Sunday, 20 December 2015 10:58

Well done Caleb

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Caleb Dennis has taken out the title of New Zealand Young Horticulturist of the Year. Caleb Dennis has taken out the title of New Zealand Young Horticulturist of the Year.

Once again a young viticulturist has taken out the title of New Zealand Young Horticulturist of the Year.

Caleb Dennis, the 27-year-old Group Technical Officer at Craggy Range in Hawke's Bay's was one of six individuals representing sectors within the horticulture field. Besides viticulture, the contestants represented Landscaping, Nursery & Garden, Amenity Horticulture and Vegetable, Fruit & Flower Growing.

Each of the contestants had to submit a Business Plans for a new product they would like to develop and launch. Dennis's plan involved launching a wine cellaring app that he is hopeful will eventuate into reality in the not too distant future.

Once they had presented those plans, the contestants were involved in a variety of interviews, covering topics such as a focus on sustainability, HR, plant disease and pruning. They also had to deliver a speech at the Grand Final dinner.

While preparing for the finals was months of hard work, Dennis not only takes home the title of Young Horticulturist of the Year, but an amazing prize package which included $7500 travel package and $1000 ICL Specialty fertilisers. He also won $3500 travel scholarship for winning the T & G Practical Activity Award and $2500 scholarship for the Fruitfed Supplies Leadership Award. Combined with the NZSVO travel sponsorship he won from the Bayer Young Viticulturist of the Year, he is looking at heading to California and Bordeaux next year, to learn about the various viticultural practices and challenges in those regions.

In the 11 years the Young Horticulturist of the Year has been running, Dennis is the 6th Young Viticulturist of the Year to win the competition.

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Our viticultural young guns: Caleb Dennis

Four contestants took part in this year's Bayer Young Viticulturist.
They are the subject of our Young Guns.

Name: Caleb Dennis

Age: 27

Occupation: Group Technical Officer – Craggy Range Vineyards – Hawke's Bay

 

How long have you worked in Hawkes Bay?

Five years

What brought you to this region?

The offer of a job at Craggy Range

Where have you travelled in wine to get here?

I haven't done much wine specific travel yet, but I have travelled in Europe, North America and throughout Asia which has given me a great insight into the cultures and customs of these places and I have utilised that experience in my various roles. I am certainly planning to go back to explore many of the world's wine regions that are on offer though.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Being part of a team that uses the best possible information to assist us in making decisions that allow us to produce fantastic fruit and wine, I get immense satisfaction when I see that fruit I have been a part of crafting during the season harvested and turned into fantastic wines I can share with friends.

What do you enjoy most about Hawke's Bay?

I really enjoy the lifestyle that is on offer here, there are a number of outdoor activities on your doorstep, as well as many more within a short drive, and if you're in a more lazy mood there are plenty of great cafe's and restaurants to go and spend a lazy Sunday afternoon enjoying some of the great wines the region produces.

When you're not making wine or growing grapes?

Right now I'm usually to be found renovating my house, but when I need a break from that I can often be found either at a café enjoying the Hawke's Bay weather, or off in the outdoors.

It sucks when....

It rains on the weekend.

Your favourite wine?

Pretty hard to go past a Bordeaux Blend from the Gimblett Gravels.

Which wine region excites you most right now?

I'm really getting into the Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc from Martinborough.

Future aspirations?

Right now I'm focusing on growing my knowledge and skill base, ultimately I would see myself in a national viticulturist role, or leading a great wine company.

Instagram @CalebDennis87

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