Inaugural New Zealand Young Winemaker crowned
A night of nerves, skill and finesse surrounded the all-female finalists of the inaugural Tonnellerie de Mercurey 2015
New Zealand Young Winemaker competition last night.
Hawke’s Bay Winemaker, Lauren Swift took the inaugural title after she battled it out following three days of winemaking
challenges at the Romeo Bragato conference.
Lauren says, “It was an extremely tough competition, I’m really thrilled with the result. It’s been such a great
opportunity for me, and has already opened a number of doors and given me so much confidence.
“I look forward to doing this title proud in the year ahead and I would like to acknowledge the support that Ash Ridge
Winery, the event sponsors and the organisers have given to the event and me personally.”
In a similar but more rigorous format to the three regional competitions that took place in Hawke’s Bay, Marlborough and
Central Otago, the national event covered four main areas. Competitors were tested on laboratory skills and wine
judging, made a presentation to a wine industry panel, sat a technical exam and completed a comprehensive budget
Young Winemaker of the Year, chairperson, Sophie Matthews said, “Having the final as part of the Romeo Bragato
conference has been an excellent platform to introduce this high-level competition to the industry. New Zealand’s young
winemakers are getting the deserved recognition from their industry peers.”
“The competition was long overdue and we wanted to create a new event that thoroughly tested many facets of the role
that winemakers face every day. We are thrilled with the calibre of the event components, the investment from industry
partners, and the acceptance that the event has received from the industry. This year’s event has been a huge success
and we have had a lot of interest for next year in this growing competition,” said Ms Matthews.
Sherwyn Veldhuizen of Tonnellerie de Mercurey said, “This event is really positive for winemaking. There are some great
winemakers in New Zealand and this is a fabulous way to nurture emerging talent, which can only strengthen and build our
Places in the Tonnellerie de Mercurey 2015 New Zealand Young Winemaker competition:
1st Lauren Swift, Ash Ridge Wines (Hawke’s Bay)
2nd Abigail Maxwell, Babich Wines (Marlborough)
3rd Abby Gallagher, Mt Difficulty (Central Otago)