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Palliser Estate’s Ben Mcnab Wins Nz Young Winemaker Of The Year

Pallisers Ben McNab wins NZ Young Winemaker

The team at Palliser Estate Wines in Martinborough are celebrating the success of Ben McNab, their Assistant Winemaker, who last night took out the title of New Zealand Young Winemaker of the Year.

Ben has developed his winemaking practice over the last 10 years, with the last 18 months of that under the guidance of Palliser Estate’s Winemaker and Viticulturalist Guy McMaster. In 2020, Ben was one of three finalists in that years competition, and his win this year is testament to his hard work and commitment to making truly exceptional premium wine with Palliser Estate.

Ben is ecstatic about his win “Achieving at the New Zealand Young Winemaker awards has been a goal of mine since I started in the industry. My focus has always been on learning how to make truly great wine, and winning this award, amongst the calibre of the other finalists Peter and Jordan, it’s just really humbling”.

Martinborough is well known for its premium Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. That suits Ben perfectly as he says “I’m all about Chardonnay, I’m electric when it comes to making that”.

The Palliser Estate team are also proud of Ben’s achievements. Guy comments “Ben has a wonderful work ethic, and this combined with his attention to detail with everything he does allows me to focus on the important things, like making the perfect cup of coffee to keep the young fella going!”

After studying a Bachelor of Arts at Victoria University, Ben found himself selling fine wine at Moore Wilsons in Wellington, where the wine affair started. He took himself back to EIT in Hawke's Bay, studied Viticulture and Oenology, followed by vineyard and winery work in New Zealand, including at Urlar where he first worked with Guy. He went on to work in Oregon, USA, and then joined Matahiwi as their Assistant Winemaker before joining the Palliser team.

Says Ben, “Joining the Palliser team has been great. Collaborating with Guy again and continuing to learn from his expertise is an incredible opportunity”.

Now in its seventh year, the New Zealand Young Winemaker of the Year competition was held on Wednesday 22 June at Amisfield Winery in Queenstown. The competition is open to those under 30 involved with wine production, and helps ambitious and passionate emerging young winemakers to become future leaders of the New Zealand wine industry. The competition tests the contestants on a wide range of skills and knowledge required in the winemaking process, including blending, laboratory tests, viticultural knowledge, tasting analysis, Health & Safety, presentation skills and market knowledge.

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