Young viticulturists test skills

Reigning young viticulturist of Marlborough champion Brenton O'Riley.
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Reigning young viticulturist of Marlborough champion Brenton O'Riley.

Reigning champion Brenton O'Riley and former multiple winner Matt Duggan are among the finalists lining up for best young viticulturist of Marlborough.

The 2015 Bayer Young Viticulturist of the Year winner will be as adept at presenting a speech to an audience as they are at backing a tractor through a narrow vineyard row.

O'Riley, a viticulture technician at Giesen Wine, and Duggan, an assistant viticulturist at Cloudy Bay, are joined in the regional final by FruitFed Supplies horticulture technician Nick Kininmonth, Craggy Range vineyard manager Tyler McComb, Constellation Brands assistant manager Anthony Walsh, and Spring Creek Vintners cellar hand and vineyard worker Kurtis Robinson.

Event co-ordinator Samantha Young said the competition attracted a high calibre of entrants throughout the country.

"It is now recognised in the industry as being a leading accomplishment for young viticulturists to aspire to and achieve."

Marlborough is one of four regional competitions, with Hawke's Bay, Central Otago and Martinborough.

The competition tested competitors' skills and knowledge in areas such as budgeting, machinery, pruning, and irrigation.

Competitors are also required to deliver a speech, answer questions in a "quick-fire" buzzer round, and compete in a series of fun activities.

The Marlborough regional competition will be held at the MRC campus on July 24, followed by an awards dinner at Scenic Hotel Marlborough.

The regional winner will compete in the national final in Hawke's Bay in August.

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 - The Marlborough Express

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