The 2017 Tonnellerie de Mercurey NZ Young Winemaker of the Year Final was held at Villa Maria in Auckland with the celebration dinner held at Ostro Restaurant where Kelsey Daniels from Vinlink Marlborough was announced the winner and Sara Addis from Trinity Hill, Hawkes Bay runner up. Alongside Kelsey and Sara, the national finalists were Abilgail Maxwell from Babich, Marlborough and Tom Hindmarsh from Dry River Wines, Martinborough.
Now in its third year, the competition is about finding the best winemaking talent in New Zealand, as well as providing education and support for those in the industry who are under 30 years of age. Not only that,
Daniels walked away with a travel allowance, training grant, full registration to the 2018 Romeo Bragato conference, a wine allowance, plus a trip to the Tonnellerie de Mercurey cooperage in Burgundy (airfares included), and of course the title of being the 2017 New Zealand Tonnellerie de Mercurey Young Winemaker of the Year.
Sherwyn Veldhuizen of supreme naming sponsor Tonnellerie de Mercurey said how important events like this are for the wine industry.
“We have been involved in this event for three years and each year the calibre of the contestants gets stronger as does the expectation of them at the competition; this isn’t something that you can compete in without a lot of extra learning and extension plus the support of employers and peers. The event is growing as is the wine industry of New Zealand and it is such a pleasure to meet and support these talented winemakers”.
The competition acknowledges the high level of the competition and respect it has within the wine industry and helps celebrate the outstanding skill and knowledge of the competitors. Laffort, O-I Glass, Farmlands and Vintech are also strong supporters of the event, continuing their involvement as National Sponsors for 2017.
Competitors were put through their paces throughout the competition cycle, with the four finalists qualifying for the National Competition by coming first or second in their respective North and South Island Competitions. In the national final each competitor was tested and received points on general knowledge, essay writing, presenting a speech, capex and financial analysis, blending, laboratory skills, marketing their wine and more. These are all essential elements that as wine makers they will put into practice during their career.
Winner Kelsey Daniels who works at Vinlink Marlborough said “Winning the national finals is honestly one of the best things to date in my career. The competition was really tough; the other contestants are at the top of their game and were such great competitors. This for me really confirms what I set out when I started in the wine industry, it’s an amazing industry and dynamic group of people and I’m so proud to fly the flag for Marlborough.”