George Bunnett from Craggy Range became the Bayer Wairarapa Young Viticulturist of the Year 2019 on 20 June following the competition held at Te Kairanga in Martinborough.
Hilary Forster from Matahiwi was Runner Up.
It was a bright, frosty start but lovely blue skies for the contestants to compete amongst the vines as they rotated around a range of practical and theoretical challenges as well as going head to head in the BioStart Hortisports race. This race included viticultural challenges such as pruning, netting and putting together some irrigation.
The contestants then gave a speech to the wine industry strong audience at the evening dinner at Peppers Parehua and the winners were announced at the end of the evening. The competition not only helps the contestants grow and stretch themselves, but brings the wine community together as they come to support the young vits and celebrate the success of the Wairarapa wine industry.
The team at Vine Managers had volunteered a lot of their time pulling everything together for the competition and several local wine industry leaders were also involved, helping judge some questions along with the national sponsors.
George Bunnett will go on to represent Wairarapa in the national final which is held in conjunction with Bragato at the end of August, this year being held in Hawke’s Bay.
The national winner will not only become the Bayer Young Viticulturist of the Year 2019 but will win a prize package of a Hyundai Kona for a year, an Ecotrellis Travel Grant, Bahco golden secateurs, a leadership week, and cash. They will also go on to represent the wine industry in the Young Horticulturist of the Year Competition in November. There is also an AGMARDT prize for the best national finalist’s project which they undertake in the build up to the national final.
Dates for other regional competitions are:
Marlborough – 4th July, Drylands
Waipara – 12th July, Greystone
Central Otago – 18th July, Central Polytechnic, Bannockburn
National Final – 26th August at Te Awa, with the winner announced at the Bragato dinner on 29th August.