Alena Kamper from Sacred Hill in Hawke’s Bay has taken out the title of 2023 North Island Young Winemaker of the Year following the competition held at Indevin’s Gimblett Gravels winery yesterday.
The 22-year-old performed strongly across the wide range of tasks which included blending, wine market knowledge, cellar skills, wine tasting and an interview.
Congratulations was also given to Casey Mackintosh from Indevin who came second and Frances Robertson-Best from Te Mata who came third.
The other contestants also showed strong winemaking knowledge and skills, with each contestant winning at least one section. The other participants were Charlotte Ross, Craggy Range; Chresten Bjarnesen, Mission Estate; Leigh O’Connor, Sileni and Thalia Osborne, Ash Ridge Wines.
The awards dinner was held at Brookfields Winery, where the contestants delivered their speeches, debating hot topics for the wine industry. It was an extra special occasion as the Brookfields Winery restaurant had only just re-opened days earlier, following months of recovery work after Cyclone Gabrielle.
Kamper won $1000 cash, premium wines, a Dale Carnegie leadership course and an educational trip sponsored by Fruitfed Supplies which will take place early next year.
She will now represent the North Island in the National Final on 31 October at The Bone Line in Waipara, North Canterbury.
Apart from being crowned the 2023 NZ Young Winemaker of the Year, the national winner will take home a prize package which includes a visit to the Tonnellerie de Mercurey cooperage in Burgundy, the opportunity to be an associate judge in the New World Wine Awards and review wines in DrinksBiz magazine. There is also the opportunity to win the Hillebrand-Gori best presentation.
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