Bayer Marlborough Young Viticulturist of the Year 2016 announced
Congratulations to Brenton O’Riley who became the Bayer Marlborough Young Viticulturist of the Year 2016 on Friday 24 June.
O’Riley has worked at Giesen Wines for the last few years as Viticultural Technician and credits his time and experience there as helping him gain some of the high level knowledge and skills required to win the competition. He is due to start a new job at Pernod Ricard in a grower liaison role at the beginning of next month.
This is the second time O’Riley has won the Marlborough competition, previously in 2014, so he will be even more determined this year to win the National Final taking place locally at Villa Maria in August.
Congratulations also goes to Libby Rainey from Villa Maria who came second and to Jaimee Whitehead from Matua who came a very close third.
The calibre of the contestants was very high and it was great to see that three of the six contestants were girls, highlighting the fact that viticulture is an exciting career for both men and women.
The Bayer Young Viticulturist of the Year Competition is about growing the future of the New Zealand wine industry by helping develop and nurture potential viticultural leaders. Contestants are rigorously tested on their overall viticultural knowledge and skills, so Friday involved a mix of theoretical and practical activities. These included questions on machinery, irrigation, trellising and pruning, as well as nutrition, budgeting, pests and diseases. The contestants also had an interview.
The BioStart Hortisports race is always a popular part of the day and it was no exception this year. The contestants went head to head undertaking a variety of challenges in the vineyard cheered on by a huge crowd of supporters from the local vineyards and wineries.
The contestants had a couple of hours to relax and recharge ready for the evening dinner where they underwent a quick fire buzzer round and delivered some very inspiring speeches to the audience of over one hundred. We were delighted to have Mark Preece from New Zealand King Salmon as our guest speaker who spoke about not only the challenges but also the pride that comes with providing the world with premium quality produce, which as well as salmon is also the case for New Zealand wine.
The National Final 23-25 August is held in conjunction with Bragato. O’Riley will compete against the winners from Auckland, Central Otago, Hawke’s Bay and Wairarapa.
The national winner not only gains the title of Bayer Young Viticulturist of the Year, but an amazing prize package of $2000 cash, a $5000 AGMARDT travel scholarship, a Hyundai Santa Fe for an entire year, wine glasses and a leadership week where they meet some of the top leaders in the New Zealand wine industry. They also go on to represent viticulture in the Young Horticulturist of the Year Competition.
The competition was held on Friday 24 June at Giesen Stump Creek Vineyard.
The forthcoming regional competition dates are:
Hawke’s Bay – 7 July, Te Awa
Central Otago – 22 July, Cromwell Polytechnic
Wairarapa – 28 July, Te Kairanga
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For more information and photos please contact:
National Co-ordinator, Young Viticulturist of the Year