Gearing up for 2024 Young Viticulturist of the Year  

Image courtesy New Zealand Wine

As winter approaches, so too does the competition season of the Young Viticulturist of the Year.

Now in its nineteenth year, the programme aims to foster New Zealand’s future viticultural leaders.  Previous contestants, many now senior leaders in the wine industry, have credited the support of the programme in advancing their careers.

“This competition gave me a great platform to grow my own career and I’m keen to help many more Young Viticulturists flourish and progress their careers in an industry I’m passionate about,” said Matt Fox, newly appointed chair of the NZ Young Viticulturist National Committee.  Fox was the national winner of Young Viticulturist of the Year in 2013 and is now the viticulturist for Rapaura Springs/Summerhouse Wines.

The NZ Young Viticulturist programme aims to help budding viticulturists under 30 to upskill, stretch themselves and network, as well as giving them an opportunity to share their ideas about the future.  The tough competitions test the contestants on all aspects of viticulture and vineyard management.

Over the years a strong, supportive Young Vit community has evolved, including previous contestants, wine industry members and sponsors who are specialist suppliers to the industry.

“It’s a very special community,” said Nicky Grandorge, Leadership & Communities manager at New Zealand Winegrowers, “there’s a wonderful buzz at this time of year, as everyone starts planning, studying and coming together for the competitions.”

The regional competitions will take place throughout June and July with the national final taking place at Escarpment in Wairarapa on 28 August.  The 2024 winner will be announced at the ‘Altogether Unique’ wine industry celebration in Wellington on 29 August.

This year’s national winner will take home a prize package including a brand new Ford vehicle for a year, an Ecotrellis Travel Grant, a Leadership Week experience and cash prizes.  A BioStart Hortisports winner will also be announced at each competition and all national finalists will be hosted by Fruitfed Supplies on a field trip.

More information and competition dates can be found here.   

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