling wines, Akarua Vintage Brut 2010.

Winemaker Matt Connell is delighted with the results.

"It is great for our team to be recognised at this prestigious show. It has been a particularly busy year for us with the purchase of two new vineyards and preparing for a much larger vintage because of this, so to win three gold medals is a fantastic achievement" he said.

"The Air New Zealand Wine Awards have such resonance with consumers and the profile of the awards is also recognised internationally, it's a great lead in to the Christmas season" he said.

Akarua's varietal focus is on their Pinot Noir's and Sparkling Wine programme. The Akarua Pinot Noir 2013, Akarua RUA Pinot Noir 2013 and Akarua Vintage Brut 2010 were awarded gold.

Matt is looking forward to celebrating the wins at the Awards dinner in Hawkes bay on the 22nd November

Dish Tasting Panel has awarded the Akarua Vintage Brut 2010 as Top #2 out of 10 Sparkling Wines.... That is five starts. The Sparkling Tasting was a blind tasting by three renowned judges - Yvonne Lorkin, Cameron Douglas MS and Jane Boyle.

This is a massive result for the Vintage Brut 2010 which has already received massive recognition this year including a Trophy and three Gold Medals.

Judges comments read... "This wine unfolds in the glass to reveal delicious breakfast-bun aromas, bold, biscuity complexity and a mouthfeel that expresses real elegance and character. With delicate beading and a creamy mousse it's also "a very exotic, yet incredibly clean wine" noted Yvonne. "Very dry, crisp and refined".

Akarua will be sponsoring Targa South Island Rally today in Christchurch.

The rally commences in Christchurch today and finishes in Queenstown this weekend.

For more information please visit

Cuisine Magazine have released their sparkling wine results for this Decembers edition....

Akarua Brut NV and Akarua Rose Brut NV have been awarded 4.5 stars out of 5. Massive result

Results just released from the 6 Nations Wine Challenge with NZ taking out the Nation of the show. We had high competition against the wines from USA, Argentina, Australia, Chile and South Africa! As an invitation only show, with the 6 judges from each country selecting the wines, it is a privilege to be invited to participate . Akarua Pinot Noir 2012 was rewarded with a Double Gold this year.

Akarua has followed up a fantastic year by winning the Negociants New Zealand Champion Pinot Noir Trophy at the New Zealand International Wine Show, at a gala dinner held on Saturday night (September 27) in Auckland. 

Akarua winery, located in the outstanding Bannockburn sub-region of Central Otago, picked up the coveted Pinot Noir trophy with their Akarua Pinot Noir 2013 (RRP $42).

The Show took place from the 8th to the 10th September and was chaired by Bob Campbell MW, New Zealand’s most experienced senior wine judge and this country’s leading wine educator. Assistant chief judges were Larry McKenna, Peter Cowley and John Hancock.

There were 14 wines awarded gold medals in the pinot noir category in this year’s competition with 10 golds’ awarded to wines from Central Otago and the remaining 4 from Marlborough. Of the 14 gold’s awarded 11 were from the 2013 vintage. Akarua also collected a gold medal for its current 2012 vintage Pinot Noir which takes its tally to 5 gold medals.

Matt Connell, Akarua winemaker was there to collect the award.

“We were up against some great wines in this category, many from Central Otago, so I am delighted that we have been acknowledged with the trophy tonight” he said.

“The 2013 vintage is drinking well – the style is soft and beguiling with ripe berry fruit flavours, velvety texture and a generous length. With increasing vineyard maturity our Akarua wines are showing greater complexity and completeness.” 

It has been a significant year for Akarua with many notable accolades including trophies for their sparkling wines; Akarua Rose Brut won the Champion Sparkling Wine Trophy at the Spiegelau International Wine Competition and the Akarua Vintage Brut 2010 was awarded World Champion NZ Sparkling Wine Trophy at the Champagne & Sparkling Wine World Championships. In August this year they also announced a major vineyard purchase with the acquisition of vineyards located on Felton Road and in Lowburn which has boosted their total vineyard area to 100 hectares in Central Otago.

Matt Connell said that he was hugely excited by the opportunity that the purchase of these vineyards provides the team to continue the legacy of making outstanding wines under the Akarua brand.

Akarua has struck gold again at the New Zealand International Wine Show 2014.

Akarua Vintage Brut 2010 received its third Gold medal to date, alongside its recently awarded World Champion New Zealand Sparkling Trophy earlier this month.

Akarua Pinot Noir 2012 & 2013 also picked up Gold Medals, proving the ability of Akarua to produce consistent high quality fine wine throughout a variety of vintages.

Raise your glass and join us in a toast as we celebrate Central Otago winery Akarua winning a prestigious international trophy for its sparkling wine Akarua Vintage Brut 2010 - awarded the World Champion New Zealand Sparkling Wine Trophy at The Champagne & Sparkling Wine World Championships (CSWWC), announced on the 4th September 2014.

Having launched our sparkling wine range in early 2012, Akarua is gaining a solid reputation for its quality and style.

“We knew that we had the capabilities and the right climatic conditions to make fantastic sparkling wines and this trophy caps off what has been a fantastic two years for our Akarua methode traditionelle range; with many notable achievements including three trophies that our Non-Vintage wines have won” says Matt Connell – Winemaker; Akarua.

It is also really heartening to see Central Otago being recognised internationally for another wine style alongside Pinot Noir”, he continues.

The Akarua Vintage Brut 2010 is Akarua’s premier sparkling wine; a selection of the finest base wines from the 2010 harvest, which spends a minimum of three years on yeast in bottle before disgorging. Full of character and complexity, Akarua Vintage Brut 2010 will be your new ‘go to bubbles’ to have ready and chilled in your fridge whatever the occasion.

About the Champagne & Sparkling Wine World Championships

This is a new global wine competition launched by internationally renowned UK specialist writer and author Tom Stevenson and has been created to provide consumers and trade with the definitive annual guide to the very best Champagnes and Sparkling Wines in the World. This year, the competition received over 650 entries from 16 different countries in the first year of judging, with 185 wines winning Gold and Silver medals.

