Corteva Marlborough Young Viticulturist of the Year Competition

First woman ever to win Corteva Marlborough Young Viticulturist of the Year Competition.

Congratulations to Jessica Wilson from Whitehaven who became the Corteva Marlborough Young Viticulturist of the Year 2021.  The competition was held on 1 July following at Giesen’s Stump Creek Road Vineyard in Renwick.  

Marlborough Young Viticulturist

Congratulations also goes to Jessica Marston from Villa Maria who was Runner Up and Tahryn Mason also from Villa Maria who came third. 

This is the first time in the sixteen years of the Marlborough Young Vit Competition that a woman has taken out the title.  It’s one of the original Young Vit regional competitions and always over subscribed with many young viticulturists applying to enter.

“It’s wonderful to see young women thrive in viticulture” says Nicky Grandorge, National Co-Ordinator of the Young Vit competition and Women in Wine NZ.  “It really highlights what a great career option it is for both men and women.”

The judges commented on the high calibre of all the contestants, impressed with their knowledge, passion and drive.  The other contestants were Daniel Clearwater and Cara Hayes from Constellation Brands, Zac Howell from Rothay Vineyards, Sam Hayman from Giesen and Finn Horsfield from Marisco.

Throughout the day, they were tested on many aspects of vineyard management as well as competing in the Biostart Hortisports race.  This attracted a good crowd who also enjoyed a BBQ provided by Fruitfed Supplies.

Marlborough Young Viticulturist

The eight contestants then gave some very thought provoking speeches to a large audience at the  Awards Dinner in the evening.

Joseph Sullivan, Olympic Gold Medalist and Grinder for Team New Zealand was the guest speaker and captivated the audience with his stories.  He talked about how much passion and hard work goes into becoming a champion and emphasised that although there were eleven of them on the boat in an America’s Cup race, it was very much a team of two hundred.  He likened this to the amount of people involved in making a bottle of wine.  He also encouraged the Young Vits to “throw the ball wide and chase it.”   

Jess Wilson will go on to represent Marlborough at the National Final in August, which will be held at Indevin’s Bankhouse in Marlborough this year on Wednesday 25th August.  She will compete against the winners from Auckland, Hawke’s Bay, Wairarapa, N.Canterbury & Central Otago.

A Vit conference and Field Day will be held on Thursday 26th August visiting vineyard trials and looking at innovations for the future.  This will be followed by the Awards Dinner where the national winner of the 2021 Corteva Young Viticulturist of the Year Competition will be announced.

There are some amazing prizes to be won at the National Final.  These include a Hyundai Kona for a year, an Ecotrellis travel grant, an educational visit to Australia with Corteva, Bahco golden secateurs and other cash prizes.  The winner will also go on to represent the wine industry in the Young Horticulturist of the Year competition in November.

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