Hundreds of wines tasted, tested to find best bottle at New World Wine Awards

A swirl, a sniff, a sip and finally a spit. It might seem like an arduous way to drink a glass of wine but that is how you judge the New World Wine Awards.

More than 1200 local and international wines have been entered in the 2020 awards which will find the tastiest tipples of them all.

"We have got that little incentive to find the best, and we do find the best," says winemaker and senior judge James Rowan.

The competition is a little different this year due to COVID-19. Judging was split across Hawke's Bay, Marlborough and Central Otago and the top picks from the regions went through a final test in Auckland.

Hundreds of wineries put forward their finest drops despite hurdles caused by the global pandemic and judges say the quality has not been marred.

"The wineries have done an amazing job of getting the crop in and the crop quality has been extraordinary," chair of judges Jim Harre tells Newshub.

The wine being judged is all under $25 a bottle with the top 50 earning a gold medal.

"To be a gold medal it has to be a level above - it has to be the sort of wine that is way out of the ordinary. It's the stuff that you go 'wow that is really nice'," Harre says.

So how do the experts judge one glass from another?

"It's a bit like when you're making a cup of coffee - sometimes you want it milky, sometimes you want it bitter, sometimes you want it a bit sweeter but you know that point of balance when you've got it and that's how we look at wine," Rowan says.

If you want to get your hands on a newly-minted gold bottle of wine the full results will be announced later this year.