This competition also differentiates itself from others in that it is the first wine competition to be judged exclusively by Champagne and Sparkling wine specialists and the only global competition in which every judge agrees all the medals awarded. The combination of these two unique attributes ensures an unprecedented level of consistency in the medalling process. It also only awards Gold and Silver medals and lesser medals will not be announced.


Akarua is delighted to announce a major vineyard purchase with the acquisition of vineyards located in Felton Road and Lowburn finalised on Friday 22 August 2014.

Akarua, established in 1996 by Sir Clifford Skeggs is the largest family owned vineyard in Central Otago with single estate holdings in Cairnmuir Road Bannockburn, this recent purchase will significantly boost their total vineyard area to 100 hectares in Central Otago.

David Skeggs, Managing Director of the Skeggs Group said that that the company had been actively looking at purchasing developed vineyard in Central Otago for the last 2 years.

“We are very pleased to be able to secure these two notable sites in Central Otago, it will provide us with the ability to develop the Akarua brand and to meet the growing demand for our wines from our customers”.

Bannockburn is widely regarded as the “grand cru” site in Central Otago and the addition of a 26 hectare vineyard at the end of Felton Road will significantly enhance Akarua’s vineyards in this sub-region, reinforcing the families’ belief that it is the premier wine producing sub-region in Central Otago. A second quality parcel of 15 hectares has also been purchased in Lowburn.

Akarua winemaker Matt Connell said that he was hugely excited by the opportunity that the purchase of these vineyards provides.

“These additional vineyards will provide us with quality estate grown fruit that we require for the continued successful growth of the Akarua brand. We are particularly looking forward to exploring the subtleties and nuances of sub regional blends and development of further single vineyard wines”.

The Akarua brand will now be ideally placed to meet the growing domestic and international demand for their wines - particularly with their pinot noir and sparkling wine varietals.

Akarua has a firmly established reputation for producing outstanding wines which continue to gather significant accolades year after year.

We are excited to announce we are bottling our Akarua Pinot Rosé 2014 on the 26th August 2014! Our Pinot Rosé range sells out fast so please contact 03-4450897 for purchases or email!  This off-dry Rosé has vibrant and juicy red fruits with a long finish and a delicious aroma of strawberry & passion-fruit. Perfect drink for summer with friends

The momentum continues to gather for Akarua’s sparkling range with Akarua Rosé Brut NV awarded the Gow Langsford Gallery Trophy for Champion Sparkling Wine at the Spiegelau International Wine Competition Awards Dinner on Friday 8th August at the Northern Club in Auckland.

Akarua winemaker Matt Connell accepted the award “This trophy goes a long way in cementing our position as one of New Zealand’s top sparkling wine producers. In the last two years we have won two other trophies for the Akarua Rosé Brut, winning the Decanter Asia Wine Awards Regional Trophy 2012 and the Romeo Bragato Sparkling Wine Trophy 2013. This demonstrates the consistent quality of the wines and the suitability of Central Otago as a region to this wine style with its semi-continental climate and viticulture”.

Akarua, a brand well known as a premium producer of Pinot Noir launched their methode traditionelle range only two and a half years ago. It is particularly rewarding for them to become recognized for the production of high quality sparkling wines next to their signature style of Pinot Noir as Matt believes it demonstrates their ability to excel in a variety of wine styles.

The Akarua sparkling wines are grown on their 50 hectare Bannockburn vineyard which has significant plantings of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

Akarua continues to work alongside Dr Tony Jordan to develop the range. Tony’s considerable experience in sparkling winemaking includes working with many notable sparkling wine producers.

Range & RRP: Akarua Rosé Brut NV $35.90, Akarua Brut NV $33.90, Akarua Vintage Brut 2010 $45.00

Distributed by: Hancocks Wines & Spirits, Rebecca Tetley, 09 361 8470 or for stockists

Akarua has been awarded a Gold Medal for ‘Akarua Vintage Brut 2010’ at the inaugural Champagne and Sparkling Wine Championships.

The Champagne and Sparkling Wine Championships is a new competition dedicated solely to champagne and sparkling wine from around the world. It was established by internationally renowned specialist writer and author Tom Stevenson.

It is the first of its kind to be exclusively judged by Champagne and Sparkling wine specialists only. Notwithstanding, it is one of the harder competitions to compete and apply for;as no bronze medals are awarded and all judges must agree on selected Gold Medals. 

This award ceremony has been specifically created to provide consumers and trade with the definitive annual guide to the very best Champagnes and Sparkling wines in the world.

Lovely review in this Septembers edition of Decanter Magazine...

Bob Campbell's top 20 Kiwi Pinot Noir's include Akarua RUA Pinot Noir 2012,

"A truly excellent buy. Dark cherry, black-fleshed plum, spice and floral flavors with a silken texture. Classy wine at a great price!"

We are delighted to announce we have picked up two gold medals at this years Spiegelau International Wine Competition! Akarua Pinot Noir 2012 has struck Gold again with its fourth Gold Medal to date followed closely by Akarua Rosé Brut NV with its third gold medal.

We only produced 187 cases of our icon pinot noir The Siren. Out of 600 barrels of pinot noir that we produced in 2012, only 6 were identified as being truly exceptional. It was these wines that we used to blend The Siren.

Bob Campbell MW has reinforced the quality of this wine by giving it 97 points and 5 stars in the latest edition of Gourmet Wine Traveller Magazine.
"A dense, flavoursome pinot noir. I noted red and black cherry, spice/thyme, plum, violet and spicy French oak characters. Elegance on a grand scale. It will offer greater complexity over time".

We now only have a very small quantity of this wine available so if you would like to secure some for your cellar do let us know.

Akarua has further cemented its position as a Pinot Noir specialist with a third gold medal win at the 31st annual International Wine Challenge with Akarua Pinot Noir 2012.

This prestigious London competition sees countries from all around the globe competing for top accolades.

“The International Wine Challenge is committed to rigorous and fair tasting and has subsequently earned its reputation as the most well-respected wine competition in the world.” Charles Metcalfe Co-Chairman IWC.

Out of a total of 419 medals won by New Zealand winemakers, only 34 Kiwi wines won Gold medals at the International Wine Challenge 2014, and of those only 10 were awarded for New Zealand pinot noir.

