Viti­cul­tur­ist win ends drought


It has been six years since a fe­male viti­cul­tur­ist has taken on the blokes - and won.

Fel­ton Road viti­cul­tur­ist Annabel Bulk be­come the Bayer Cen­tral Otago Young Viti­cul­tur­ist of the Year 2017 af­ter a hard­fought bat­tle against seven other con­tes­tants at the Otago Poly­tech­nic Cen­tral Cam­pus on Fri­day.

Young Viti­cul­tur­ist of the Year na­tional co-or­di­na­tor Nicky Gran­dorge said Bulk was the first fe­male con­tes­tant through to the na­tional fi­nal since 2011.

She is also only the fourth ever fe­male to com­pete in the fi­nals.

‘‘Five out of the eight con­tes­tants were girls this year, which was a real en­dorse­ment that viti­cul­ture makes an ex­cit­ing ca­reer for both men and women.’’

Bulk said she had placed sec­ond and third in pre­vi­ous years so was thrilled her hard work had paid off and fi­nally took out the ti­tle.

Chal­lenges in­cluded trel­lis­ing, at­tach­ing a mulcher to a trac­tor, prun­ing, first aid, wine as­sess­ment, ir­ri­ga­tion and pests and dis­eases.

Mild weather made the dig­ging chal­lenges a lit­tle eas­ier, Gran­dorge said.

‘‘The colour­ful Biostart Hor­tisports race saw the con­tes­tants go head to head in var­i­ous chal­lenges in­clud­ing rolling bar­rels be­tween the vines and mak­ing up boxes.

‘‘Bahco pro­vided all the tools which the con­tes­tants could keep and Fruitfed Sup­plies cooked up a de­li­cious bar­be­cue.’’

Ben Holt, of Car­rick Es­tate, came sec­ond and Derek Beirnes, of Akarua, placed third.

The other con­tes­tants were: Alex Eas­ton, of Grape Vi­sion; An­nie Gilchrist, of Fel­ton Road; Brenda Stringer, of Pere­grine; Han­nah Meehan, of Pere­grine and Ka­t­rina Jackson, of Chard Farm.

Bulk will now rep­re­sent Cen­tral Otago in the Na­tional Fi­nal on Au­gust 29, held in con­junc­tion with Bra­gato - this year in Marl­bor­ough. She would com­pete against fi­nal­ists from Auck­land/ North­ern, Hawke’s Bay, Wairarapa and Marl­bor­ough.

The na­tional win­ner not only gains the ti­tle of Bayer Young Viti­cul­tur­ist of the Year 2017, but a Hyundai Santa Fe for a year, a $5000 AGMARDT travel schol­ar­ship, $2000 cash, wine glasses and a lead­er­ship week where they meet some of the top lead­ers in the New Zealand wine in­dus­try. They also go on to rep­re­sent the wine in­dus­try in the Young Hor­ti­cul­tur­ist of the Year Com­pe­ti­tion in Novem­ber.


Annabel Bulk from Fel­ton Road is the Bayer Cen­tral Otago Young Viti­cul­tur­ist of the Year 2017.

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