Congratulations to Tristan Van Schalkwyk from The Bone Line in Waipara who became the North Canterbury Young Viticulturist of the Year 2023. The South Island Regional competition is open to contestants from Nelson, Waitaki and N. Canterbury. There was no competition last year, so Tristan was back to defend the title, having also won it in 2021. Since winning two years ago, Tristan’s career has progressed significantly and he is now Vineyard Manager at The Bone Line.
Congratulations also goes to Nick McArthur from Tiki Wines who came second and Georgia Mehlhopt from Greystone who came third. The other contestants were Mick Boon, Petra Henry, Cole Hughes and Lucy Gardiner.
This was the first time most of the contestants had competed in the competition and they thoroughly enjoyed the experience and look forward to coming back to compete again next year. The competition was held on 20 July at Greystone in Waipara. Despite the weather deteriorating late morning, nobody was deterred and judges were impressed with how the contestants continued to give it their all, smiling through the wind and rain.
“Their positive, professional attitude is an asset to them and will take them far.” says Nicky Grandorge, Leadership & Communities Manager at New Zealand Winegrowers. The support of the sponsors, judges and regional organisers was also hugely appreciated as they encouraged the contestants and kept everything on track despite the weather. “It really highlighted the strong community spirit which makes Young Vit so special.”
Fruitfed Supplies provided some very welcome hot soup at lunchtime, along with a delicious BBQ. The contestants then went head to head in the BioStart Hortisports race and also had a quick fire quiz.
The Awards Dinner was held in the Greystone Restaurant where the contestants delivered their speeches and local wine industry members enjoyed an exquisite meal along with premium North Canterbury wines.
Tristan, 23, will represent North Canterbury in the National Final in Hawke’s Bay on 30 August. He will compete against finalists from Auckland, Hawke’s Bay, Marlborough and Central Otago.
There were some great prizes won across the board including a Fruitfed Supplies Educational Trip and AEG power tools for Tristan. Nick McArthur won $750 cash and an NZSVO Educational Trip and Georgia Mehlhopt won $500 cash. Tristan also won the Ecotrellis trellising section and Georgia won the BioStart Hortisports. The Ormond Professional Reputation Award went to Petra Henry.
Tristan 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, a Leadership Week, Electrocoup electronic secateurs and AEG power tools and cash.
The competition is made possible thanks to all the sponsors involved: BioStart, Ecotrellis, Hyundai, Agritrade, Constellation Brands, Empak, Fruitfed Supplies, Fendt, Klima, Ormond Nurseries, Roots, Shoots & Fruits, Indevin, Waterforce, AEG, NZSVO and Winejobsonline.