Congratulations to Tai Nelson, Vineyard Manager at Soljan’s Estate, who took out the title of Auckland/Northern Corteva Young Viticulturist of the Year 2022.
The first of the 2022 Young Vit regional finals was held at Goldie Estate on Waiheke on Thursday 9th June where contestants from West Auckland, Waiheke and Matakana competed for the title.
Congratulations also goes to Dominic Bolton from Kumeu River Estate who came second and also Nicole Reynolds from Te Motu Estate on Waiheke, who came third. The other contestants, Leon Henson an independent viticultural consultant and Josh Kingston also did themselves proud.
“They all gave it their absolute all, tackling everything with a positive attitude and seeing it as a great opportunity to learn. There was a really upbeat atmosphere from start to finish with strong support from sponsors and industry members.” says Nicky Grandorge, Leadership & Communities Manager at NZ Winegrowers. “This is what Young Vit is all about – it’s fantastic”.
The contestants were tested on a wide range of viticultural skills including pruning, budgeting, biosecurity and public speaking. The challenging BioStart Hortisports was held at lunchtime followed by the Fruitfed Supplies BBQ and a quiz. The contestants delivered their speeches at the Awards Dinner held at Wild Estate and captivated their audience as they spoke about how climate change, tourism and soaring costs were affecting the Northern wine growing regions.
Adam Yukich, Chair of the Auckland/Northern regional competition, also gave a speech on behalf of his father Fabian Yukich, Deputy Chair of the NZ Wine Growers. He touched on the courage and passion of our original pioneering families and how these values are passing on to our future generations.
Tai, aged 23, will represent Auckland in the National Final being held in Marlborough at the end of August. He will compete against other contestants from around the country, whose regional finals are being held over the coming weeks.
There were some great prizes won across the board last week and Tai will now be in with the chance of winning even greater prizes 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, AEG power tools and cash.
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.