Peter Russell wins Marlborough Young Winemaker Competition

Peter Russell wins Tonnellerie de Mercurey Marlborough Young Winemaker regional competition

Congratulations to Peter Russell from Matua who came first in the 2020 Tonnellerie de Mercurey Marlborough Young Winemaker competition held at NMIT in Blenheim on 16 September.

Peter Russell from Matua

Peter Russell from Matua

Peter has competed in the competition the last couple of years, continuing to stretch himself so he could finally take out the title.  He is thrilled and now really looking forward to the national final being held in Hawke’ Bay in November. 

“We love to see this drive and passion in the contestants who are the future leaders of the wine industry” says Nicky Grandorge, Leadership & Communities Manager at NZ Winegrowers.  “It’s great that these young winemakers come back each year to pitch themselves against their peers and start making a name for themselves.”

Congratulations also goes to Callum Haynes also from Matua who came second and to Emma Marris from Marisco who came third.

The other contestants were Kathleen Zelter from Constellation Brands, Sophie Lamain from Giesen, Tom Flaherty from Isabel, Sophia Phillips from VinLink and Alun Kilby from Marisco.  Alun was also awarded a prize for the best speech tackling a thought provoking topic on whether wine diamonds could become a new trend.

Due to Covid Level 2 restrictions the competition was run behind closed doors with no dinner this year.  For the very first time the speeches were therefore streamed live from the Bragato Research Institute via Zoom at lunchtime.  Many people tuned in to watch and then tuned back in at the end of the day to see the winners being announced.

The judges were impressed by the calibre of all the contestants and were excited to see such passionate young winemakers emerging to continue growing the New Zealand wine industry in the future.

The competition is made possible by all the generous sponsors, who are appreciated more than ever in this challenging year.  The national sponsors are Tonnellerie de Mercurey, Crown Sheet Metal, Farmlands, Guala Enclosures, Laffort, O-I Glass, Programmed Property Services, Winejobsonline and New World.

Apart from being crowned the 2020 Tonnellerie de Mercurey NZ Young Winemaker of the Year, the national winner will take home an amazing prize package which includes a travel grant to visit the cooperage (tonnellerie) in Burgundy, be an associate judge in the New World Wine Awards and review wines in DrinksBiz magazine.

The national final is being held at EIT in Hawke’s Bay on 6th November.

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