Zac Howell Crowned 2023 Marlborough Young Viticulturist

Zac Howell crowned 2023 Marlborough Young Viticulturist of the Year – Congratulations to Zac Howell, from Indevin, who became the Marlborough Young Viticulturist of the Year 2023 following the competition on 6th July.

Zac Howell, Indevin Marlborough Young Viticulturist
Zac Howell, Indevin, Marlborough Young Viticulturist 2023

It was a crisp start to the day at Giesen’s Stump Creek Road Vineyard, but the sun shone brightly throughout the day.  The eight contestants rotated around a wide range of viticultural questions and challenges including pruning, irrigation, trellising, nutrition and an interview.

Congratulations also goes to Laura Hammond from Cloudy Bay who came second and Liv Bishop from Delegat who came third.   The other contestants were Harry Panesar, Aaron Hood, Gordon Browne, Josh Anderson and Henrietta Steele.  They all did themselves proud, getting out of their comfort zone and tackling the various challenges with gusto.

At lunchtime, they went head to head in the BioStart Hortisports race which attracted a large crowd from the local wine industry.   This was followed by a sizzling BBQ lunch from Fruitfed Supplies.

Liv Bishop, Zac Howell & Laura Hammond - Marlborough Young Viticulturist Winners
Liv Bishop, Zac Howell & Laura Hammond – Marlborough Young Viticulturist Winners

The Awards Dinner was held at the Marlborough Convention Centre where the contestants delivered their speeches, covering a wide range of wine industry topics.  There was also a quiz for everyone to take part in.

George Glover was the guest speaker, inspiring the audience with his drive and dedication to destigmatize mental health.  He has been the lead organizer of various events including the Black Dog Swim, Back Yard Cricket and Running 72 which  have raised significant funds for mental health charities as well as helping normalize the conversation around mental health. 

Zac Howell, 28, will represent Marlborough in the National Final in Hawke’s Bay on 30 August.  He will compete against finalists from Auckland, Hawke’s Bay, Marlborough, N.Canterbury and Central Otago. 

There were some great prizes won across the board including a Fruitfed Supplies Educational Trip and AEG power tools for Zac.   Laura won $750 cash and an NZSVO Educational Experience and Liv won $500 cash.   Zac also won the BioStart Hortisports and the Ecotrellis section prizes.  The Ormond Professional Reputation Award went to Josh Anderson.

Zac 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,  Villa Maria-Indevin, Waterforce,  AEG, NZSVO and Winejobsonline.

Visit: for more about the Young Viticulturist Competition

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