Viticulturist heading back to national final

Zoe Marychurch is making headway in the world of winemaking. Photo: Supplied
Zoe Marychurch is making headway in the world of winemaking. Photo: Supplied
Young North Canterbury viticulturist Zoe Marychurch is bound for the national Young Viticulturist of the Year contest after winning the South Island leg earlier this month.

Ms Marychurch, who also contested the nationals last year, became the Bayer South Island Regional Young Viticulturist of the Year following the competition at Greystone in North Canterbury.

The competition was open to contestants from North Canterbury, Nelson and Waitaki, to find a representative for the region at the nationals.

Lucas Percy, who works with Ms Marychurch at Pegasus Bay Winery at Waipara, was runner-up and won the BioStart Hortisports race.

The other two contestants - Jarnieze McRoberts from Waiata Vineyard, in North Canterbury, and Lacey McPherson, from Viticultura in Waitaki - were competing for the first time.

The contestants worked their way around a variety of both practical and theoretical questions, as well as a quick-fire buzzer round.

The awards dinner was held at Black Estate Winery, at Waipara, where the local wine community enjoyed a meal produced from primarily locally grown produce.

Here, the contestants delivered a three-minute speech and the winners were announced.

Ms Marychurch will be one of six competing at the national final in conjunction with the Bragato wine awards at the end of August, in Hawke's Bay.

She also represented North Canterbury last year in the nationals and was hoping this experience would stand her in good stead this year.

Event national co-ordinator Nicky Grandorge said regional organiser Mike Saunders, from Greystone Winery at Waipara, did a great job bringing the local wine community together.

''We are very happy to see this regional competition start to establish itself, giving more ambitious young vits the opportunity to take part in the programme.''

The national winner will take home a Hyundai Kona for a year, and receive an Ecotrellis Travel Grant, Bahco golden secateurs, a leadership training week and cash.

The winner will also go on to represent the wine industry in the Young Horticulturist of the Year Competition, in November.

There is also an Agmardt prize for the best national finalist's project, which they will undertake in the build-up to the national final.

-By Robyn Bristow

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