Nina Downer from Felton Road became the 2022 Central Otago Corteva Young Viticulturist of the Year on 21 July. The competition was held at Otago Polytechnic’s Central Campus in Bannockburn, where eight ambitious Young Vits from around the region, battled it out in the chilly vineyard.
Congratulations also goes to Maia Wylie from Two Paddocks for coming second and Dylan Crawford also from Two Paddocks for coming third. The other contestants were Charlotte Ross from Burn Cottage, Hannah Chamberlain from Carrick Winery, Leah Purchase from Hawkesbury Estate, Olivia Williams from Prophet’s Rock and Callum Scarborough from Felton Road.
They all impressed the judges throughout the day and especially with their speeches delivered at the dinner at Carrick Estate. Their topic was to describe their future vineyard in Central Otago and there were some very creative and thought-provoking ideas including robotics, undervine plantings of thyme, remote managing via a game consul and spas and saunas for staff wellbeing.
The BioStart Hortisports attracted a large crowd who also enjoyed a delicious BBQ provided by Fruitfed Supplies.
Nina won $1000 cash, an educational trip with Corteva and an AEG chainsaw. She will head to the national final in Marlborough at the end of August to represent Central Otago. There is an even bigger prize package to won there. This includes a Hyundai Kona for a year, an Ecotrellis travel grant, an educational visit to Australia with Corteva, Bahco electronic and golden secateurs, AEG power tools and cash.
Maia Wylie will join the other runners up from around the country at the national final as part of an educational trip provided by NZSVO.
The competition is made possible thanks to all the sponsors involved: Corteva Agriscience, BioStart, Ecotrellis, Hyundai, Constellation Brands, Empak, Fruitfed Supplies, Fendt, Ormond Nurseries, Roots, Shoots & Fruits, Klima, Waterforce, Villa Maria-Indevin, Bahco, AEG, NZSVO and Winejobsonline.