Congratulations have been given to Annika Salenjus from Craggy Range, who became the Wairarapa Young Viticulturist of the Year 2023.
The competition took place in the spectacular Escarpment Vineyards in Martinborough last Thursday 29 June. The early morning fog lifted just as contestants and judges arrived at the site with the sun shining for the rest of the day.
Congratulations were also given to Alex Coombs, from Schubert, for coming second and Emily Telford, from Foley Family Wines, for coming third. Peter Graham from Paddy Borthwick was awarded the Ormond Professional Reputation Award, impressing the judges with his positive and professional attitude from the moment he signed up for the competition. Phattaradanai Wannaphirun, also known as Neil, took out the Ecotrellis trellising section, so it was success and awards all round.
This was the first time any of the five contestants had entered the competition and was a great opportunity to stretch themselves at the very early stages of their careers, with some only having recently arrived in New Zealand. “It’s fantastic to see new young people coming into Wairarapa who are ambitious and willing to put themselves out there. says Regional Chair, Rowan Hoskins. “They were all out of their comfort zone, but all gave it 100%. We were all highly impressed with their drive and ambition to grow their viticultural careers.”
Throughout the day they rotated around a range of viticultural questions and challenges including trellising, budgeting, machinery, biosecurity and an interview.
At lunchtime, they all went head to head in the BioStart Hortisports which was followed by a Fruitfed Supplies BBQ.
The Awards Dinner was held in Escarpment’s cellar, magically transformed with fairy lights around the tanks and barrels.
The competition is made possible thanks to all the sponsors involved: BioStart, Ecotrellis, Hyundai, Agritrade, Constellation Brands, Empak, Fruitfed Supplies, Fendt, Klima, Ormond Nurseries, Roots, Shoots & Fruits, Indevin, Waterforce, AEG, NZSVO and Winejobsonline.
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