Kudos for Kerikeri
Jake Dromgool, from The Landing, in Kerikeri, has been named the Bayer Auckland/Northern Young Viticulturist of the Year 2018.
He will be the first Northlander to represent the region at the national final in August.
Mr Dromgool said he was very proud to represent his region, and to be able to draw attention to its wines.
“My career ambition is to see the Bay of Islands recognised as being a destination for fine wines, fuel the growth of the industry within my region, and to help take wine from the North to the world,” he said.
“I believe that despite the obvious difficulties of viticulture in the North we have something to offer the market that no other region can quite match.”
As well as working at The Landing, he has planted his own vineyard, and recently launched his own wine brand, 144 Islands.
Robbie Golding, from Mudbrick, Waiheke, was the regional runner-up, with another Far North contender, Pietro Aloisi, from Kerikeri’s Marsden Estate, third.
In the regional event five finalists undertook a mix of practical and theoretical challenges covering all aspects of viticulture, including pruning, trellising, pests and diseases, soil nutrition and budgeting.
The day culminated with the awards dinner, where each contestant gave a speech.
“It was a great day, and the vast range of challenges helps the contestants measure their own strengths and weaknesses,” national co-ordinator Nicky Grandorge said. “To win the competition is a huge achievement, and shows the winner has worked hard to perfect the very wide range of skills and knowledge required for running a successful vineyard.”
Jake Dromgool, Kerikeri’s Young Viticulturist of the Year.