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Double Honour For Vineyard Manager

22 November 2006

Double Honour For Vineyard Manager

Double award winner Marcus Wickham outside the Waipara Hills Winery and Restaurant on SH1, Waipara.

Hard on the heels of becoming the country’s first young viticulturist of the year, Marlborough’s Marcus Wickham has won the supreme title in the horticulture industry to cap a rare double honour. Marcus, the national vineyard manager for Waipara Hills Wine Estate Limited, won the HortFertplus Young Horticulturist of the Year title and over $20,000 in prizes at the final competition at Auckland last week.

He also won the national Young Viticulturist of the Year inaugural award at the Bragato Wine Awards in Queenstown last month. He said he was “as stunned as anyone could be” to win two national awards within a few weeks of each other.

“Both the events were long and demanding, with lots of practical tests, interviews and speeches that were quite nerve-wracking. “Looking back on it all, the whole process has been really good fun and I would encourage others to give it a go.” After completing a post-graduate diploma in viticulture at Lincoln University, 27-year-old Marcus joined NZ Vineyard Estates of Blenheim in 2002.

Since NZVE and Waipara Hills merged earlier this year and then acquired Mud House Wines, he is now responsible for over 400 hectares of grapes grown in Marlborough, North Canterbury and Central Otago, plus contract growers in Marlborough. “It’s a big challenge to manage vineyards in three regions with widely different growing conditions, but that is part and parcel of being able to produce good wines for local and export markets,” he said.

“Each region is a substantial business in its own right, so teamwork between all our vineyard, winemaking and sales staff is vitally important.

“Across all the operations there is a shared commitment to productivity, product quality and profitability.” Marcus said he plans to use part of his winnings, an $8,000 travel prize, to visit South America and further his horticulture and viticulture knowledge.


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