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Judges' Résumés 2011 SIWC

Warren Gibson (NZ)


Executive Winemaker, Trinity Hill, Hawkes Bay, NZ
Proprietor, Bilancia/La Collina. Hawkes Bay, NZ

Warren Gibson, (a proud enough Kiwi to still outwardly follow the NZ cricket team!) was educated at
Massey University, New Zealand, and at Roseworthy College, South Australia. He began his winemaking career in New Zealand in 1987, subsequently travelling the world as a Flying Winemaker, including vintages in Australia, Italy, Hungary, France and California. This adds to a total of 30 vintages across 10 international wine regions

Warren recently completed his 14th vintage at Trinity Hill Winery in Hawkes Bay. His current role is as Executive Winemaker, along with control over the viticultural team and vineyards. Trinity Hill is consistently voted one of NZ’s top ten wineries producing many great wines crossing over a range of international wine styles as is possible in Hawkes Bay’s complex climate and soil mix. Recent projects include collaboration with Sancerre producer, Pascal Jolivet. Now, after shared vintages between the two companies’ winemakers, a Kiwi Sauvignon with a French twist called Metis is being produced.

Simultaneously, in 1997 with partner Lorraine Leheny, who is also a winemaker as well as one of Australia’s first female brewers, they established their own brand, Bilancia. Bilancia translates to balance and equilibrium and also to the star sign Libra, which Lorraine and Warren were both born under. The brand includes their super star “la Collina”, a Syrah Viognier now in its 10th vintage. The material for “la Collina”, which in Italian means “the little hill”, is grown on the steep slopes of Roy’s Hill, near Hastings. The 2008 vintage commences the first release of a Viognier inspired “la collina” white wine from the same vineyard. Small parcels of high quality varietal material are also sourced from local growers. Their Bilancia Pinot Gris is also accorded star status.  Both wines are scarce, collector’s wines, only produced in small quantities.

In 2005, Warren was named “New Zealand Winemaker of the Year” that status afforded him by “Winestate”, a specialist Australasian wine magazine. The following year, in 2006 he was declared “Winemaker of the Year“ at the Mercedes Benz Hawkes Bay Wine Show.

Currently, his major ambitions include trying to be competitive in all departments with his 12 year old son, Jakob, and daughter Grace (9), and being a better golfer at 45 than he once was at 25. Or, at least, finding the time to try!.

Since 1998, Warren has been a regular judge at all of his country's major wine shows including being a regular “Cuisine” magazine panellist. He was an international guest judge of the National Wine Show of Australia (Canberra) in 2010. This will be his third appearance on the Sydney International’s Panel

See Warren’s Reflections on his first exposure to the Sydney International’s system of judging.

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