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April 16, 2024

Hawke’s Bay Announced as the 12th Great Wine Capital of the World


Last year, New Zealand’s oldest wine growing region, Hawke’s Bay, was named as the 12th Great Wine Capital of the World. Thanks to its unique selection of soils and microclimates, the Hawke’s Bay region is known for producing excellent wines from a wide range of varietals, including Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris.

The accolade reflects the quality of the wine at Hawke’s Bay and the experience on offer to visitors, whether that be long vineyard lunches, soaking up live music at events like our Church Road Live Summer Sessions or transport options like the Hawke’s Bay Cycle Trail.

Tony Robb, our New Zealand Operations Director commented on the announcement, saying “Hawke’s Bay has been regarded as one of the premier wine growing regions in New Zealand, and indeed the world, for many years and today’s recognition, as one of the Great Wine Capitals of the World, demonstrates this.”

“As winemakers we are very lucky to live and work in Hawke’s Bay. Here at Church Road, 126 years of heritage has given us an enviable understanding of a region that is blessed with a combination of soils and climate that are perfect for high quality winegrowing.” – Chris Scott, Chief Winemaker for Church Road.

With the addition of Hawke’s Bay, we now have six wineries listed within a Great Wine Capital:

  • Hawkes Bay – Church Road
  • South Australia – Jacob’s Creek and St Hugo
  • Rioja – Campo Viejo and Ysios
  • Napa Valley – Mumm Napa


About Great Wine Capitals

Established in Bordeaux in 1999, the Great Wine Capital Global Network aims to sustain the health and prosperity of wine-related industries and communities by encouraging collaboration between the Member Capitals on a wide range of projects, such as tourism and wine education.

The Great Wine Capitals Global Network has 12 Member Capitals, including some of the most renowned winegrowing regions from both the old and new world wine regions, such as Rioja, Napa Valley, Adelaide, Casablanca Valley and Bordeaux.

Hawke’s Bay Tourism, on behalf of Hawke’s Bay Wine Growers, Hastings District Council, Napier City Council, Hawke’s Bay Airport and and EIT/Te Pūkenga, made an application to the Great Wine Capitals Network, outlining the benefits that Hawke’s Bay could bring to the other Member Capitals.

The stringent selection process also looked at the region’s winegrowing industry, its history, wine tourism, educational, business, and travel opportunities, as well as the cities and region itself.



“The significance of being named a Great Wine Capital of the world is a remarkable milestone for the region. Hawke’s Bay’s inclusion as one of just 12 Great Wine Capitals of the world is recognition that our wines are among the world’s best, and that our nation’s wine growing industry, while still young, offers quality to rival the world’s oldest.”

– Hamish Saxton, Hawke’s Bay Tourism CE

“To be a member of the Great Wine Capitals Global Network requires a Capital to possess something truly ‘great’. Above average. Excellent in a global context. We are thrilled to welcome Hawke’s Bay and the twin cities of Napier and Hastings to our esteemed network. The quality of the wines from this region, their international recognition and unwavering commitment to excellence in grape and wine production, sustainable tourism and education was evident and saw them unanimously voted in by our existing 11 network members.”

– Jo Collins, President of the Adelaide, South Australia Great Wine Capitals Steering Committee



April 15, 2024

Church Road Unveils 2023 Prestige Collection with the Exciting Launch of the Church Road Art Initiative


Discover the Harmony of Art and Wine in Hawke’s Bay

To celebrate the launch of the Church Road 2023 Prestige Collection, we are proud to introduce the Church Road Art Initiative, a multiyear partnership with MTG Hawke’s Bay. This initiative is designed to support the career of a local emerging or mid-career New Zealand artist while enriching the cultural tapestry of our region.

Elevating Artistry

Each year, the Church Road Art Initiative recognises and empowers a talented artist from New Zealand. The recipient not only gets the privilege of having their artwork displayed in the prestigious MTG Hawke’s Bay art gallery as part of its permanent collection, but also earns a spot in the panel discussion line up at Semi Permanent Aotearoa, the renowned creativity and design festival held in Wellington. During the festival, the artist takes centre stage to share their creative journey and artistic process.

A Blend of Art and Winemaking

Just as an artist’s process draws on creative expression, instinct, science and materiality, so too does Church Road’s winemaking. Chief Winemaker Chris Scott puts it best: “We approach winemaking as equal parts science and art, requiring a detailed knowledge of the process and ingredients in addition to a creative approach that allows us to deliver something special.”

The Jury’s Verdict

The recipient of the Church Road Art Initiative was selected through a rigorous and collaborative judging process. Chris Scott, Chief Winemaker, joined forces with Toni MacKinnon, MTG Hawke’s Bay Curator, and Becky Hemus, Editor-in-Chief of New Zealand’s The Art Paper magazine, to make the decision. It was a round-table jury process that ensured a deserving artist was chosen who will leave their mark on the art world.

A Vision of Collaboration

Toni MacKinnon from MTG Hawke’s Bay shares the excitement: “MTG Hawkes Bay is totally thrilled to be partnering with Church Road on this exciting initiative. It is a great opportunity to propel the career of a young New Zealand artist and to continue building the Hawke’s Bay Museums Trust collection held on behalf of the region.”

Introducing our Inaugural Winner, Reece King

We are proud to announce the acclaimed Tāmaki Makaurau-based painter, Reece King, as the inaugural recipient of the Church Road Art Initiative. King’s paintings are well regarded for their restless energy and King was chosen for his sense of initiative and enthusiasm for his preferred medium.

King was born in Tāmaki Makaurau in 1989 and grew up at Te Henga on the West Coast. In 2020, King was part of the group that founded Auckland ‘painter-run’ space, Sanc. He completed a Masters in Painting at Unitec in 2021. His work is held in private and public collections around Aotearoa and Australia, including the Toi o Tāmaki Auckland Art Gallery collection. In 2021 he was awarded the KareKare house residency and in 2020 was the New Zealand Painting and Printmaking Award winner.

“There are so many phenomenal artists around Aotearoa at the moment, so I am honoured to have been selected as the recipient of this inaugural prize. I wish to thank Church Road for purchasing and donating my painting to the Hawke’s Bay Museums Trust; I think it’s a goodie and I’m so glad it’s going to a public collection where locals can enjoy it for years to come.”

– Reece King

Festival of Creativity and Design

To celebrate the launch of the Church Road Art Initiative, Reece King joined by Chris Scott, took part in a panel discussion at Semi Permanent Aotearoa festival. The discussion, hosted by Becky Hemus, centred around the creative process and parallels between art and wine making.


Pictured Left: Hemus, King & Scott – Panel Discussion, Semi Permanent Aotearoa

A Vintage of Excellence

As we celebrate art and culture, we also present our exceptional wines. This year’s Church Road Collection features two outstanding wines from the prestigious TOM range, born from the finest vintages: Church Road TOM Syrah 2021 and TOM Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2020. Alongside these, we showcase the unique terroir of our finest vineyards with the Church Road 1 Single Vineyard collection, including the Single Vineyard Gimblett Gravels Cabernet Sauvignon 2021 and the Single Vineyard Chardonnay 2022.

Chris Scott shares his enthusiasm for these remarkable wines: “These wines are the culmination of vintage, environment, and the collective skill and knowledge of 126 years of winemaking at Church Road. We are particularly excited to release our TOM range, which hails from two of the most exceptional red vintages I have ever worked on. Coupled with the continued refinement of our winegrowing and winemaking, these are, I believe, the best wines we have ever made. And to mark this achievement, the TOM Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot will be offered in both 750ml and Magnum format, presenting a unique opportunity for collectors.”


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