Trinity Hill’s Douw Grobler crowned North Island Young Winemaker of the Year

Douw Grobler from Trinity Hill in Hawke’s Bay, has become the 2022 Tonnellerie de Mercurey North Island Young Winemaker of the Year.  The competition was held on 8th September at EIT in Hawke’s Bay with the winners announced at an awards dinner the same evening.

“All that hard work finally paid off,” Douw said proudly. He had competed previously in both the Young Winemaker and Young Vit competitions, providing him with the opportunity to upskill and keep stretching himself.

“It’s fantastic to see contestants’ tenacity and determination to take out the title,” said Nicky Grandorge, leadership and communities manager at New Zealand Winegrowers.  “Douw very much deserves the win and his passion for furthering his career and contributing to our industry is very strong”.

Tom Crosier from Craggy Range came second and Jordan Robinson from Sacred Hill came third in the competition.

The regional competition is open to emerging young winemakers under 30 years old from all around the North Island.  This year contestants were from Auckland and Hawke’s Bay.  The other contestants were Jordyn Harper from Smith & Sheth in Hawke’s Bay, along with Gracie-Rose Kay from Coopers Creek and Ashish Thakur from Villa Maria, both from Auckland.

All six contestants walked away with prizes having each come top in one of the various sections.  The aspiring young winemakers were tested on many aspects of wine production.  This included a cellar challenge, laboratory tests, blending, fault finding, blind tasting, marketing, wine knowledge and wine tasting.  They also debated a given speech topic at the awards dinner held at The Cheval Room in Hastings.  This year’s topics included the future of wine writers, protecting and promoting NZ sparkling wine and whether it is time to legally define natural wine.

Organisers say the competition is made possible by all its ‘generous’ sponsors: Tonnellerie de Mercurey, Fruitfed Supplies, Villa Maria-Indevin, Laffort, Programmed Property Services, Tira Crown, Visy, New World, Winejobsonline, NZSVO and Pernod Ricard.

Douw was awarded with a great prize package of $1000, an educational trip sponsored by Fruitfed Supplies as well as a Dale Carnegie Leadership Course.   He now goes through to the National Final on 3 February at Kim Crawford Winery in Marlborough.

Tom Crosier will also head to Marlborough for an educational trip which co-incides with the National Final thanks to the NZSVO.

Apart from being crowned the 2022 Tonnellerie de Mercurey NZ Young Winemaker of the Year, the national winner will take home a prize package which includes a visit to the Tonnellerie de Mercurey (cooperage) in Burgundy, be an associate judge in the New World Wine Awards and review wines in DrinksBiz magazine.

The Marlborough regional competition takes place on 21 September and the Central Otago competition on 6 October.


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