The 2012 vintage of Akarua Pinot Noir was only released at the end of 2013 and this latest gold medal from the IWC brings the tally to 3 gold medals received in 2014; at the China Wine & Spirit Awards and the New Zealand Easter Show Wine Awards.

Grapes for Akarua Pinot Noir were harvested from Akarua’s 50 hectare Estate in the Bannockburn sub-region, which is widely regarded as the “jewel in Central Otago’s crown”. The handpicked fruit is cropped to only two kilograms per vine. In the winery each parcel of grapes is kept in separate cuvées in order to express the characteristics of each vineyard block. The wine then spends 10 months in 30% new French barriques. These components are later blended to make Akarua Pinot Noir and Akarua “The Siren” Pinot Noir – the flagship and icon Akarua wines.  

Akarua Pinot Noir 2012 (RRP$45) typifies the consistency that our vineyard site delivers vintage to vintage and is a combination of the wonderful vintage year, unique vineyard site, climate and soil.

The Akarua Pinot Noir style is soft and beguiling with ripe berry fruit flavours, velvety texture and a generous length. “With increasing vineyard maturity our Akarua wines are showing greater and greater complexity and completeness.” Matt Connell.

The judges at the IWC described the Akarua Pinot Noir: “Layers of black cherry, raspberry and smoky oak complexity. Flavours of fruitcake and kirsch. Beautiful balance and elegance. Supple tannins and a long, refined tail. New Zealand in a glass!!”

Akarua also achieved silver medals at the competition with Akarua RUA Pinot Noir 2013 and Akarua Vintage Brut 2010.

Akarua Pinot Noir 2012 has nabbed its third* Gold medal this year with the latest at the prestigious London International Wine Challenge 2014.

A beautiful description from the judges:

“Layers of black cherry, raspberry and smoky oak complexity. Flavours of fruitcake and kirsch. Beautiful balance and elegance. Supple tannins and a long, refined tail. New Zealand in a glass!!”

Only 10 New Zealand Pinot Noir's were awarded Gold at this competition so we are thrilled with this recognition.

*The other Gold medals that this wine has achieved are: China Wine & Spirits Awards 2014 and New Zealand Easter Show 2014

A first time for Akarua entering this competition so thrilled that our flagship Akarua Pinot Noir 2012 has taken out a Gold medal!

The Easter Show results have been announced for another year. Two Gold Medals for our inaugural release of our vintage bubbles - Akarua Vintage Brut 2010 and a gold for the ever consistent Akarua Pinot Noir with the 2012 vintage.

5 stars

“Raspberry & ruby pink hues with aromas of sweet red berries, loads of red cherry and red apple skin; lively and refreshing bouquet with a gentle perfume note. On the palate – just dry with a hint of sweetness then gobs of fresh red berry fruit flavours, medium + acidity and a long refreshing finish. Simple, refreshing, delicious”  

5 Stars and runner up in Cuisines Annual dessert wine tasting is no mean feat and we are super proud of our little sticky gem!
Made in very small quantities with beautiful packaging to match this is a delightful wine for those fans of sweet, dessert wine styles:
"For this act of glacial alchemy, winemaker Matt Connell uses gewurztraminer fruit with its rich floral fragances. It is concentrated, focused and beautifully pure, the sweetness set off by crisp acids. Serve with bread and butter pudding".

The 2013 Air New Zealand Wine Awards have been announced. Extremely happy with our 3 Gold Medals - Akarua Brut NV, Akarua Rose Brut NV and Akarua Pinot Noir 2011. All you need to know here,1245,

Perfect timing for Xmas, what better reason do you need to stock up on our bubbles! This is a great accomplishment for Akarua Brut NV as our Akarua Rose Brut NV picked up a gold medal and Regional Trophy at the same show last year.

Akarua Pinot Noir named Champion Wine of Show

Bannockburn vineyard Akarua has won the Bragato Trophy for Champion Wine of Show and three other trophies at the Romeo Bragato Awards in Blenheim.

Apart from the competition’s top award, Akarua Pinot Noir 2011 also won the Mike Wolter Memorial Trophy Champion Pinot Noir and the Sustainability Trophy.

On top of Akarua’s success with Pinot Noir, a recent addition to their portfolio, Akarua Rosé Brut NV, also won the Sparkling Trophy.

The Bragato Wine Awards are presented each year as part of the Romeo Bragato conference. The awards recognise that growing excellent grapes is the foundation of making great wines. Trophies are awarded to the top wine from each variety and are presented to the grower rather than the winemaker.

The champion wine was grown by Akarua’s Vineyard Manager, Mark Naismith, in the Bannockburn sub-region in Central Otago.

“We’re thrilled to have one of our wines as Champion Wine of Show,” says Mark. “Our aim at Akarua vineyard is to supply our winemaking team with premium quality fruit that expresses the unique terroir of our site.”

The particular vintage was also a standout, something that was clear to winemaker Matt Connell early on.

“While Pinot Noirs from the 2010 vintage in Central Otago were noted for their power and concentration, the cooler 2011 vintage reflected in the wine,” says Matt. “The trophy winning wine has captivating aromatics of florals and spice, a beautifully poised palate that is complex, with excellent fruit weight and fine tannins.”

The Akarua vineyard was first planted in 1996. The 50 hectare vineyard in Bannockburn is the largest family owned estate in Central Otago. The vineyard is now well established, with the vine age helping to produce fruit with rare depth of flavour. The quality and consistency of Akarua wines has made them a favourite with wine lovers and wine competition judges alike.

Akarua’s achievement at the Bragato Wine Awards comes in the face of stiff competition. Olly Masters, chairman of judges, said this year was one of the strongest trophy line-ups ever across all categories. A total of 495 wines competed for the Bragato Wine Awards.

A lot of our customers have been asking when this wine was coming out, so happy to say it is on sale now! Available on our website and at our Cellar Door now.
Not a huge amount was made this year so make sure you aren't disappointed!


Winestate Magazine have just conducted their annual tasting on Otago Wines (including Waitaki Valley). This tasting will be featured in the September/ October 2013 issue.

We were especially thrilled to be informed that our Akarua Pinot Noir 2011 was the only 5 star wine out of the 80 Pinot Noir’s entered. Akaura Rosé Brut NV continues to shine in tastings with 4.5 stars awarded in this tasting.

