The winner was Sam Bain from Villa Maria (owned by Indevin), Hawkes Bay.
This is the 16th year that the Young Viticulturist competition has been run and the second year that Corteva has been the naming rights sponsor. The calibre of the contestants was extremely high and it was a very tough fought competition.
The Corteva Young Viticulturist of the Year competition involves a series of 6 regional education days, followed by 6 regional competitions. The winner of the regional competition then competes in the final.
The final competition is held over a day and evening and involves a series of theoretical, practical challenges, which usually involves challenges in topics such as; pest and diseases, machinery, trellising, irrigation/frost protection, problem-solving topics and a Horti-Sports event which is half an hour of theoretical and practical challenges designed to put the contestants under real pressure and test their knowledge, skills and problem solving in a range of situations that may occur in the vineyard.
There is also a 20-question short answer quiz, an interview and a speech with where they had to identify, select and promote a new winegrape variety/clone for future success in their region adapting to the changing climate.
Prior to the final competition day, contestants were required to submit and present a detailed research report with this year’s topic being ‘Assess and recommend various pruning options given the labour shortage’.
Points from these events, quiz, speeches and projects went towards determining the winner.
As part of the finalists prize, they will travel on a Corteva escorted tour of the Central Otago wine region to learn more about growing quality winegrapes.