The Nelson Wine region is represented this Friday at the inaugural Bayer South Island Regional Young Viticulturist of the Year 2018, by young Viticulturist Blake Tahapehi from Spencer Hill Estate. The winner of the South Island event will go on to represent their own region at the National Final held at the 2018 Bragato conference in Wairarapa on Monday 27 August 2018, where they will vie for the coveted title of Young Viticulturist of the Year 2018. It is a tough competition testing all aspects of vineyard management making it a very prestigious title to win. 2018 marks the thirteenth year of the Bayer Young Viticulturist of the Year Competition, run by New Zealand Winegrowers.
The competition tests the skills and knowledge of young viticulturists under 30 years of age and is a great opportunity for young Viticulturists to increase their confidence and widen their network. The contestants undergo a mix of practical and theoretical questions which include pruning, netting, machinery, pests and diseases, budgeting, nutrition, wine knowledge, trellising and an interview. They go head to head in the BioStart Hortisports race, a quick fire buzzer round and also give a speech at the awards dinner.
Blake worked for 8 years at Villa Maria in Auckland under the guidance of Brett Donaldson, learning all aspects of viticulture. He then decided it was time for a new challenge and headed to Nelson taking on the responsibility of Vineyard Manager at Spencer Hill Estate. Along with running the vineyard on a day to day basis Blake also works as Winery Assistant, giving him more understanding of Cellar operations and Winemaking practices in general.
Good luck Blake!