EIT Hawke’s Bay wine science and viticulture student Tom Lovelock is to spend a month in Italy as this year’s winner of the Bragato Student Exchange Scholarship.
The 24-year-old is already quite well travelled. From the late 80s to late 90s, he and his family lived in New Zealand, England and Niue Island.
After finishing his secondary schooling at Auckland Grammar, Tom studied law and commerce at Auckland University before again heading overseas – travelling extensively through Europe, the USA, Mexico and Central America.
In 2009, he “migrated” to Hawke’s Bay to start EIT’s concurrent wine science and viticulture degrees and take up a permanent part-time position working in the winery and vineyard at Moana Park near Taradale.
With his father a police officer and his mother a nurse, Tom says he is the first member of his family to pursue a career in the wine industry.
“I think it’s fantastic to see the theory from lectures being applied in the real world,” he says of combining study at EIT with work at the estate winery.
Tom is looking forward to the challenge of visiting Italy in January and February next year. The trip will include a visit to the School of Viticulture and Oenology in Conegliano in north-east Italy.
This is the very same viticultural training institution where Romeo Bragato, the viticulturist who recognised New Zealand’s potential for growing grapes, did his studies.
This year’s exchange student from Italy, Mattia Spagnol, attended the Bragato Conference in Blenheim during his recent month-long visit to New Zealand.
Mattia’s family grow glera grapes on 30 hectares to make sparkling wine, prosecco, in their winery in north-eastern Italy.
Now into its eighth year, the exchange programme initiated by former New Zealand Grape Growers chairman Kevyn Moore is for students who attend Romeo Bragato’s former school and EIT Hawke’s Bay.