The countdown to the 2023 Young Viticulturist of the Year National Final is on. Five finalists from around the country will take part in this prestigious competition on Wednesday 30th August 2023 at Paritua Vineyards in Hawke’s Bay. They will deliver their speeches at the Awards Dinner the following evening, 31st August, when the overall winner will be announced.
The national finalists are: Tai Nelson, Soljans Estate, Auckland; Nick Putt, Craggy Range, Hawke’s Bay; Zac Howell, Indevin, Marlborough; Tristan van Schalkwyk, The Bone Line, North Canterbury, Waipara and Nina Downer, Felton Road, Central Otago.
Throughout the day they will be tested on everything a viticulturist needs to know to run a successful vineyard. Being the national final there will of course be a few curve balls thrown in as well as the popular BioStart Hortisports race at lunchtime and the infamous Fruitfed Supplies BBQ.
The finalists have been working hard over the last few weeks on their research report. This year they had to consider options for establishing and managing a vineyard which in 2050 would still be running successfully with its quality wines being exported to the UK market.
Winning the coveted title of New Zealand Young Viticulturist of the Year is a goal many young vits set themselves. It’s a tough competition, so to win is no easy feat and the rewards are high. Taking out the title can catapult the winner’s career. They also win an amazing prize package of a Hyundai Kona for a year, an Ecotrellis Travel Grant, a Fruitfed Supplies educational trip, Electrocoup secateurs, a leadership week and cash. This year’s winner will also go on to represent the wine industry in next year’s Young Horticulturist of the Year competition.
Also linked to the competition this year is a viti conference and field trip entitled Weather – the good, the bad and the ugly. The morning will be spent at Linden Estate in Esk Valley, where they are working hard to recover from the devastating effects of Cyclone Gabrielle. Andrew Lorrey from NIWA will open the conference and there will also be presentations on riparian planting to mitigate flooding as well as how we can use weather to our advantage through regenerative energy. The day will finish in Gimblett Gravels looking at recent vineyard trials along with a wine tasting to mark Hawke’s Bay’s recent accolade of becoming a Great Wine Capital of the World.