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Wairarapa man wins national Young Viticulture competition

24 August 2012

Wairarapa man wins national Young Viticulture competition

For the first time in the competition’s seven year history, a Wairarapa viticulturist has been named the 2012 Markhams Young Viticulturist of the Year.

Braden Crosby (30) from Borthwick Estate in Carterton took the title at the competition, which was held over two days as part of the Romeo Bragato conference.

It was the second time Mr Crosby had secured a place in the final. He took the honours this year by outscoring the other finalists in five of the competition’s eight sections. He won the Spray Diary, Budgeting, Wiring and Quick Fire Quiz sections, and also took out the First Aid round, which saw competitors rescuing a pruner who had chopped off his finger. Judges from St John’s commented that “Braden kept a cool head and performed the exercise with excellence.”

In the speech competition, held during the Romeo Bragato conference dinner last night, Mr Crosby entertained the crowd with a speech titled ‘Is viticulture just another form of horticulture but with better machinery?’ using the analogy of Apple vs Microsoft to demonstrate his point.

Competition organiser Emma Taylor from Villa Maria Estate was impressed with Mr Crosby’s determination to win.

“Mr Crosby has had a strong desire to win this competition since his first entry last year. With each competition, including the regional heats, he has gone from strength to strength and this year was a very strong competitor in every category. It is great to see the title go to a Wairarapa contestant for the first time as the region has had a finalist for six of the last seven years,” said Ms Taylor.

Taking second place was Marlborough viticulturist Matthew Duggan and Hawke’s Bay’s Johnny La Trobe placed third in the closely fought competition.

Mr Crosby works at Borthwick Estate as winemaker and viticulturist and is currently completing his degree in Wine Science. As winner of the title, he walks away with a cash prize, a travel grant supplied by the New Zealand Society of Viticulture and Oenology and a $3000 leadership week with New Zealand Winegrowers. Mr Crosby will now also go on to compete in the Young Horticulturist of the Year competition in November.

The Markhams Young Viticulturist of the Year event encourages and nurtures excellence in viticulture. It gives top performers the opportunity to benchmark themselves against the best talent from each winegrowing region in New Zealand. All entrants are judged over a number of categories including; pruning ability, general viticulture knowledge, budgeting and machinery skills.

Graeme Rhodes, spokesperson for principal sponsor Markhams chartered accountants, believes being involved with the competition is a tangible way of supporting the industry by helping develop the next ‘crop’ of viticulturists. “Over the years the competition has grown in stature and is recognised within the industry as being a leading accomplishment for young viticulturists to aspire to and achieve. With the calibre of winners it is clear the industry is in good hands.”


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