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16/11/2015

Caleb Dennis takes out Young Horticulturist of the Year

Bayer Young Viticulturist of the Year Caleb Dennis has proven his skills on a wider scale, taking out the 2015 Young Horticulturist of the Year.

Representing the Viticultural sector, Dennis competed against five other finalists from various horticultural areas including Landscaping, Nursery & Garden, Amenity Horticulture and Vegetable, Fruit & Flower Growing. 

Held on November 11–12, the competition kicked off with the contestants submitting Business Plans for a new product they would like to develop and launch. Dennis’ plan to launch a wine cellaring app was very well-received with hope it will eventuate into reality in the not too distant future. 

The following day was held out at the Auckland Botanic Gardens with question topics including a focus on sustainability, HR, plant disease and pruning. 

Finally contestants delivered a speech at the Grand Final dinner held at the Rendez Vous hotel in front of key horticultural and FMCG industry players. Dennis discussed what sustainability means to NZ Winegrowing and how his personal goal is also for continuous improvement and to be constantly asking and thinking about how things could be done better and more efficiently.

Nicky Grandorge, National Co-Ordinator of Bayer Young Viticulturist of the Year, said she was thrilled with the high level of knowledge and skills coming out of the young viticultural sector, ensuring the NZ wine industry has quality leaders emerging for the future.

“The Bayer Young Viticulturist of the Year plays an important role in this leadership development and then the support, mentorship and experience they receive from taking part in the Young Horticulturist of the Year builds on this even further,” she said. “It was a tough competition and all the contestants showed a wide range of expertise which is fantastic for the continuing success of horticulture in NZ.” 

In the 11 years the Young Horticulturist of the Year has been running, Dennis is the 6th Young Viticulturist of the Year to win the competition. His prize package includes a $7500 travel package and $1000 ICL Specialty fertilisers.  He also won $3500 travel scholarship for winning the T & G Practical Activity Award and $2500 scholarship for the Fruitfed Supplies Leadership Award. 

Combined with the NZSVO travel sponsorship he won from the Bayer Young Viticulturist of the Year, Dennis is looking at heading to California and Bordeaux next year, to learn about the various viticultural practices and challenges in those regions.

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