Wine judges are tasting their way through almost 1600 entries in the Air New Zealand Wine Awards in Auckland.
Sommeliers Australia president Ben Edwards says they are into day two of three, with five panels tackling the entries.
From this year, wines grown and entered from the 2010 vintage onwards must be recognised as being 100% sustainably produced.
Under the new criteria, in the number of sustainable entries has jumped from 261 last year to 621.
Mr Edwards says this is definitely an area where New Zealand is miles ahead of the rest of the world.
Medal-winning wines will be announced on 10 November and the Trophy, Elite Gold and Pure Elite Gold winners revealed at a gala dinner on 20 November.