Young winemakers' chance to shine

Marlborough Young Winemaker of the Year chair Sophie Matthews.
CHLOE WINTER

Marlborough Young Winemaker of the Year chair Sophie Matthews.

Young Marlborough winemakers will have to opportunity to show off their skills and knowledge with a new, long-awaited Young Winemaker of the Year competition.

The event, organised by a group of wine delegates and Wine Marlborough, with support from New Zealand Winegrowers, will complement the Young Viticulturist of the Year competition, now in its 10th year.

It will include three regional competitions, one in Marlborough, one in Central Otago and one in the Hawke's Bay. Winners from each of the three regions will then go head-to-head, vying for the title of Young Winemaker of the Year.

The national competition will take place during the Romeo Bragato conference in Hawke's Bay in August.

Wine Marlborough general manager Marcus Pickens said they wanted to see the viti competition well established before setting up a young winemakers' equivalent,  

"But now the young viticulturist competition has matured and we've seen it's had a huge impact on the people who have done well, not just in the national competition but the regional ones too, and it's less resource-hungry, it's enabled people in the industry to do something for the winemaking fraternity."

Marlborough Young Winemaker of the Year chair Sophie Matthews said the competition had eight components, which would be equal across all the regional competitions.

"Some of those will be blending, lab analysis, blind tastings ... and because it's the first year, we are setting the bar pretty high."

The tasks for the national competition were yet to be finalised, she said.

Wine Marlborough had donated money for prizes for the Marlborough event.

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The winner of the Marlborough Young Winemaker of the Year title will receive $1000 and the opportunity to be an associate judge at the 2015 Romeo Bragato wine competition. Runner up will receive $500 and the third place getter will receive $250.

An information evening will be held at Scotch Wine Bar in Blenheim on May 26 at 5pm and Matthews wanted to encourage people from all facets of the winemaking world to attend.

"We want anyone who is interested to come along. We want to encourage anyone from the winemaking side of the industry, from cellar hands, to assistant winemakers, to lab assistants, as long as they met the rest of the criteria," she said.

Entrants must be 30 years or under, must be a New Zealand resident and must have completed two previous harvests or have two years of experience in the wine production role in New Zealand.

Entries are open and forms are available of the Young Winemaker of the Year Facebook page and the Wine Marlborough website.

 - The Marlborough Express

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