Pioneering Marlborough viticulturist recognised for career

A stalwart of the Marlborough wine industry, Dominic Pecchenino, has been honoured by the board of Wine Marlborough with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

The award, which recognises service to the development of the Marlborough Wine industry, was presented to the viticultural consultant during the Winter Pruning Field Day held at Matador Estate on Wednesday, 25 May.

Wine Marlborough General Manager Marcus Pickens said Pecchenino has played a significant role in the development of Marlborough’s wine industry as a scientist and viticulturist.

He arrived in Marlborough from the US in 1994, as vineyard manager of Matador Estate – the very place where he was honoured with his award, almost 30 years later.

“With a Masters Degree in Plant Science and Viticulture, he brought to this part of the world, fresh eyes and international experience,” Pickens said.

Pecchenino was a member of Wine Marlborough’s board for 12 years including three years as chair, while also being a member of the New Zealand Winegrowers board for 16 years, and chair of the research committee.

During his time on the national board he pushed for mechanical thinning trials, which he had seen implemented successfully in Australia, and subsequently mechanical shaking trials and results.

“He was also an instigator for the annual New Zealand Winegrowers (NZW) Grape Days, as he strongly believed that research being undertaken around the country needed to be shared with growers throughout the country,” Pickens continued.

“He worked on labour issues, both with the NZW board and Government”.

Pecchenino’s award was presented by Marlborough Winegrowers Association Board chair Beth Forrest, who said the accolade was about celebrating “all the hard work that individuals like Dominic have put into what’s become a highly successful industry”.

She said Pecchenino not only has a “strong backbone of understanding” of Marlborough and the wine industry, but realised the importance of sharing knowledge, for the benefit of generations that followed.

Pecchenino’s Lifetime Achievement Award, which is awarded annually, was originally going to be presented at the 2021 Marlborough Wine Show Celebration Long Lunch, but the event was cancelled due to COVID-19.

Pickens says a second award to another wine industry pioneer is to be presented later this year at a suitable occasion, which will be announced in due course.

“This would mark the first time two people have been recognised in one year for steadfastly supporting and promoting this region,” he said.

“For that the board of Wine Marlborough is extremely grateful and believed it was important to recognise this.”

Previous winners of the Wine Marlborough Lifetime Achievement Award include Gerry Gregg, Ross Lawson, Phil Rose, Ivan Sutherland, Jane Hunter, Dr Rengasamy Balasubramaniam, Dr John Forrest and Judy and Neal Ibbotson.


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