Marlborough viticulturist Rhys Hall has been crowned as New Zealand’s 2020 Young Viticulturist of the Year.
Mr Hall represented the wine region of Marlborough after his win at the regional competition and his current role is as assistant vineyard manager at Indevin’s Bankhouse.
He was announced as the 15th winner and will take home an impressive prize package of: a Hyundai Kona for a year; an Ecotrellis Travel Grant; a Corteva educational trip to Australia; Bahco golden secateurs; a leadership week and a cash prize.
A congratulations also goes to Sam Bain from Constellation Brands who came in second place and George Bunnett from Irrigation Services who came in third.
The other contestants were Annabel Angland from Peregrine Wines, Tahryn Mason from Villa Maria and Lacey Agate from Bellbird Spring.
The national final took place on Wednesday October 7 at Ata Rangi Vineyards in Martinborough where six finalists from Auckland, Hawke’s Bay, Wairarapa, Marlborough, North Canterbury and Central Otago underwent some very tough viticultural exams and challenges.
The finalists’ last challenge was to deliver a speech at the Young Vit 15 Years Celebration Conference on October 8.
Their task was to convince the industry strong audience as to why their wine region is the best to live and work in. There were some passionate and amusing speeches.
Winners were announced at the 15 Years Celebration Dinner at Martinborough Town Hall that evening.
There were several section prizes with Sam Bain taking out top prize for the AGMARDT research report, Annabel Angland winning the Ormond Professional Reputation Award and George Bunnett taking out both the BioStart Hortisports prize and the Ecotrellis trellising prize.
Judges were impressed with the high calibre of the young viticulturists and excited to see how determined they are to further their careers in the NZ wine industry and contribute to its growth.
The Young Vit 15 Year Celebrations brought together all the winners since 2006 where they all spoke at a conference entitled “Investing in the Future”.
It was an incredibly inspiring day as previous Young Vits now hold senior roles within the wine industry and discussed various challenges and opportunities which lie ahead for the industry.
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