Judges for New World Wine Awards reveal what to look for when choosing wine this season

If you're a bit of a wine rookie - you enjoy drinking it immensely, but know very little about the technicalities - it can be tough to choose a bottle from the masses on the shelf at the supermarket.

This is for good reason: In New Zealand, we have access to a lot of incredible different wines, many at under $25 a pop. 

The selection can be both wonderful and overwhelming, and means sometimes it's best to leave it to the experts. I personally make my choice depending on which bottles have those bronze, silver or gold stickers on them. 

So to learn a little more about which wines we should be choosing off supermarket shelves this season, I went directly to the experts in the midst of their annual judging at the New World Wine Awards last week.

Over three days an independent panel poured over 1100 wine entries, swirling, sniffing and sipping to whittle down to the Top 50, which will be available in-store for $25 or less. 

So which were the standout styles this year we should be looking for in the coming months? 

Unless you've been living under a rock you'll know previous springs and summers have been marked by a national love of rosé, and judging co-chair Sam Kim says this year will be no different. 

"The quality has been exceptional. The really exciting style coming through this year, and over the last few years actually, has been the rosé - it's been such a popular style and this year we've seen so many delicious examples," he told Newshub. 

Sam Kim, judging co-chair.
Sam Kim, judging co-chair. Photo credit: Supplied.

And if you're a red drinker, you're also in luck. 

"Another really exciting one is pinot noir, it used to be an expensive drink. Now we're seeing so many excellent wines under $25 and I think consumers are going to love them." 

Meanwhile, fellow co-chair Jen Parr says it's going to be a great season of celebration. 

"I had the great pleasure of judging a few of the Italian sparkling varieties, most would be something you'd know as prosecco," she explained. 

"They were stunning! Some really interesting examples different from each other came through. 

"So I would say this summer go straight for Italian sparkling… Go to your local [store], get a couple of different bottles, take them home and you'll be feeling like you're on the banks of the Italian Riviera." 

Jen Parr, judging co-chair.
Jen Parr, judging co-chair. Photo credit: Supplied.

While other awards might be focused on all the technical elements, the number one priority for these awards is what the average Kiwi wine lover will enjoy. 

"When we're tasting wine we're looking for classic things: typicity of that grape, texture, flavour...but most of all we look for aesthetic pleasure. Do you enjoy sipping that wine?" Parr explained

"We want to make sure the customers take our advice, take that wine home and have it put a smile on their face." 

Kim agrees. 

"The things we look for in judging - first of all - deliciousness! It's got to taste good, right? Yes, we look for contraction, balance and structure, and all of those things, but [mostly] we look for pleasure.

"We look for attractive wines that people are going to say 'yum, this is great' - that's what I look for in judging. Finding those lovely gems!" 

And if you're a teetotaller, pregnant or just trying to lower your booze intake, great news - zero percent wines made their debut in judging this year. 

 "The zero alcohol category is a relatively new and developing one in the wine industry," said Kim. 

"We felt it was important to give these wines some additional attention in the hope that we can help consumers find wine options that will best suit their needs."