Amisfield viticulturist wins
It was second time lucky for Amisfield assistant vineyard manager Mike Winter after he took out the 2014 Central Otago Young Viticulturist of the Year title in Bannockburn.
The 27-year-old, who finished third last year, fought off some tough competition from seven other competitors to win the title and the right to represent the region at the national competition in Blenheim next month.
Winter said while it helped having already competed in the event before, it was still a challenging competition, as contestants needed to know a little bit about a lot of topics relating to the industry.
He found the time restrictions for each challenge tough, but he enjoyed getting outside and doing the practical challenges as a big part of his work at Amisfield was working inside.
The event was run by the Central Otago Winegrowers' Association and event organiser and past national winner Nick Paulin said there had been a lot of interest in this year's competition, with 12 entrants, whittled down to the eight finalists.
The competition was a tough one, but it was worthwhile for people to enter it as it gave them a good idea of where their skills were within the industry, he said.
"It makes you think about parts of the job that you don't necessarily use or know much about at the moment, but which you might need to know as you progress in your career. It gives you a broader understanding of the industry."
Paulin said being involved in the competition, and especially winning it, could open up lots of doors within the industry.
Last year's Central Otago winner Simon Gourley, from Two Paddocks Vineyard, watched Friday's competition but was unable to enter this year due to a shoulder injury.
Although he didn't win the national competition last year, he said competing had been a great experience and he had met a lot of people in the wine industry.
He planned to enter the Central Otago competition again and hoped to compete nationally for a second time.