Eliana Leal wins 2023 Central Otago Young Winemaker of the Year

Congratulations to Eliana Leal from Amisfield who is the 2023 Tonnellerie de Mercurey Central Otago Young Winemaker of the Year. Eliana, 29, moved to New Zealand from Argentina in 2018 and discovered her passion for wine when she worked a vintage in Hawke’s Bay. With a background in biotechnology she then undertook a diploma in oenology at EIT. She has now settled in Central Otago and loves her role as lab technician at Amisfield.

Eliana Leal - 2023 Central Otago Young Winemaker of the Year
Eliana Leal – 2023 Central Otago Young Winemaker of the Year

Congratulations also goes to Paiqi Oscar Cau, also from Amisfield, who came second and to Callum Scarborough from Felton Road who came third.

Connor Edwards from Chard Farm and Rachel Tonk from The Bone Line also impressed the judges with their passion and drive for winemaking.

The competition was held on 21st September at VinPro in Cromwell. As the storms howled around outside, everyone was grateful to be warm and dry inside for various challenges the contestants were set. This included laboratory and tasting skills, wine industry knowledge and creating a white wine blend and presenting it to a marketing panel. They also had an interview with industry leaders and gave a speech at the dinner, held at Carrick Estate.

Candice Chau, sommelier and wine writer, was the guest speaker, entertaining the audience with stories from her impressive career and encouraging the young winemakers to back themselves and follow their dreams.

L to R: Paiqi Oscar Cau, Eliana Leal, Callum Scarborough

Section prizes were won by Rachel Tonk who gave the best Fruitfed Supplies speech, Callum Scarborough who won the lunchtime Vin Olympics and Eliana Leal who won the People’s Choice for her elegant white wine blend.

Eliana won $1000 cash, a magnum and an educational trip sponsored by Fruitfed Supplies which will take place early next year. She will now represent Central Otago in the National Final on 31 October at The Bone Line in Waipara, North Canterbury.

There is the opportunity to win even more prizes then. Apart from being crowned the 2023 Tonnellerie de Mercurey NZ Young Winemaker of the Year, the national winner will take home an amazing prize package which includes a visit to the Tonnellerie de Mercurey (cooperage) in Burgundy, be an associate judge in the New World Wine Awards and review wines in DrinksBiz magazine. There is also the opportunity to win the Hillebrand-Gori best presentation.

The competition is made possible by all the generous sponsors. The national sponsors are Tonnellerie de Mercurey, Fruitfed Supplies, Indevin, Hillebrand-Gori, FMG, Laffort, New Zealand Winegrowers, Programmed Property Services, Tira Crown, Visy, New World, Winejobsonline, NZSVO and Pernod Ricard. For more information visit:


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