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EIT Student Wins Major Viticultural Award

April 15, 2013

Anton Luiten checks the condition of grapes in the EIT vineyard.

Nineteen-year-old Anton Luiten is thrilled to have won the inaugural Constellation Brands New Zealand Ltd wine industry scholarship for a student enrolled in viticultural degree studies at EIT.

Anton says the $5000 scholarship is a huge boost to his academic career – it will allow him to complete his Bachelor of Viticulture and Bachelor of Wine Science concurrent degree and consider postgraduate study.

He will also be employed by the company for a minimum of 60 days during his study breaks.

“To be offered the work experience is at least as important to me as winning the grant,” Anton says.  “It’s such a great opportunity.”

Head of EIT’s Applied Sciences School Diane Marshall says Constellation Brands announced the launch of its “very generous” sponsorship programme earlier this year.

“It’s very encouraging for students and an educator like EIT to have the support of such a major player in the New Zealand wine industry.    The company has a very significant presence in Hawke’s Bay with its Corner 50 vineyard plantings and winery at Maraekakaho.”

A second-year degree student, Anton has a background in horticulture as one of the “sons” in the landscape contracting company Plantpro and Sons in Whangarei.   While he has worked holidays in the family-owned business, he says his time at EIT has opened his eyes to the opportunity and possibilities of a career in wine.

“I have a special interest in viticulture.  The scientific aspect fascinates me and has become one of the most enjoyable aspects of my learning.  The practical side of viticulture also suits me perfectly.  I love the rewards of hard work, the outdoors, working with the land and vine, and working with a team.

“I have chosen to study the concurrent degree because I have learnt that to grow truly exceptional fruit and make a high standard of wine you have to understand both aspects of the industry.”

After he has completed his studies, Anton wants to be part of a team working for a large wine company.

Constellation Brands announced the introduction of its educational scholarship scheme in January.

On the judging panel, company spokeswoman Julie Bassett says Anton’s study results and attitude made him an outstanding candidate.

Chief executive Joe Stanton says the scholarships are intended to add value to the New Zealand wine industry by supporting students interested in developing a career in viticulture.

Stronger company ties with tertiary institutions such as EIT are vital to the ongoing development of the industry, Mr Stanton says.