Each week the Marlborough Research Centre (MRC) tasting room fills with 160 to 200 wines as part of nationwide export certification testing.
Carried out by New Zealand Winegrowers under contract to MPI, it is part of the New Zealand Wine Export Certification programme that all exported NZ wine has to go through to make sure it is free from obvious faults.
In a blind tasting, a select panel of winemakers sniff, sip, and spit their way through wines, looking for faults in the wine. Should a wine fail, the wine will automatically be submitted for blind tasting by another panel.
Pearl Jolly is one of the Wine Export Certification Service (WECS) staff who regularly travels to Marlborough to manage the blind tasting. She says the reason it is done at MRC is because of the purpose-built facilities.
“It’s made for tastings. Some wineries are quite small, and we need to be able to efficiently get through a very large number of wines. We do a lot of our tastings here because it is just a great facility.”