Congratulations to Ben McNab from Matahiwi in Wairarapa who came first in the Tonnellerie de Mercurey North Island Young
Winemaker competition held on Friday 4 September at EIT in Hawke’s Bay.
This competition is open to emerging young winemakers under 30 years old from all around the North Island. A maximum of
eight contestants compete and the winner then goes on to represent the North Island in the National Final. This year
contestants came from Hawke’s Bay, Auckland, Gisborne and Wairarapa. “It was fantastic to have contestants from all
around the North Island” says Nicky Grandorge, Leadership & Communities Manager at NZ Winegrowers. “It meant all key winegrowing regions were represented and it was a great
opportunity for the contestants to meet other young winemakers from outside their own region.”
Congratulations also goes to Kaitlin Bond from Indevin in Gisborne who came second and to Douw Grobler from Trinity Hill
in Hawke’s Bay who came third.
The other contestants were Carolien Callewier, Villa Maria HB; Darren Webster, Villa Maria Auckland; Larissa Duwakin,
Sacred Hill; Penelope Radburnd, Askerne and Evie Livesey, Urlar.
It was a tough day as the Young Winemakers were tested on many aspects involved with wine production including a cellar
challenge, laboratory tests, blending, fault finding, blind tasting, marketing and also giving a speech.
The competition is made possible by all the generous sponsors, who are appreciated more than ever in this challenging
year. The national sponsors are Tonnellerie de Mercurey, Crown Sheet Metal, Farmlands, Guala Enclosures, Laffort, O-I
Glass, Programmed Property Services, Winejobsonline and New World.
McNab was awarded with a great prize package of $1000, an educational trip to Nelson and also an invaluable year of
mentoring from regional sponsor Collective Intelligence.
The National Final is being held in Hawke’s Bay this year on 6 November 2020 when McNab will compete against the winners
from Central Otago and Marlborough.
Apart from being crowned the 2020 Tonnellerie de Mercurey NZ Young Winemaker of the Year, the national winner will take
home an amazing prize package which includes a travel grant to visit the cooperage (tonnellerie) in Burgundy, be an
associate judge in the New World Wine Awards and review wines in DrinksBiz magazine.
The Central Otago competition is taking place on 10 September and the Marlborough competition on 16 September.