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Wairarapa women winning with wine

Wairarapa Young Viticulturist of the Year competitors. From left to right; Albie Feary, Hannah Pause, Katie Cameron. PHOTO/ SUPPLIED

Three young women have taken out the top places in the 2021 Corteva Wairarapa Young Viticulturist of the Year, held last Thursday.

Albie Feary from Ata Rangi in Martinborough took the top spot, runner-up went to Hannah Pause from Foley Family Wine, and third place went to Katie Cameron from Escarpment.

Feary will represent Wairarapa at the national final in Marlborough in August. She will compete against the winners from Auckland, Hawke’s Bay, Marlborough, Canterbury, and Central Otago.

It was the first time women had won all three top places in the Young Viticulturist competition.

National co-ordinator Nicky Grandorge said the wins highlighted the increasing interest for both men and women to pursue a career in viticulture.

Judges were very impressed with the high calibre of the seven contestants, and the growth each contestant had displayed year-on-year.

“The passion, dedication and determination of these young vits is very inspiring,” Grandorge said.

“It’s fantastic that they return each year with more confidence, skills and knowledge each time.”

Hilary Forster and Rob Jasionowicz from Escarpment, McKenzie Smith from Craggy Range, and Sonia Saba from Luna Estate also took part in the competition, held at the Luna Estate Blue Rock Vineyard.

The young viticulturists were tested through various challenges, including trellising, tractor knowledge, pruning, nutrition, irrigation, pests and diseases, budgeting, and an interview, before going head-to-head in a colourful Biostart Hortisports race.

The contestants also delivered speeches on key wine industry issues during the awards dinner held at Peppers Parehua.

The national final winner will represent the wine industry in the Young Horticulturist of the Year competition in November.

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