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Congratulations To Tahyrn Mason From Villa Maria - Corteva Northern Young Viticulturist Of The Year

Congratulations to Tahyrn Mason from Villa Maria in Auckland who became Corteva Northern Young Viticulturist of the Year 2020 on 7 August following the competition held at Marsden Estate in Kerikeri.

Congratulations also goes to Pietro Aloisi from Marsden Estate who was Runner Up.

There were four contestants competing in total, the other two being Matt Dixon from Te Motu and Sam Maguire from Kumeu River, so all four corners of the wide-spread Auckland/Northern region were represented. “It was a great atmosphere and all four contestants gave it their all, proving themselves to be talented, young professionals” said Nicky Grandorge, Leadership & Communities Manager for New Zealand Winegrowers.

As well as putting the Young Vits through their paces, the competition also provided an opportunity for the Northern Region’s wine community to get together and members travelled up to Northland from Waiheke Island and Auckland to encourage their Young Vits as well as catch up with each other and discuss the opportunities and challenges which lie ahead for the wine industry.

The Young Vits were tested on all aspects of vineyard management, including trellising, machinery, pests & diseases, wine tasting, vineyard knowledge and budgeting. There was also an interview and quiz round. The action packed BioStart Hortisports Race took place just before the rain came in and Fruitfed Supplies laid on a delicious BBQ lunch.

The Awards Dinner was held at Marsden Estate, where the contestants also gave their speeches on hot topics such as biosecurity, labour shortages, innovation and water issues.

The audience also heard from two esteemed guest speakers, Mark Nobilo and Fabian Yukich who have both contributed hugely to the NZ wine industry. Mark Nobilo, pioneering viticulturist and a Fellow of New Zealand Winegrowers spoke first, followed by Fabian Yukich from Villa Maria who has played an integral part in driving sustainability in the wine industry and sits on the Board of New Zealand Winegrowers.

Other section prizes were also announced and Pietro Aloisi took out both the BioStart Hortisports prize and the Ecotrellis trellising prize. Sam Maguire won the new Professional Reputation Award and Matt Dixon, Tahryn Mason and Pietro Aloisi all won an amazing piece of artwork from esteemed, Northland artist Lester Hall.

All contestants were given a bottle of Ihaumatao Chardonnay personally signed by Sir George Fistonich, a wine industry legend from Auckland, as well as engraved glasses from Northern Winegrowers.

Tahryn will go on to represent Auckland in the National Final in October being held in Martinborough this year. It is being held in conjunction with the 15 Year celebrations of the Young Vit competition. The practical day will take place on 7th October and the national finalists will give their speeches at the conference the following day. The fifteenth winner will then be announced at the celebration dinner. There will be a total of six finalists, with the others coming from North Canterbury, Hawke’s Bay, Wairarapa, Central Otago and Marlborough.

The national winner will not only become the Corteva NZ Young Viticulturist of the Year 2020 but will win an amazing prize package of a Hyundai Kona for a year, an Ecotrellis Travel Grant, a Corteva educational trip to Australia, Bahco golden secateurs, a leadership week and cash. There are also cash prizes from AGMARDT for the top three national finalists research projects.

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