Marlborough Young Viticulturist of the Year Competition 2014

Press Release
Saturday August 2, 2014

Giesen’s Viticulture Technician, Marlborough’s Young Viticulturist 2014

Seven months after arriving in Marlborough, Brenton O’Riley is now the region’s Young Viticulturist of the Year.

The 25-year-old Viticulture Technician for Giesen Wines had some stiff competition from other local viticulturists during yesterday’s daylong competition. 

Six competitors had to complete four theory modules and four practical sessions, along with a fun themed Horti Sports, followed by a three minute prepared speech and a 40 question quick fire quiz. 

Having topped both the practical sessions and the quiz, Brenton was announced as Marlborough’s Young Viticulturist of the Year for 2014 at a dinner event last night.

For Brenton the win is the culmination of a busy seven months, since he moved to Marlborough from Hawke’s Bay. While his parents owned dairy farms in the Manawatu, he was set on getting involved in viticulture from an early age. 

“I have always had this bizarre passion from a young age that I wanted to grow grapes. I don’t know where it stemmed from, it’s just always been there,” he said after taking out the title. 

Brenton is no stranger to the Young Viticulturist competition, having taken part in the Hawke’s Bay round twice in recent years. He was encouraged to enter in Marlborough by his fellow workers at Giesen Wines, who he said provided him with incredible support.

He described the competition as a fantastic opportunity to challenge himself.

“You get the opportunity to gauge yourself against your peers. You learn a lot of skills while meeting like-minded people and you learn a lot of stuff, stuff that you might not have the chance to learn while working in the field.”

Brenton will now go on to represent Marlborough at the National Young Viticulturist of the Year at the upcoming Romeo Bragato Conference later this month.

In second place this year was Matt Duggan from Cloudy Bay, while third place went to Jaimee Whitehead from Treasury Wine Estate.

Section winners from yesterday’s competition were;
ANZ Speech Winner – Dan Manuge
Gascoigne Wicks Theory – Matt Duggan
Bio Start Horti Sports – Matt Duggan
Marlborough Research Centre Practical – Brenton O’Riley

Dan Manuge from Sea Level Wines will represent Nelson at the National Finals after he was invited into the Marlborough event due to Nelson not running a separate competition.

For further information:
Marcus Pickens, GM Wine Marlborough
Mob: +64 21 831 820
Ph: +64 357 79299

Photo attached: From left Jaimee Whitehead, Brenton O’Riley and Matt Duggan.

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