EIT’s young wine industry graduates are shining in competition, sweeping up top placings in recent regional events.
Viticulturists educated at EIT viticulturists claimed all three top placings in this year’s Hawke’s Bay Young Viticulturist of the Year competition.
Working for Villa Maria, winner Cameron Price is an EIT graduate, as is third-placed Jascha Oldham-Selak, employed by Te Mata Estate. Runner-up Anton Luiten combines his EIT Bachelor of Viticulture studies with a position at Selak’s (Constellation Brands).
Having entered the regional viticultural competition twice in the past, Cam felt his preparation for this year’s competition had finally paid off. As the major sponsor, Bayer, pointed out, most winners have competed before and the experience builds confidence and skills.
Of the eight contestants, five were EIT graduates or students.
The regional Young Viticulturist competition’s theoretical and practical activities encompassed machinery, irrigation, trellising and pruning. The entrants were also questioned on budgeting, pests and diseases and on nursery management and invited to share their personal goals and visions for the future of the New Zealand wine industry.
The BioStart Hortisports attracted a supportive crowd who cheered contestants on as they worked through a variety of challenges.
Cam will now join other finalists in the national Young Viticulturist of the Year competition, to be held in Marlborough in August as part of the Bragato Conference. He will be up against yet another EIT graduate, Brenton O’Riley, winner of the Bayer Marlborourgh Young Viticulturist of the Year title this year as well as in 2014.
The victor in the national event will then compete in the Young Horticulturist of the Year competition.
EIT graduates also excelled in the recent Tonnellerie de Mercurey Young Hawke’s Bay Winemaker of the Year competition, with Alex Roper the winner and Brad Frederickson placing third.