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Pruning his way to the top

Scott Lanceley, right, competing in the pruning category before judges Marcus Wickham, who won the competition in its inaugural year, and Emma Taylor, the first woman to win the title. PHOTO/HAYLEY GASTMEIER

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It’s the last chance for Featherston’s Scott Lanceley to prove he’s got what it takes to be New Zealand’s top young viticulturist.

Lanceley went up against five others in the 2018 Young Viticulturist of the Year finals, held for the first time in Wairarapa, at Martinborough’s Palliser Estate on Monday.

This is the fifth time he has entered, and the second time he has made it to the nationals.

Having just turned 30, it is the last year he can compete.

“To be quite honest, I’m looking forward to having a break,” he said when asked what he would be aiming for next. “They push us that hard that I may be a little bit glad that I don’t have to
do it anymore.”

Lanceley, who works at Te Kairanga, said his love for wine was born from his time in the hospitality industry.

“From serving wine and tasting wine, I got an appreciation.

“I didn’t have any interest in winemaking – I prefer working outdoors.”

The six competitors were put through their paces on Monday, facing off in categories that covered pruning, machinery, trellising, pests and disease, and presentation.

They were also interviewed, and will each give a speech at the annual Bragato Conference in Wellington tomorrow, when the winner will be announced.

His mother, Christine Lanceley-Cockram was quietly cheering him on from the sidelines.

She was “over the moon” that he was excelling in his chosen field, and laughed as she explained that working in the wine industry wasn’t always his dream.

“Initially, when he was at school he wanted to be an undertaker or a coroner, but before that he thought maybe a doctor.”

Lanceley-Cockram said her son was passionate about viticulture and was working towards a degree in the subject.

The competition’s national co-ordinator, Nicky Grandorge, said it was good to see more women becoming interested in the industry, with two female finalists this year.

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