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Congratulations To Sam Bain - Corteva Hawke’s Bay Young Viticulturist Of The Year 2020

Sam Bain from Constellation Brands became the Corteva Hawke’s Bay Young Viticulturist of the Year 2020 on 13 August.

Due to Covid-19 Alert Levels changing on 12 August and Hawke’s Bay being moved to Alert Level 2, the competition was held behind closed gates, limiting numbers to just contestants, judges and two supporters per contestant to keep numbers well below the government guidelines of 100 people. Being outside and spread out across the vineyard as contestants rotated from station to station also ensured social distancing was well observed along with high levels of sanitisation.

The Awards Dinner has been postponed until the move back to Level 1. Everyone’s efforts and achievements can be celebrated then - an occasion which will be appreciated more than ever after the current changes.

“We were very grateful the competition could still go ahead.” said Nicky Grandorge, National Co-ordinator of the competition. “Everyone’s health and safety was paramount and the team worked incredibly hard the day before to ensure the competition could run safely and smoothly in line with government guidelines for the sudden change to Alert Level 2.”

Congratulations also goes to Nick Putt from Villa Maria who came second and Douw Grobler from Trinity Hill who came third.

There were eight contestants competing in total. The other five contestants were Sarah Hunt from Villa Maria, Sam Sherratt from Indevin, Kurt Kelly from Craggy Range, Robbie Golding from Church Road and Casey Motley from Te Mata.

“Although it was a much quieter competition than usual, the contestants gave it their all and the atmosphere was very positive and upbeat” said Paul Robinson, Regional Organiser.

The Young Vits were tested on all aspects of vineyard management, including trellising, pruning, nursery, machinery, pests & diseases, irrigation and budgeting. There was also an interview and quiz as well the infamous BioStart Hortisports. The race was won by Nick Putt who also took out the Ecotrellis trellising prize and the new Professional Reputation Award, sponsored by Ormond Nurseries was won by Casey Motley.

Sam Bain will go on to represent Marlborough 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 Auckland, Marlborough, Wairarapa, Central Otago and North Canterbury. Plans will of course be adapted, if necessary, to be in line with current Covid-19 Alert Levels, although it is hoped the country will have long been back at Alert Level 1 by then.

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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