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Bayer Hawke’s Bay Young Viticulturist of the Year 2017

Congratulations to Anton Luiten from Selaks, Constellation who became the Bayer Hawke’s Bay Young Viticulturist of the Year 2017 on Thursday 22 June.

Luiten has been runner up the last two years in Hawke’s Bay so was thrilled to finally win the competition and take out the title. Each year gives the contestants more experience and confidence so they are determined to return and win the following year.

Congratulations also goes to Ben Richards from Indevin who came second and to Chris Borain from Villa Maria who came third. This was the first time these two Young Vits have entered the competition.

The other contestants were Imogen Bell-Butler, from Constellation, Jascha Oldham-Selak from Te Mata, Jono Hunt from Delegats and Ash Hallam from Askerne.

The top three winners won cash prizes and wine glasses. Luiten gets expenses paid to the final as well as entry to the important wine industry Romeo Bragato Conference.

The Bayer Young Viticulturist of the Year Competition is about growing the future of the New Zealand wine industry by helping to develop and nurture potential viticultural leaders. Despite being a challenging day yesterday, it was also fun and the contestants’ determination and focus on achieving their absolute best was pretty evident, as was the camaraderie that grew between them.

The rain held off at Te Awa and the day involved a mix of theoretical and practical activities including machinery, irrigation, trellising and pruning, as well as questions on budgeting, pests and diseases and a nursery segment. The contestants also had an interview to discuss their personal goals and visions for the future of the NZ wine industry.

The BioStart Hortisports race attracted a good crowd as contestants went head to head completing various challenges which involved reversing a quad bike, pruning, packing up bird netting and filleting a pheasant. Fruitfed Supplies provided a delicious BBQ lunch for everyone.

In the evening contestants had a blind tasting upon arrival, then underwent a quick fire buzzer round and delivered some fascinating speeches to the audience of around one hundred members of the Hawke’s Bay wine industry.

Erica Crawford from Loveblock was the keynote speaker. She has a huge passion and enthusiasm for the NZ wine industry and talked about some of the interesting and exciting changes over the years.

Hawke’s Bay was the first of the regional competitions to be held this year, with Auckland, Marlborough, Central Otago and Wairarapa all to hold their competitions over the next 4 weeks.

The National Final where all the regional winners will compete for the overall title of Bayer Young Viticulturist of the Year 2017 takes place on 29th August in conjunction with Bragato being held in Marlborough this year.

The national winner not only gains the title, but an amazing prize package of $2000 cash, a $5000 AGMARDT travel scholarship, a Hyundai Santa Fe for an entire year, wine glasses and a leadership week where they meet some of the top leaders in the New Zealand wine industry. They also go on to represent viticulture in the Young Horticulturist of the Year Competition.


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