Akarua Bannockburn Central Otago Pinot Noir 2011 *****

Attractively perfumed, deeply coloured, still-youthful red with substantial body, generous, ripe plum/spice flavours and finely integrated French oak (33% new.) Ageworthy, single-vineyard red, rated highly by all panellists. $46 (A, UK)

Akarua Rua Central Otago Pinot Noir 2012 ****

As a drink-young style, praised by two judges as ‘pretty’, this is hard to beat. Full-coloured, it is fragrant and buoyantly fruity, with concentrated, ripe cherry, plum and spice flavours and a subtle seasoning of oak (10% new). $28 (A, UK)

Akarua Rosé Brut NV ****½

Pale pink, vivacious blend of pinot noir (74%) and chardonnay (26%), grown at Bannocbkurn and lees-aged for at least 18 months. Vigorous and complex, with excellent drive, delicacy and harmony. $36 (A, UK)

Bob Campbell MW has once again chosen Akaura Pinot Noir, with its 2011 vintage, to take part in this years Challenge. This year the competition will see 6 nations vying for the accolades with new entry The United States taking part alongside Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, South Africa and Chile.

Akarua is particularly pleased to be invited to participate in this competition as last year we took out the prestigious Red Wine of Show and Pinot Noir Trophy with our Akarua Pinot Noir 2010. With now our 4th consecutive invitation to this event it demonstrates the consistently high quality of our wines.

Our two sparkling wines have made the list and what a great review from Paul Tudor MW who said:

"Based on recent performance, Akarua is arguably the country's best methode producer at present".

Visit our reviews section to take a look at the full reviews.

It's a relief to have finished the last of the picking on Tuesday 30th April. The colder weather has well and truly arrived in Central Otago and early morning frosts are now a regular occurance. Overall the vintage was very good with Matt and his team excited about the wines- Matt describes them as rich, fruit forward wines with soft fine tannins. Something to look forward to tasting in the future.Our vineyard crew are taking a well earned mini break before they get their pruning gear ready!

Now that the weather has turned, leaves are starting to fall and the heat pumps are turned on, it's time to get your wine cupboards stocked for winter! Nothing beats a red wine sitting by the fire, and I know we are biased but Central Otago Pinot Noir just can't be beaten. Our Akarua Pinot Noir 2011 has picked up three gold medals to date and is drinking beautifully, perfect wine for winter and sharing with good friends, especially with a leg of lamb. YUM!

Vintage 2013 well underway

The harvest at Akarua is well underway and the winery is humming with excitement about the quality of fruit coming in from the vineyard. With our own winery on site we have the advantage of processing the fruit as soon as it comes in from the vineyard so the grapes are always at their most optimum. The pressure is always on and its great to have our vintage crew from all around the globe helping us out this year.

Just Arrived...Chardonnay bursting with Flavour

Perfect day for our first day of harvest, take a look at this Chardonnay that has just come in to the winery. We have started picking our Chardonnay and Pinot Noir for our Akarua bubbles and the fruit looks and tastes devine. I certainly think that we are all in for a really great vintage in Central Otago and by the looks all around the country. We are lucky that in the wine industry hot, dry weather are the ideal growing conditions for our vines.

Riedel to  make specialty glass for Central Otago Pinot Noir

The head of the world’s leading wine glass company flew into Queenstown this week (w/c March 18) to consult with local winemakers and leading wine experts about producing a speciality wine glass specific for Central Otago Pinot Noir.

Georg J Riedel, chief executive of the prestigious Austrian Riedel Glass Company, toured the Central Otago wine region to gain a better appreciation of the region’s famed Pinot Noir before embarking on an intense tasting session to “find the perfect glass in which to enjoy Central Otago Pinot Noir”.

Mr Riedel, a 10th generation member of the Riedel family, led the interactive session with a select number of around 20 wine experts and local winemakers who each sampled their own vineyard’s wine in 14 different types of Riedel glasses.

He said using the right glass was ‘crucial’ when enhancing the art of drinking wine and encouraged guests to “forget about the look of the glass” and “feel the emotion of the wine".

“I asked them to concentrate on how the wine performs in the glass, how does it feel, and how does that vary from glass to glass,” he said.

“Central Otago is internationally recognised for producing some of the world’s best wine, and Pinot Noir from the region is particularly sought after because of the great intensity and finesse of the wine.”

Mr Riedel said Central Otago Pinot Noir was selected for the new wine glass because of its quality and intensity.

Each guest was asked to rate the glasses and award points to those they thought best reflected the way their wine should taste, before scores were collated and two glasses emerged as clear winners.

Experienced local winemaker Alan Brady, pioneer of wine in the Central Otago Wine region, said he was “amazed” at how different his Wild Irishman Pinot Noir wine tasted in each of the glasses.

“It was like I had tasted 14 different wines and for me there was one clear winner which stood out from the rest,” he said.

“The perfect Pinot Noir glass has a rounded, bulbous bottom and a thin pointed flow at the top. The glass controls the flow of wine to the palate in a spectacular way so the wine doesn’t become better, it tastes better”, said Mr Riedel.

Steve Green, chairman of New Zealand Winegrowers’ and owner of Bannockburn’s Carrick Winery, said this important development signalled that Central Otago Pinot Noir

had ‘come of age’.

“The international reputation of our wines has been recognised and a dedicated Central Otago Pinot Noir glass will sit alongside worldwide icons such as a Burgundy Glass and the Champagne Flute”, he said.

“An historical moment is about to occur in New Zealand’s wine industry and Central Otago is preparing for the world stage.”

Visiting Queenstown for the first time, Mr Riedel was full of praise for the region saying he was “in love” with the beautiful town and a “huge fan” of the region’s Pinot Noirs.

“A wine as good as your Pinot Noir needs to be

savoured from the correct glass.”

Along with his father before him, Georg Riedel has taken the 250-year-old Riedel company to the top of the wine glass world by designing individual glasses to enhance the aromas and flavours of specific wine varieties and styles.

Time magazine famously wrote: “The Riedel family have contributed more to the delight of wine lovers in the past 50 years than almost any winemaking dynasty.”

The company produces a range of glasses of different shapes and diameters for varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Shiraz and Pinot Noir which are used throughout the world.

