Zoe Marychurch Young Viticulturist of the Year 2019

Of the career options available to young New Zealanders, one which has a growing future is Viticulture. Below is a story of a young southerner who is making a mark in the industry.

Zoe Marychurch became the Bayer South Island Regional Young Viticulturist of the Year 2019 on 12 July following the competition held at Greystone in North Canterbury.

This competition is open to all contestants from North Canterbury, Nelson and Waitaki and the winner goes on to represent their own region in the National Final. Zoe will therefore go on to represent North Canterbury in August.

Congratulations also goes to Lucas Percy, also from Pegasus Bay for coming second and for winning the BioStart Hortisports race.

The other two contestants Jarnieze McRoberts from Waiata Vineyard in North Canterbury and Lacey McPherson from Viticultura in Waitaki competed in the Young Vit competition for the first time this year and judges and organisers were highly impressed with how well they approached the questions, and showed they already have some great strengths as they placed highly in some of the sections.

“It is exciting to see a new competition grow and we are delighted the young vits from the smaller South Island regions are keen to put themselves out there and return again next year.” says Nicky Grandorge, National Co-Ordinator. “Mike Saunders from Greystone, the regional organiser, has done a great job in bringing the local wine community together and we are very happy to see this regional competition start to establish itself, giving more ambitious young vits the opportunity to take part in the programme.”

During the day, the contestants worked their way around a variety of both practical and theoretical questions and underwent a quick fire buzzer round. The awards dinner was held at Black Estate where the local wine community enjoyed an outstanding meal produced from primarily locally grown produce. Here the contestants delivered a 3 minute speech and the winners were announced.

Zoe will compete in the national final which is held in conjunction with Bragato at the end of August, this year being held in Hawke’s Bay. There will be a total of six finalists. She also represented North Canterbury last year in the nationals and is hoping this experience will stand her in good stead this year.

The national winner will not only become the Bayer Young Viticulturist of the Year 2019 but will win an amazing prize package of a Hyundai Kona for a year, an Ecotrellis Travel Grant, Bahco golden secateurs, a leadership week and cash. They will also go on to represent the wine industry in the Young Horticulturist of the Year Competition in November. There is also an AGMARDT prize for the best national finalist’s project which they undertake in the build up to the national final.