After an exciting 2023, EIT | Te Pūkenga Viticulture & Wine Science student Casey Mackintosh is looking forward to a new experience as she heads off to Italy later in June on a Bragato Exchange.
Casey, 28, is in her final year of the Bachelor of Viticulture & Wine Science but is finishing the programme part-time while she works in the industry at Villa Maria Winery, which is now owned by Indevin.
The exchange, which has a new principal sponsor in Wine-Searcher, is now known as the Wine-Searcher Bragato Exchange Scholarship. Other sponsors are PGG Wrightson, Taradale Rotary Club and the Ōtātara Trust. It was established in recognition of the historical connection between Conegliano and New Zealand and is named after Romeo Bragato, who was influential in identifying potential wine growing regions here and studied in this area of Italy. It is commemorated with an academic partnership between EIT | Te Pūkenga and the University of Padua.
The exchange was started in 2003 and provides an opportunity for an Italian student to visit New Zealand in August, spend time at EIT | Te Pūkenga and visit the wine areas of NZ and an EIT | Te Pūkenga student to visit Padua and then travel around the wine areas of Italy hosted by alumni in the Italian summer.
The award comes after a big year in 2023, which saw Casey, who is originally from Northland, come second in the 2023 Tonnellerie de Mercurey North Island Young Winemaker of the Year, following the competition held at Indevin’s Gimblett Gravels winery.
She says that she is excited about the year ahead.
“I feel incredibly lucky to receive the Wine-Searcher Bragato Exchange Scholarship. I am extremely grateful to EIT | Te Pūkenga and the generous sponsors for providing this incredible opportunity.”
“It doesn’t quite feel real yet and I suppose it won’t until I am there sipping prosecco, in the sun. I am looking forward to meeting new people and soaking up Italian culture.”
Renee Dale, Wine Specialist at sponsors wine-searcher.com, says: “It is wonderful to see that this exchange retains such high interest and to see such a high calibre of applicants.”
“It was a real challenge for the selection panel to choose between them. Although all candidates showed great potential, each bringing their own unique stories and outlooks, Casey in particular demonstrated a solid understanding of the exchange, its purpose and just what the experience would bring to her skillset as a future winemaker. I look forward to welcoming Casey into the Romeo Bragato alumni and following her journey, both in the exchange later this year, and in the years to come.”
Renee, who was the first female Bragato exchange recipient in 2006, is also heartened to see the significant number of female applicants this year.
Sue Blackmore, the Head of the EIT | Te Pūkenga School of Viticulture & Wine Science, said: “We are excited that this exchange will continue to provide EIT graduates with a unique life changing opportunity. The exchange enables the building of invaluable connections, as well as the opportunity to be hosted by the University of Padua and by ex-exchange scholars in different parts of Italy.”
“We are extremely thankful to our long-term sponsors and the new main sponsor, Wine searcher, who are ensuring the longevity of this valuable exchange that commemorates its founder, Kevyn Moore.”