Regional winners go head to head in national Young Viticulturist competition· Press Releases
Aug 13th, 2012 | By Jayson Bryant | Category: Press Releases
Regional winners go head to head in national Young Viticulturist competition
The country’s best and brightest young viticulturists will go head to head shortly in the national Markhams Young Viticulturist of the Year competition being held in Marlborough on 22 August as part of the Romeo Bragato conference.
The five finalists representing Hawke’s Bay, Wairarapa, Nelson, Marlborough and Central Otago are busy swatting up their theory and practicing their skills in anticipation of the two day competition which will see them pitted against each other in a range of practical and technical tasks.
The quintet will be tested on a variety of topics such as budgeting, irrigation, pest control and machinery knowledge, and will also compete in a timed activity ‘horti- sports’ contest, competing against each other and the clock. The following evening at the Romeo Bragato conference dinner, the contestants will make their final bid to become the Markhams Young Viticulturist of the Year, by impressing the judges in a speech competition.
The finalists vying for the trophy come from the major wine-growing districts of New Zealand. Johnny La Trobe from Sacred Hill (27), took out the Hawke’s Bay competition against six other local wine industry hopefuls. To gain the honours this year, Mr La Trobe won the Harvest Hawke’s Bay yield and Bahco pruning section; the Ecotrellis trellising section; the Agtech machinery section and also ‘out-ate’ his rivals in the ‘weetbix in a minute’ competition.
For the second year in a row, Wairarapa winemaker Braden Crosby has secured a place in the final of the competition. Mr Crosby (30), works at Borthwick Estate as winemaker and is currently completing his degree in Wine Science.
Further south, Daniel Manuge from Sea Level Wines will represent Nelson in the final. Mr Manuge (25), competed in the Marlborough regional competition, winning the Certificate for Best Practical Competitor, an impressive result considering his entry was only confirmed a day before the competition.
Treasury Wine Estates’ viticulturist Matthew Duggan (26), took first place honours at the Marlborough competition, winning the Plant ID and Pest and Disease sections, industry panel interview, Pruning and the Best Speech. His depth of skills saw him take out the overall Certificate for Best Theory Competitor on his way to winning the Marlborough title outright
For Kawarau Estate’s David Salmon (30), who won the Central Otago competition on his fourth attempt, representing the region in the national final has been a long held ambition. “I’m over the moon,” he says. “This was my last attempt as I’ll be too old for the competition next year. I’ve fought hard and it’s been my dream to represent Central Otago at the nationals.”
The finalists will compete for a total prize package valued at over $10,000. The winner will represent viticulture at the Young Horticulturist of the Year competition against other grower sectors in November.
A number of sponsors have been involved since the competition’s inception in 2006, and are pleased to be involved with an event that has grown in status and is viewed by many as the leading accomplishment for young viticulturists to win.