Mr Green said it was testament to Mr Riedel’s love of Central Otago’s wines that he had travelled from the other side of the world to talk to winemakers and growers here and gather their thoughts.

“To have a company as influential as Riedel recognise our region’s Pinot Noirs as stand-out and worthy of a specially designed glass is a proud moment in Central Otago’s relatively short 30-year winegrowing history,” he said.

Austrian-born Quartz Reef winemaker Rudi Bauer described Mr Riedel’s visit as a “massive“ international endorsement of the region’s commitment to delivering quality wine.

“We’re looking forward to working with him further to identify the key elements for a Central Otago glass.”

The Riedel Central Otago Pinot Noir glass is planned for release by Hancocks Wine & Spirit Merchants in 2014.


The winery and vineyard is a hive of activity today as harvest begins tomorrow with the picking of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay for our Akarua sparkling wine. Lots of new crew on board to help with vintage and pick all those delicious grapes. Exciting times.

Georg J. Riedel to host Glass Tasting in Queenstown

Don't miss this amazing opportunity to experience a Georg Riedel masterclass. Learn why glassware is so important in the world of wine. This is Georg's one consumer event in New Zealand.

Tuesday 19th March, 7pm, Jacks Point Clubhouse.

Please see attached invite for all the information you will need.

Good news today with the results through from the Easter Show. Lovely to see the 2011 Pinot Noirs shining through. A gold awarded to Akarua Pinot Noir 2011 backs up the promise of this wine and with a previous two golds (New Zealand International Wine Show 2012 and Bragato 2012) this wine is earning its credentials as one to lock up in your cellar.

Akarua Rose Brut NV also picked up a Gold medal which is particularly exciting for us as our sparkling wine range has only been out in the market for one year. The wines are rapidly gaining recognition for their style and finesse.

Congratulations to all award winners and to the Easter Wine Show which is 60 years old this year - what an achievement!

Our new dessert wine Akarua Alchemy Ice 2012 was awarded a Pure Elite Gold at the Air New Zealand Wine Awards. The meaning behind Alchemy is the quest to turn base elements into gold - so this lovely medal gives true meaning to the word! This wine is due to be released in the new year.

Here is the link to a nice story that Close Up ran last night on "What makes Central Otago Pinot Noir so good", great to see Matt Connell and Akarua wines on the big screen and fantastic coverage for our region.

Akarua takes home Red Wine of Show and Pinot Noir Trophy at Five Nations Wine Challenge

Akarua was presented with the prestigious Red Wine of Show and Class Trophy for its award-winning 2010 Pinot Noir at the ‘Five Nations Wine Challenge’ at a dinner held in Sydney last night (October 26).

Akarua winery, located in the outstanding Bannockburn sub-region, picked up the coveted Pinot Noir trophy at the awards and then was later awarded the Red Wine of the Show, recognising its 2010 vintage as one of the best in the world.

Wineries can only enter the awards by invitation from judges selected from each of the five represented countries -- New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Chile, and Argentina.

New Zealand Master of Wine Bob Campbell has invited Akarua to take part in this competition for the past three years, and last year the Akarua Reserve Pinot Noir 2009 was runner-up in its class.

The Five Nations wine challenge was best summed up by Mr Campbell when he wrote: “Because the wines are all pre-selected by each of the judges, the standard of wine quality must surely be higher than any competition of this size in the world.”

Akarua winemaker Matt Connell said it was “fantastic” for Akarua to gain this recognition for the already well-awarded 2010 vintage.

“We’re a well-established winery in Bannockburn now, and the age of the vines which were planted in 1996 is providing us with beautiful fruit to produce outstanding wine,” he said.

“This competition has particular significance for me because it is invitation only, so you know that you are up against the best of the best as only seven wines of the same varietal from each country are invited to take part.

“To end up with the Trophy and then Red Wine of Show is certainly a major highlight in my career to date.

“The 2010 was a good vintage for Central Otago, without climatic extremes, which meant that the wines have beautiful balance and vibrancy whilst still retaining power and structure.”

Each wine poured during the three-day wine challenge is tasted ‘blind’ by all the judges.

South African judge Michael Fridjhon described the Akarua 2010 Pinot Noir as “very bright cherry fruit, ample spice, elegant, seriously structured real power and texture. Still juicy. Big yet delicately handled.”

The “Five Nations Wine Challenge” achievements has capped off a fantastic year for Akarua which has continued to gather a loyal following for its wines.

The winery has also been thrilled with the success of its ‘Methode Traditionelle’ range which was launched earlier this year, demonstrating that Central Otago can succeed at a number of wine styles.

The Akarua Rosé Brut NV has just been awarded a Regional Trophy at the Decanter Asia Wine Awards, a sister competition to the Decanter World Wine Awards. The wines were judged in Hong Kong in September by a team of Asia’s leading wine experts.

Matt and the team at Akarua are focused on continuing to build the reputation of Akarua wines and provide wines that are consistently excellent for consumers from vintage to vintage.

The Akarua Methode Traditionelle range was launched in February this year with Akarua Brut NV and Akarua Rose Brut NV. The wines have been met with much enthusiasm from our consumers and it is particularly satisfying for us all at Akarua to be able to show the diversity of Central Otago and that we can excell at a number of wine styles including sparkling wine.

The latest accolade is a Regional Trophy awarded to the Akarua Rose Brut NV at the Decanter Asia Wine Awards, perfect timing for everyone choosing their Christmas bubbles, so if you haven't already give the Akarua sparkling range a try this summer.

To read more about the award visit

Akarua Pinot Noir 2011 has just picked up its second gold medal at the New Zealand International Wine Show 2012, this joins the gold medal awarded at the Bragato Wine Awards 2012. Matt Connell, Akarua winemaker has always believed that the 2011 vintage would show itself as one of the leading vintages from the region. Lets hope the medals continue to arrive!

Akarua Pinot Noir 2010 was the top NZ wine in the 5 Nations Wine Challenge! This is a fantastic achievement for a wine that we are all very proud of. Check it out in the Sydney Morning Herald

A typical example of Akarua's famous "fruit bomb" style with lush, ripe dark cherry, berry and plum flavours. Fruit sweetness is nicely restrained by fine tannins that prevent any suggestion of cloying. Crowd-pleasing wine that's very appealing.

