Domaine-Thomson vineyard manager Simon Gourley will represent Central Otago at the Bayer New Zealand Young Viticulturist of the Year 2019 competition at the Bragato conference in Hawke’s Bay next month.
He and seven other viticulturalists competed in the selection competition at Otago Polytechnic’s Central Campus Bannockburn last Thursday, and then during the awards evening at the Bannockburn Pub.
Ben Holt from Akarua Winery was second and Katrina Jackson from Chard Farm was third.
Mr Gourley said he had not expected to win, although he thought it would be between some of the older entrants who had entered the competition before.
“I was very happy to take it out,” Mr Gourley (28) said.
Regional organiser Nick Paulin said contestants aged from 22 to 28 took part in several modules including spraying, trellising, pest and diseases, irrigation, budgeting, a blind wine tasting and an interview at the evening session.
Mr Gourley will compete against representatives from the other wine regions and the winner of that will go on to represent the wine industry in the Young Horticulturist of the Year Competition in November.
“I’ll also look at my results from yesterday and see what areas I need to focus on and I’ll talk to previous winners and get some knowledge from them,” he said.