Vineyard manager's win first for the region

Nick Paulin with his trophy for winning the Markhams Young Viticulturist of the Year contest, flanked by New Zealand Winegrowers chief executive Philip Gregan (left) and Sam Bassett, from Markhams. Photo by Emma Taylor.
Nick Paulin with his trophy for winning the Markhams Young Viticulturist of the Year contest, flanked by New Zealand Winegrowers chief executive Philip Gregan (left) and Sam Bassett, from Markhams. Photo by Emma Taylor.
The Central Otago wine industry is happy to bask in some reflected glory after a local man won the national Young Viticulturist of the Year contest.

Central Otago Winegrowers Association president Nick Mills said the win, by Peregrine Winery vineyard manager Nick Paulin (28), was wonderful news, especially as it was the first time a Central Otago competitor had taken top honours.

It was great to see Mr Paulin's talent being recognised at national level and his achievement would reflect positively on the Central Otago wine industry, Mr Mills said.

"We're all really proud of him and he's very much liked in the industry as well. It's good to see so many talented young people coming through the ranks in the industry."

Mr Paulin was one of three viticulturists who went to Burgundy in 2006 on the first exchange organised between French and Central Otago viticulture students, wine-makers and education staff.

The exchange was organised by the Otago Polytechnic Cromwell campus and the winegrowers association.

His prize package from the national contest includes $5000 worth of travel. Mr Paulin plans to return to France and also visit Italy and Germany, to study grape growing in those countries.

He was proud to be the first Central Otago person to have their name engraved on the contest trophy.

"It's good to put Central Otago on the map again and it shows that our industry is just as strong as any other wine-growing area in the country."

The other contestants represented Auckland, Hawkes Bay, Martinborough and Marlborough.