Congratulations to Katrina Jackson from Chard Farm who became the Corteva Central Otago Young Viticulturist of the Year 2021 on 15 July.
Katrina will now be the fourth woman out of six to compete in the 2021 National Final – a first for the Young Vit competition.
Congratulations also goes to Nina Downer from Felton Road who came second and Annabel Wylie from Grape Vision who came third.
Another first for the Young Vit competition which has been running since 2006, is that seven of the eight contestants in the Central Otago competition were women. This endorses that viticulture is an attractive career for both men and women.
The other contestants were Melissa Sullivan from Rippon; Georgia Mehlhopt and Molly Hermann both from Amisfield; Jack McMonagle from Cloudy Bay and Olivia Williams from Grape Vision.
The competition was held at Otago Polytechnic Central Campus in Cromwell, where the contestants rotated around various challenges such as trellising, pruning, machinery, irrigation, wine analysis and budgeting. A large crowd gathered to watch the Biostart Hortisports race and enjoy a Fruitfed Supplies BBQ. They impressed the judges by stepping out of their comfort zone in some of the challenges, showing real determination and great character.
The Awards Dinner was held at The Cloudy Bay Shed in Northburn where the contestants delivered speeches on how they think their vineyard can reach carbon zero by 2050 – a target the whole New Zealand wine industry is aiming for. The winners were then announced at the end of the evening.
Katrina will go on to represent Central Otago at the National Final in August in Marlborough. She will compete against the winners from Auckland, Hawke’s Bay, Wairarapa, Marlborough and N.Canterbury.
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.