Young Viticulturist of the Year 2014

Hamish Pringle

Director, Hamish Pringle with Hawke’s Bay winner, Paul Robinson.

PRESS RELEASE August 5 2014

Our five regional finalists have been found:

It has taken 6 weeks, in four winegrowing regions, with over 45 budding viticulturists applying and now we are down to our five regional finalists that will compete in the Grand Final of the Young Viticulturist of the Year 2014.

Introducing the Five Finalists:

Paul Robinson from Villa Maria in Hawkes Bay. Paul is a seasoned entrant in this competition. This will be his fourth crack at the national title, having won the Hawkes Bay competition three previous times but being unsuccesul in the national final. Paul is an assistant vineyard manager for one of the largest vineyards in the Gimblett Gravels for Villa Maria Estate


Director Mike Flower, and graduate Emma Holmes with the Wairarapa Contestants.

Jeffery Farrell from Craggy Range in Wairarapa. Jeff won the inaugural Wairarapa competition this year. Jeff started his career in Hawkes Bay and has since moved to be the Assistant Vineyard Manager at Craggy Ranges famous Te Muna Vineyard in the Wairarapa.

Dan Manuge from Sea Level Wines in Nelson. Dan is another repeat finalist and this will be his third attempt at taking out the national final, having represented Nelson at the competition in 2012, 2013 and now again in 2014. Dan is the viticulturist for Sea Level Wines in Nelson.

Brenton O’Reilly from Giesen Wines in Marlborough. Brenton has entered the competition several times in his previous home of Hawkes Bay but this year he won the Marlborough competition and will be representing his new home. Brenton recently moved to Marlborough to be the Technical Viticulturist for Giesen Wines.

Mike Winter from Amisfield Wines in Central Otago. Mike is our most southern finalist. A previous contestant this is his first time making it to the national level. Mike is a vineyard manager for Amisfield Wines.

Paul Robinson answering a question at the Hawkes Bay Competition

Paul Robinson, answering a question in Hawke’s Bay.

These five hardy men will meet in Blenheim from the 25th – 27th of August to compete in the national final and determine who will be crowned this years New Zealand Young Viticulturist of the Year. The stakes are high for this competition with this years winner receiving a $5000 NZSVO travel prize to travel to anywhere in the world that will give them an insight into the wine industry, a Leadership week travelling around New Zealand meeting the industries established leaders, $2000 cash, and wine glasses supplied by winejobsonline and a brand new Santa Fe 2.2 CRDi A6 7 seater on a 12 month lease! This now brings the prize package for the winner to over $20,000 worth of prizes.

Successful competition

Previous winners of the Young Viticulturist of the Year have proven the ability of the competition to pick out future leaders for the competition, previous winners are:

2006: Marcus Wickham, now Managing Director of Klima NZ

Jeff Farrell riding a quad bike and trailer during the Wairarapa Competition

Jeff Farrell riding a quad bike and trailer in the Wairarapa competition.

2007: Emma Taylor, now Nursery Viticulturist at Vineyard Plants Ltd

2008: Simon Bishell, now Manager at Caythorpe Estate

2009: Caine Thompson, now Managing Director at Pyramid Valley Wines

2010: Stuart Dudley, now Marlborough Viticulturist of Villa Maria Estate

2011: Nick Paulin, now Viticulturist for Peregrine Wines

2012: Braden Crosby, now Winemaker for Borthwick Estate

2013: Matt Fox, now Vineyard Manager for Glencoe Vineyards.

National Final: Tuesday – Thursday 26 – 28th August Blenheim.

Contact Emma Taylor; 021 412 953

Follow the action on Facebook here.

Background information

Inaugural local sponsors from the start of the Young Viticulturist competition in 2006, Moore Stephens Markhams has been naming rights’ sponsors over the past five years, and cellar selection sponsors in 2014.

Contestants in both regional and national events are required to complete set tasks at a number of work stations including a budgeting section that our directors will be judging. In addition, contestants compete in a timed eight-activity ‘horty sports’ contest, present a speech on a given topic, and participate in a quick fire buzzer general knowledge quiz.

The national winner will receive an impressive prize package and will represent viticulture at the Young Horticulturist of the Year competition against other grower sectors in November.

Serious about your success?