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Hawkes Bay imposes strict award rules

Published:  23 July, 2008

New rules imposed to ensure New Zealand's Hawkes Bay Wine Awards are squeaky clean.

The stricter rules are in response to a scandal last year involving Marlborough's Wither Hill Sauvignon Blanc.

Although it scored highly in a Cuisine Magazine tasting, the wine that went on sale to the public, bearing identical labels, was found to be very different.

To avoid any similar scandal, the A&P Hawkes Bay Awards will introduce random audits to ensure that all entries comply fully with the regulations. This will include checking winery records.

The rules also ban three winemakers - Tony Bish for Sacred Hill, Peter Cowley from Te Mata Estate and Rod McDonald, former Vidals.

The winemakers are members of the judging panel.

Under the old rules they could have judged their own wines - tasting blind.

The 2007 Hawke's Bay Show will be held at the society's showground's on the 17th-19th October.