We are excited to be part of the inaugural Pinot Palooza in Melbourne on the 21st October.
Pinot Palooza will give you the opportunity to taste the wines of up to 60 of the best producers of Pinot Noir in the Southern Hemisphere. In total there will be up to 120 Pinot Noirs on display.Check out their website for more information on the event

Lovely to have some reviews in on our 2011 Pinot Noirs, and of course even better when they make such great reading.
Sam Kim from Wine Orbit has just sent through his verdict on the wines and gave the Akarua Rua Pinot Noir 2011 4.5 Stars and the Akarua Pinot Noir 2011 5 Stars. We here at the winery are also really excited about the 2011 vintage and think that the wines have some beautiful complexity and elegance. Check out the full reviews on our review pages.

Bob Campbell MW's Vintage Report on New Zealand Pinot Noir 2010 in the July issue of Decanter is a great read, covering wines from the North and South Island of New Zealand.
Akarua Rua Pinot Noir 2010 scored 18.5 points with Bob describing Rua as "a third-label wine at first label quality".
Although the 2010 vintage is no longer available we encourage you to try our new vintage release of the 2011.

Akarua are delighted to have been recognised at the 2012 Otago Ballance Farm Environment Awards. Akarua was awarded the:

Hill Labratories Harvest Award and,
WaterForce Integrated Management Award

The awards are a testament to Akarua's commitment to sustainable practices.


On the Leader Board at the PGA

Don't know how they managed it but all the same must congratulate our Board of Directors at Akarua for this fantastic PR stint, I think they call it ambushing marketing but hey we don't mind! The golf hasn't started yet at The Hills but we are all looking forward to a great tournament. Akarua will be there sampling our diverse range of wines over the 4 days so please do come and pay us a visit. We are also the feature winery at the Josh Emmett dinners being held at The Club House at The Hills - we can't wait!

Akaura Clay Bird Shoot & Sparkling Launch at the Vineyard

A fantastic day was had by all last Wednesday (15th February). Forty guests from Queenstown and Wanaka joined us in Bannockburn for the annual Akarua Clay Bird shoot and to celebrate the launch of our new sparkling wines with a sumptuous lunch in the vineyard.
Congratulations to Grant Hattaway from Pier 19 who took away the Akarua Trophy this year for his top score in the clay bird shoot!
We have had a fantastic reception to our new bubbles and are thrilled to offer a new Central Otago Methode Traditionelle range to our customers.

Talk about excited! The Cellar Door is buzzing about the inaugural release of our Methode Traditionelle wines. Akarua Brut NV and Akarua Rose Brut NV are now available from the Cellar Door and from fine wine stores around the country from February 1.

The 50 hectares of prime vineyard land planted at Akarua’s winery site in Bannockburn, to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, combined with the continental climate of Central Otago, are perfectly suited to the production of quality sparkling wines. The temperatures throughout the growing season in Bannockburn result in a large diurnal temperature range, which is also a significant characteristic of the Champagne region.

Akarua is extremely fortunate to have secured the expertise and guidance of Dr Tony Jordan to develop the Akarua Methode Traditionelle range. Tony has worked alongside Akarua’s winemaker Matt Connell to craft this new range of wines and is a partner in this exciting new Akarua venture. Tony’s considerable experience in sparkling winemaking includes working with many notable sparkling wine producers including Domaine Chandon (Australia) and Cloudy Bay. Through his own company Oenotec p/l, he consults on sparkling wine production to companies in the UK, China and Australia.

Stylistically the Akarua sparkling wines are wines of character that reflect the power of Pinot Noir and the subtlety Chardonnay grown in the Central Otago terroir. Maturation in old oak and extended yeast age in bottle add subtle complexity to the vibrant aromas and flavours, and to the silky long, crisp palate.

Akarua Noir Ice 2011 is hedonistic and amazing. The colour is like a pink sapphire and the aroma is of fresh pinot grapes with a delicate musk / rose petal nuance coming through. Decadently sweet with a texture like thick nectar, the concentration is incredible and the taste is scintillating and bright with tangelo-like acidity penetrating the spun sugar sweetness. The pinot noir grape taste exudes through the wine and the finish is like macerated strawberries covered with a fine clear toffee.

Just 10% alcohol by volume, this 375-ml bottle has a cork closure that is covered with wax. Just 2666 bottles of this 100% Pinot Noir ice wine were made. A single bottle costs $40 – quite simply a steal. Dial up and get in quick – you may still get it delivered for Xmas. With 204 g/l residual sugar, it really is a sweet wine lover's treat.

Made from 100% Pinot Noir from the ‘Clutha’ block of Akarua’s estate vineyard in Bannockburn, frozen and pressed, the must fermented to 10.0% alc., 204 g/L rs with a TA of 10 g/L.  Pale pink colour with some depth and the faintest purple hues, pale on rim.  This has a lively, pure nose of strawberry fruit with a little steely freshness along with hints of honeysuckle and caramel.  Intensely sweet, this has has an extremely unctuous and viscous texture, thick, lush and dense with rounded mouthfeel, carrying bright strawberry and honey flavours that blossom in the mouth.  Excellent racy acidity underlines the length of the palate, providing sufficient cut to prevent cloying, and leads to a soft, long finish with subtle flavours of honey, red berry fruits and florals.  This is a lush, decadent and unctuous dessert wine with beautiful strawberry and floral notes to make it a match with rich summer-fruit puddings over the next 5-7 years. 2,666 bottles made.  (375 ml)  18.5+/20  Dec 2011  RRP $40.00   

Fantastic review in from Bob Campbell in Australian Gourmet Traveller Wine  (100 Top New Release Wines).
Bob has given Akarua Pinot Noir 2010 95 Points and 5 Stars in this latest edition:
"Strong, sweet fruit flavours with pronounced plum, dark cherry, cassis and anise characters. Luscious wine that's restrained by fine, ripe tannins. A classy pinot noir that's easy to appreciate.

Michael Cooper has just released his 2012 edition of the definitive Buyers Guide to New Zealand Wine. This book has become somewhat of a bible for NZ wine consumers and certainly the 2012 version is a much thicker book than its predecessors. Michael has given some great ratings and reviews on our range of wines, so be sure to check them out on our review pages.

