Redwood Cellars Awards are Bearing Fruit!

CIDER HOUSE RULES: Redwood Cellars cider-maker Merophy Hyslop with two of their recent winners. Photo by: Patrick Hamilton

New Zealand is one of the leading fruit wine and cider producing countries. Winemakers and cider makers in the country know what quality fruit wine is all about. In a country with many fruit wineries, competition will force up quality standards in the industry. That is great news for fruit wine and cider lovers every where.

The following article written by Peter Watson of Nelson Mail explains one winery’s fast growth due to its fast growing list of awards.

Redwood Cellars has topped off a stellar 12 months by being named most successful professional producer at the recent Australian Fruit Wine Show after winning a swag of medals.

The company, which in October was voted Nelson Tasman Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year, won six silver and seven bronze medals at the 2011 show for its range of fruit wines and ciders, including winning best sparkling wine for its feijoa.

Sales manager Shane Topp said it was an impressive performance, given the company only decided to enter the show for the first time at the last minute, to boost its profile in Australia, its most important and fastest growing export market.

“Fruit wine is a niche market, and obviously to get feedback like that definitely shows we produce very high quality products here in Nelson.”

It also followed success at last year’s New Zealand fruit wine and cider awards, where “we pretty much cleaned up there as well”.

Mr Topp said demand for Redwood Cellars’ products was soaring, with its cider production expected to treble during the next year as exports to Australia grew.

Currently the company exports about 10 per cent of its production, with the rest sold domestically.

To cope with the demand, the company has embarked on a $2 million plus expansion of its existing premises on the Moutere Highway, which involves upgrading its production, laboratory and office facilities and tank capacity and shifting its cellar door to another location.

Mr Topp said while construction was under way, there had been a “hiccup” in its search for new cellar-door facilities, with tour-bus operators not happy with options that would see them having to bus customers on wine tours too far up the Upper Moutere Valley.

Negotiations were continuing and he was hopeful a satisfactory site could be found within the next three months.

Meanwhile, the company was finding some fruit in short supply for its wines, which might mean it would have to go outside Nelson to source some of it, he said.

It had been a bad season for boysenberries, although their quality was fine, pears were in short supply and there were only just enough feijoas.

“We are starting to have to look at new recipes that include concentrates, which is not ideal, because we have always preferred to deal with fresh fruit.”

In another move, the company has revamped the packaging of its Old Mout range, giving what it says is a new look reminiscent of its home-grown `indie’ cider background.

Produced by Redwood Cellars in Nelson since 1947, Old Mout ciders won seven medals at the Indy International Wine Competition held in the United States, and almost all their products won medals at the New Zealand Fruit Winemakers Association’s national awards.

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