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Gearing Up For 2024 Young Viticulturist Of The Year

As winter approaches, not only is there a nip in the air, but also a sense of anticipation and excitement as the wine industry builds up to the Young Viticulturist of the Year competition season.

Now in its nineteenth year, this programme helps grow New Zealand’s future viticultural leaders. Previous contestants, many now senior leaders in the wine industry, still appreciate how Young Viticulturist of the Year gave them support and a stepping stone to help advance their career.

“This competition gave me a great platform to grow my own career and I’m keen to help many more Young Viticulturists flourish and progress their careers in an industry I’m passionate about.” says Matt Fox, newly appointed Chair of the NZ Young Viticulturist National Committee. Matt was the 2013 national winner and is now the Viticulturist for Rapaura Springs/Summerhouse Wines.

The NZ Young Viticulturist programme helps under thirty year olds upskill, stretch themselves and network as well as giving them an opportunity to share their ideas about the future. The competitions are tough and the contestants are tested on all aspects of viticulture and vineyard management. They are also fun and bring a great sense of achievement.

Over the years a strong, supportive Young Vit community has evolved which includes previous contestants, wine industry members and sponsors who are specialist suppliers to the industry. “It’s a very special community,” says Nicky Grandorge, Leadership & Communities Manager at New Zealand Winegrowers “and there’s a wonderful buzz at this time of year, as everyone starts planning, studying and coming together for the competitions”.

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The regional competitions will take place throughout June and July with the national final taking place at Escarpment in Wairarapa on 28 August. The 2024 winner will be announced at the Altogether Unique Wine Industry Celebration in Wellington on 29 August.

Tai Nelson from Soljans Estate in Kumeu, Auckland was the 2023 NZ Young Viticulturist of the Year. Who will it be this year?

This year’s national winner will take home an amazing prize package including a brand new Ford vehicle for a year, an Ecotrellis Travel Grant, a Leadership Week and cash prizes. A BioStart Hortisports winner will also be announced at each competition and all national finalists will be hosted by Fruitfed Supplies on a field trip.

The competition is made possible thanks to the following generous sponsors: BioStart, Ecotrellis, Ford, Fruitfed Supplies, Agritrade, Clemens, Constellation Brands, Empak, Fendt, Indevin, Klima, Ormond Nurseries, Roots, Shoots & Fruits, Waterforce, NZSVO, New Zealand Winegrowers and Winejobsonline.

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