Young Viticulturist of the Year

September 12 2017

New Zealand’s best young viticulturists are found every year through a series of competitions: We talked to Jake Dromgool about how The Landing fared in the Auckland/Northern regional competition.

How long have you been at The Landing and what is your job title?

I have been at The Landing for close to three years now, and I am the Assistant Viticulturist.

What did the Auckland/Northern region Young Viticulturist of the Year competition involve?

The topics that were covered (and judged) included such things as trellising, pest and disease management, machinery maintenance, vine physiology and nutrition and budgeting. There was also a personal interview, a “hortisports” race, a quiz/buzzer round, an assessment of wine tasting knowledge and a three-minute speech at the evening dinner. My speech topic was “North Island vs South Island – who makes better wines?”

What was different from last year?

There were more competitors this year, and because it was the second year of the competition, there was perhaps less uncertainty as to what the competition would involve. This meant that everyone was really well prepared.

Where was the competition located?

Goldie Estate, the Auckland University vineyard on Waiheke Island.

Where did you place in the Auckland/Northern region competition?

I came second – again, to the same bloke as last year! We were told later in the evening by the judges that Pietro (who also works at The Landing) received an honourable mention. This was pretty remarkable given he has only come into viticulture in the past vintage.

The viticulturist who won this year’s competition went on to win the New Zealand Nationals.