Jake Dromgool from The Landing in Kerikeri became the Auckland/Northern Young Viticulturist of the Year 2018. He will go through to represent the region at the National Final at the end of August and will be the first Northlander to ever compete in this prestigious Final.
Dromgool is very proud to represent his region and 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. 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” says Dromgool.
As well as working at The Landing, Dromgool has planted his own vineyard and recently launched his own wine brand called 144 Islands.
Congratulations also goes to Robbie Golding from Mudbrick, Waiheke who placed second, and also to Pietro Aloisi from Marsden Estate also in Kerikeri who came third.
The Auckland/Northern Regional Final was held at Goldie Estate where the five competitors undertook a mix of practical and theoretical challenges covering all aspects of viticulture, including pruning, trellising, pests & diseases, soil nutrition and budgeting. Section prizes were given for each challenge and Monty Petrie from Man O War, Waiheke, who entered the competition for the first time this year was delighted to win the machinery and irrigation sections.
The contestants also had a quick fire buzzer round and went head to head in the BioStart Hortisports race which was won by Matt Dixon from Te Motu, Waiheke.
The day culminated with the awards dinner held at the stunning Tantalus Estate, where the contestants also each gave a speech.
“It was a great day and the vast range of challenges helps the contestants measure their own strengths and weaknesses. 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.” Says Nicky Grandorge, National Co-Ordinator.
Dromgool will go on to compete in the National Final this year being held in Martinborough at the end of August. He will compete against five other contestants from other wine growing regions around the country. This was the first regional competition for 2018, with the others taking place over the next two months.