Bayer Young Viticulturist of the Year 2015 announced

Congratulations to Caleb Dennis who became the Bayer Young Viticulturist of the Year 2015.  Representing Hawke’s Bay, Caleb competed in a wide range of challenges over three days to eventually beat three other contestants and claim the title.  

This year, the National Final took place in Hawke’s Bay so the local contestant received a rapturous applause from the crowd when the  results were announced, especially from his colleagues  at Craggy Range.

The standard of contestants was very high, with Matt Duggan from Marlborough, Scott Lanceley from the Wairarapa and Mike Winter from Central Otago all putting up stiff competition.  Congratulations goes to  Matt Duggan, from Cloudy Bay for being Runner Up.

The first day of practical questions was held out at Te Awa Winery.
The challenges included trellising, tractor maintenance, pruning and pest & diseases.  This was followed by the Biostart Hortysports where contestants raced against each other to complete tasks such as putting together a frost pot, part of an irrigation system and a bird scarer.  All questions were set by sponsors who are key suppliers and experts in the viticultural sector.

Contestants also had to complete a budgeting question in the afternoon and an interview with 3 leading wine industry professionals the following day. The competition then continued in conjunction with Bragato, NZ Winegrowers Annual Conference, where contestants underwent quick fire buzzer round in front of over 200 wine industry delegates. Finally the contestants delivered speeches at the Bragato Wine Awards dinner.  

MC Mike McRoberts from TV3 introduced the finalists who then discussed their individual topics which included the importance of experimenting with new grape varietals in NZ, the introduction of Geographical Indications, how to compete in a price slashing market and what can the wine industry learn from the All Blacks.  The audience of key wine industry delegates listened with great interest, commenting on how professional and well researched the speeches were.
Dennis will now go on to compete in the Young Horticulturist of the Year competition in November,
Dennis not only won  the title of Bayer Young Viticulturist of the Year 2015 and the trophy but an amazing prize package including use of a Hyundai Santa Fe for a whole year, $5000 travel fund from NZSVO, $2000 cash and Spiegelau wine glasses.

The competition is now in its 10th year and has become an important annual fixture in the viticultural calendar.  Thank you to the following sponsors for making this possible:  Bayer, Hyundai, Biostart, Biomin, Constellation, Ecotrellis, Empak, Fendt, Fruitfed Supplies, Logan Stone, Ormond Nurseries, Precision Hawk, Waterforce, NZ Winegrowers, NZ Society of Viticulture & Oenology, Winejobsonline.