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Central Otago’s calls for its bright young things

Entries are now open for the Central Otago young viticulturist of the year, a testing competition of practical and theoretical vineyard knowledge to be held on 1 August in Bannockburn.

The competition, now in its fourth year, puts best practice under the microscope and tests knowledge of plant identification and management, machinery skills, pruning, trellising, blind wine tasting, irrigation, public speaking and general knowledge.

First prize is an all expenses paid trip to the Romeo Bragato conference in Napier at the end of August and the chance to compete for the title of national young viticulturist of the year. For the regional final a maximum of eight contestants will be selected from the entrants who must be working full time on a vineyard, hold or be working towards a formal qualification in viticulture or horticulture and aged 30 years or under.

Competition organiser and Otago Polytechnic viticulture lecturer Raewyn Paviour believes it is important to profile like-minded professionals and recognise their achievements, “The competition highlights the strong skill base we have here in Central Otago and it is important for the industry as a whole to encourage advancements of our next generation of viticulturists,” she said.

The victor of the regional final also wins $1000 cash, a bottle of bubbles and a set of glasses. There are prizes for the runners up.

Nick Mills president of the Central Otago Winegrowers Association, thinks the competition is an excellent opportunity for young winegrowers to excel in their sector and demonstrate best practice. “It offers a friendly yet challenging environment for the young viticulturists to test their skills and have some fun along the way,” he said.

The regional final takes place on Saturday 1 August 2009 at the Bannockburn Road campus of the Otago Polytechnic, spectators and supporters are welcome. Applicants should contact Raewyn Paviour () at the Otago Polytechnic, Cromwell.

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