Friday, 03 November 2017 15:17

The best of the best

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And the winner is – Kelsey Daniels of Vinlink Marlborough. And the winner is – Kelsey Daniels of Vinlink Marlborough.

The Tonnellerie de Mercurey New Zealand Young Winemaker of the Year has been decided, after two months of heats and finals. And the grand title goes to – Kelsey Daniels, from Vinlink Marlborough.

The 26-year-old took out the national title from three other competitors, after a day of competition at Villa Maria Auckland in September. Second place went to Sara Addis from Trinity Hill in Hawke’s Bay.

The competition which underwent a major shift this year, was broken down into a North Island and a South Island competition, both held in August. The winner and runner ups from both competitions then went on to compete for the National title.

The competitors were tested on a range of skills that relate to their job as a winemaker, including; capex and financial analysis, blending, laboratory skills, marketing their wine, general knowledge, essay writing and presenting a speech in front of an audience.

For Daniels, the win “is honestly one of the best things to date in my career. The competition was really tough, the other contestants are at the top of their game and were such great competitors. This for me really confirms what I set out when I started in the wine industry. It’s an amazing industry and a dynamic group of people and I’m so proud to fly the flag for Marlborough.”

Aimed at winemakers under the age of 30, the competition’s goal is to find the best winemaking talent in the country, and promote it. Into its third year, Tonnellerie de Mercurey spokesperson, Sherwyn Veldhuizen, describes it as an important facet of the New Zealand wine industry.

“Each year the caliber of the contestants gets stronger, as does the expectation of them at the competition. This isn’t something that you can compete in without a lot of extra learning and extension, plus the support of employers and peers. The event is growing as is the wine industry of New Zealand and it is such a pleasure to meet and support these talented winemakers.”

Daniels walks away from the competition, not only with the title to her name, but also a prize package worth crowing about. She has won for herself a travel allowance, training grant, full registration to next year’s Romeo Bragato Conference, plus a spot in the judging team at the Bragato Wine Awards, a wine allowance, a trip to the Tonnellerie de Mercurey cooperage in Burgundy with airfares included – and a profile in an upcoming Cuisine Magazine.

Look out in the next issue of NZ Winegrower for a feature on the 2017 Tonnellerie de Mercurey Young Wine maker of the Year.


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