Well known Australian winewriter Nick Stock has just released his 2012 edition of The Age Good Wine Guide. This book is a firm favourite in Australia and gives readers a comprehensive guide on purchasing wine.
Akarua Pinot Noir's received fantastic scores in the book:
 - Akarua Reserve Pinot Noir 2009, 93 Points
 - AKarua Pinot Noir 2009, 93 Points
 - AKarua Pinot Noir 2010, 94 Points
 - AKarua Rua Pinot Noir 2010, 92 Points
Check out our review pages for the full commentary on the wines from Nick.


We have just released the new vintages of Akarua Riesling and Akarua Pinot Rose 2011! It is fantastic to get these great spring and summer wines to our cellar door as daylight savings arrives.

Matt Connell & David Skeggs Visit to Vancouver

Matt & David have just returned home from a recent international sales trip visiting our distributors. On a well earned day off they took to Matt's favourite pastime of fishing and had the luck to strike a superb day in Vancouver fishing for the elusive King salmon  - they say they did pretty well with seven caught - we will take your word for that guys!

Akarua Pinot Noir Reserve 2009 has made it into the First XV lineup for the Great Trans-Tasman Red Wine Challenge held on Friday 16th September.
Each nation was represented by fiteen wines; eight forwards (Syrah/Shiraz) and seven backs (Pinot Noir) selected by team captains. Teams consisted of four judges and were headed up by a well known wine personality from each nation. Noted NZ expert Bob Campbell MW represented the Kiwis with Cameron Douglas MS, Corey Hall (The Gemwine Company), and Simon Nunns (Coopers Creek), whilst wine writer and critic James Halliday led the Australians in battle with Australian sommeliers Andrew Philpot, Patrick White and Matt Sweiboda.
The eight team members participated in a blind tasting on Friday morning to score each wine. The wines with the highest points made the "First XV" selection and were unveiled at a media tasting in the NZ2011 Business Club Lounge in The Cloud on Queens Wharf.

Akarua Reserve Pinot Noir 2009 as been awarded a double gold and trophy runner up at the prestigious Five Nations Wine Challenge, with Akarua Pinot Noir 2010 also awarded a gold medal. This is an invitation only event made by the 5 judges representing the countries of: Australia, Argentina, South Africa, New Zealand and Chile.

"I've tasted this lovely wine three times this year - and it keeps getting better. A deeply coloured Bannockburn red with densely packed cherry, plum and spice flavours, it has hints of chocolate and coffee, ripe, smooth tannins and an enticingly perfumed bouquet. A steal".

The 2010 vintage is shaping up to be a cracker with news today that Akarua Pinot Noir 2010 and Akarua Rua Pinot Noir 2010 have been nominated for Winestate's Wine of the Year. This is as a result of both wines picking up Gold/5 Stars in Winestate's annual NZ Pinot Noir Tasting.
"I always had high hopes for the 2010 wines as the vintage was very similar to the outstanding 2009 year. The Pinot Noirs have great fruit intensity and depth of character". Akarua Winemaker Matt Connell

News just in this morning. Akarua Pinot Noir has picked up a Gold Medal at NZIWS - the largest wine show in New Zealand. A whopping 2080 entries with 199 Gold Medals awarded. A great accolade for the 2010 and goes nicely with the recent Decanter Gold Medal win for Akarua Rua Pinot Noir 2010.

Snow Blankets Akarua Estate

What a wonderful site to wake up to on Monday morning with the vineyard blanketed in a cover of white. The snow has certainly provided challenges to the vineyard crew who are still well entrenched in the pruning season. What a sight to behold though. Strong sweet fruit flavors with pronounced plum, dark cherry, cassis and anise/spice characters. Luscious wine thats restrained by fine, ripe tannins. Very classy Pinot Noir thats easy to appreciate.

Akarua have revamped their wine club to include 3 tiers of wine membership. This will enable many more wine lovers to have access to Akarua wines as well as receiving special benefits such as Riedel glassware and freight free deliveries within New Zealand.

Akarua has been invited to submit two of our Pinot Noirs (Akarua Pinot Noir 2009 & Akarua Reserve Pinot Noir 2009) into the prestigious Five Nations Wine Challenge.
This is the only wine show in the world where the wines entered come in exclusively by invitation from the five Judges. Bob Campbell MW has selected the New Zealand entries. The other countries represented in the Challenge are Argentina, Australia, Chile and South Africa.
The winners will be announced in Sydney on September 9th 2011.

More than 12,200 international entries in the Decanter World Wine Awards 2011 did not deter Akarua’s Rua Pinot Noir 2010 from receiving a Gold medal in this stellar line up. This is a significant achievement for this new vintage release wine which is Akarua’s introductory wine in a lineup of three Pinot Noirs in their portfolio. Over 121 medals were awarded to New Zealand wines in the show with only a small proportion awarded to Gold medals, eleven in total. Pinot Noir made up over half this gold medal tally, with six awarded to New Zealand Pinot Noirs.
Akarua Rua is made from fruit off Akarua’s estate in Bannockburn, which is the largest privately owned single estate in Central Otago. Typically Central Otago in style Rua has a core of juicy black berry fruit, with layers of savoury highlights and a soft but bright finish. Widely regarded as a wonderful value for money offering, this endorsement, which has been judged by ten renowned international judges, cements this status further.
Akarua Winemaker Matt Connell is delighted. “We are focused on providing consistently great wines from our Akarua vineyard, which will introduce wine lovers from all around the world to the delights of Central Otago wines.” Akarua Rua 2010 has also made it on to Decanters World Wine Awards Top 8 Pinot Noir List at number four.
Akarua has enjoyed a string of successes with their 2009 vintage wines; Champion Pinot Noir Trophy at the Royal Easter Show 2011 for Akarua Pinot Noir 2009 and Gold Medals in the Air NZ Wine Awards 2010 and the NZ International Wine Show 2010 for Akarua Reserve Pinot Noir 2009. The team at Akarua is confident of another great year with such a positive first showing for the 2010 vintage.

