Bayer Young Viticulturist of the Year wins Young Horticulturist of the Year
Congratulations to Caleb Dennis, Young Horticulturist of the Year 2015. He represented the Viticultural sector in this
tough and prestigious competition.
Young Horticulturist of the Year was held over 11th and 12th November, where Caleb competed against 5 other finalists
from various horticultural sectors including Landscaping, Nursery & Garden, Amenity Horticulture and Vegetable, Fruit & Flower Growing.
The competition kicked off with the contestants submitting Business Plans for a new product they would like to develop
and launch. Caleb’s plan to launch a wine cellaring app was very well received and will hopefully eventuate into reality
in the not too distant future. This first day also included an interview and a budgeting exam.
The following day was held out at the Auckland Botanic Gardens. Question topics included a focus on sustainability, HR,
plant disease and pruning.
Finally contestants delivered a speech at the Grand Final dinner held at the Rendez Vous hotel in front of key
horticultural and FMCG industry players. Caleb discussed what sustainability means to NZ Winegrowing and how his
personal goal is also for continuous improvement and to be constantly asking and thinking about how things could be done
better and more efficiently.
Not only did Caleb win the prestigious title of Young Horticulturist of the Year, but an amazing prize package which
included $7500 travel package and $1000 ICL Specialty fertilisers. He also won $3500 travel scholarship for winning the
T & G Practical Activity Award and $2500 scholarship for the Fruitfed Supplies Leadership Award. He also took home the
beautiful cast glass sculpture made by artist Evelyn Dunstan.
Combined with the NZSVO travel sponsorship he won from the Bayer Young Viticulturist of the Year, Caleb is looking at
heading to California and Bordeaux next year, to learn about the various viticultural practices and challenges in those
In the 11 years the Young Horticulturist of the Year has been running, Caleb is the 6th Young Viticulturist of the Year
to win the competition. Nicky Grandorge, National Co-Ordinator of Bayer Young Viticulturist of the Year, says “We are
thrilled with the high level of knowledge and skills coming out of the young viticultural sector, ensuring the NZ wine
industry has quality leaders emerging for the future. The Bayer Young Viticulturist of the Year plays an important role
in this leadership development and then the support, mentorship and experience they receive from taking part in the
Young Horticulturist of the Year builds on this even further. It was a tough competition and all the contestants showed
a wide range of expertise which is fantastic for the continuing success of horticulture in NZ.”
The other competitors were: Kat Rennie-Floristry, Tom Ferguson-Nursery, Karl Noldan – Parks & Amenities, Hamish Gates – Grower, Stefan Scott - Landscaping