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George within range of top

Winner of Wairarapa Young Viticulturist of the Year and third at Bayer Young Viticulturist of the Year 2019 – George Bunnett from Craggy Range. PHOTO/EMMA BROWN

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George Bunnett from Craggy Range in Wairarapa came third in the Bayer Young Viticulturist of the Year 2019 competition held at Te Awa Winery in Hawke’s Bay.

Bunnett took out the regional competition back in June to represent Wairarapa in the national final.

This was the 14th year the competition has run for “vits” 30 years and under, to compete, learn, upskill and network – bringing the industry together to support the future of the industry.

The six regional winners competed last Monday in several practical and theoretical tasks, including the much loved Hortisports race.

Thursday evening at the awards dinner each finalist gave a speech to a large wine industry audience at the national Bragato conference before the final awards.

[From left to right] Ben Richards, who finished second, winner Simon Gourley and George Bunnett, after the Bayer Young Viticulturist of the Year 2019 prize-giving. PHOTO/SUPPLIED
Simon Gourley from Domaine Thomson in Central Otago took out the title of the Bayer Young Viticulturist of the Year 2019 and will now go on to represent viticulture at the Young Horticulturist of the Year competition.

Ben Richards from Indevin in Marlborough was second, with Bunnett rounding out the podium.

Bunnett said, “It’s been a pretty great week”, and he was pleased to finish third in what was a “tight competition”.

The Monday competition had been a personal highlight.

“You never know what’s going to get thrown at you.”

Competition aside, Bunnett said meeting the other regional winners was the highlight – talking to them about what they do day-to-day, their experiences and knowledge.

“You meet great people in the industry,” he said.

Nicky Grandorge, national co-ordinator of the competition said, “the calibre of the finalists was incredibly high this year”.

“We threw a lot of different things at them, which they all tackled with great professionalism.”

She said all six contestants showed great leadership and viticultural skills and have started making a name for themselves in the wine industry as senior members recognised the passion and knowledge these ambitious young viticulturists have.

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