One of the most prestigious wine shows in the world, the Decanter World Wine Awards 2011 has awarded Akarua's Rua Pinot Noir 2010 a Gold medal.
This is a wonderful achievement for Rua 2010 which was released onto the market only last month. A testament to the winemaking skills of the Akarua team, Rua  spends 10 months maturing in French oak barriques and is made in a typical Central Otago style with a core of juicy black berry fruits and layers of savoury highlights.
Already with a very loyal following, Rua will now be set for further success.

In 2011 the Royal Easter Wine Awards introduced a new category into the competition called “Heritage” that assesses an extra dimension of quality – how well a wine ages.

Entrants in this category were invited to submit three wines based on the following criteria:

White Wines: must include a current vintage, one three years older and a third at least six years older than the current vintage.

Red Wines: must include a current vintage, one four years older and a third at least eight years old.

The Heritage Trophy is awarded to the trio of wines that the judges rate highest as a group.

Akarua was delighted to receive a Highly Commended in this category – the only Pinot Noir Producer to be recognized in the six groups of producers that were Highly Commended and in the running for the overall Heritage Trophy.

It was particularly heartening to read in a judging report from Bob Campbell MW that the Akarua entry (Akarua Pinot Noir 2009, 2006 and 2002) had actually come out as the top red wine in the tasting of red wines entered into the Heritage category.

The Heritage Trophy went to the Hunters Riesling line up, but we feel particularly proud to have come in at second place, and this gives our consumers even more reason to feel confident in knowing that Akarua wines will age and cellar superbly.

Just as the 2011 grape harvest gets underway in Bannockburn Central Otago, Akarua’s winemaker Matt Connell has been celebrating another trophy win.

Akarua Pinot Noir 2009 has been awarded the Royal Easter Show Trophy for Champion Pinot Noir adding to the recent gold medals for Akarua Reserve Pinot Noir 2009 at the Air New Zealand Wine Awards and the New Zealand International Wine Show.

Matt Connell is thrilled with this latest Pinot Noir Trophy, especially as the 2009 vintage is Matt’s first at Akarua.

“It is pretty humbling that out of 21 gold medals to be awarded in the Pinot Noir category that Akarua Pinot Noir 2009 has picked up the overall Champion Pinot Noir Trophy. It is certainly a testament to a combined team effort in the vineyard and in the winery. I am also delighted to have a Highly Commended in the inaugural Heritage category as it demonstrates that consumers can have great confidence that Akarua wines will age and cellar well”.

Akarua Pinot Noir 2009 (RRP$35) typifies what Matt Connell, believes is the amalgamation of a wonderful vintage year, unique vineyard site, climate and soil. It has resulted in a wine with lovely fruit intensity, concentration and balance. Grapes were harvested from the Akarua Estate Vineyard in Bannockburn, where the handpicked fruit is cropped to only two kilograms per vine. In the winery each parcel of grapes is kept in separate cuvées in order to express the characteristics of each vineyard block. The wine then spends 10 months in 30% new French barriques. These components are later blended to make Akarua Pinot Noir and Akarua Reserve Pinot Noir – the two flagship Akarua wines.

The Akarua Pinot Noir style is soft and beguiling with ripe berry fruit flavours, velvety texture and a generous length. “With increasing vineyard maturity our Akarua wines are showing greater and greater complexity and completeness.”

Akarua is Central Otago’s largest family owned single vineyard winery and is committed to sustainability having attained New Zealand Winegrowers Sustainability accreditation for both the winery and vineyard. They are also the first winery in Central Otago to package their wines in lightweight glass.

For more information, please contact Kathryn Pettit (03) 445 0897,

Akarua is delighted with the recent gold medal achievement at the Royal Easter Show for their Akarua Pinot Noir 2009, adding to the recent gold medal awarded to Akarua Reserve Pinot Noir 2009 at the Air NZ wine awards and the NZ International Wines Show.

Akarua Pinot Noir 2009 (RRP$35) typifies what Matt Connell, Akarua Winemaker and General Manager believes is the amalgamation of a wonderful vintage year, unique vineyard site, climate and soil. It has resulted in a wine with wonderful fruit intensity, concentration and balance. Grapes were harvested from the Akarua Estate Vineyard in Bannockburn, where the handpicked fruit is cropped to only 2kg per vine. The wine spends 10 months in 30% new French barriques and demonstrates a style that is soft and beguiling with ripe berry fruit flavours, velvety texture and a generous length of flavour.

Akaura was also one of six wineries to pick up a Highly Commended in the inaugural Heritage Category at the Royal Easter show; each set of wines includes a current vintage with two other older vintage wines three of four years older. This category was presided over by three of Australasia’s foremost wine judges and has been introduced so that wine lovers can assess how their cellared wines might age.  Of the six sets of wines awarded Highly Commended, Akarua was the only one to be awarded for Pinot Noir with their Akarua Pinot Noir 2009, 2006 and 2002 vintages.

Matt Connell is thrilled with these latest accolades, especially as the 2009 vintage is Matt’s first at Akarua. “It is wonderful that out of 21 gold medals to be awarded in the Pinot Noir category that Akarua Pinot Noir 2009 has been recognised. It is a testament to a combined team effort in the vineyard and in the winery. To also receive a Highly Commended in the inaugural Heritage category is particularly pleasing as it demonstrates that consumers can have great confidence that Akarua wines will age and cellar well”.

Akarua is Central Otago’s largest family owned single vineyard and winery and is committed to sustainability having attained New Zealand Winegrowers Sustainability accreditation for both the winery and vineyard and also packaging their wines in lightweight glass making Akarua the first winery in Central Otago to do so.

We caught up with winemaker Matt Connell as he arrived in UK to launch his first four wines from the
2009 vintage at Akarua; Central Otago’s largest family owned, single vineyard and winery. With him was
owner & CEO, David Skeggs, now at the helm of the business which his father established in 1996.

Download full Q & A with Matt Connell & David Skeggs (PDF, 400KB)

Akarua finished up the last of the harvest on Tuesday 30th May, just in time to as the weather has certainly turned in Central Otago with early morning frosts beginning to beccome a regular occurance. Overall the quality of this vintage has been excellent and Matt and his winery team are already excited about the flavours and intensity of the wines. A well earned mini break for the vineyard crew before they gather in all the nets and then get their pruning gear ready for another year.

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