The Shout Magazine (New Zealand)

2023 Young Winemaker of the Year regional winners

The 2023 Tonnellerie de Mercurey Young Winemaker of the Year competition is underway, with the Marlborough final the first to be held in early September.

Contestants are tested on a number of aspects of wine production, including a cellar challenge, laboratory tests, blending, fault-finding, blind-tasting, marketing, wine knowledge and wine judging.

Following the regional finals, the national final will take place on 31 October at The Bone Line in Waipara, North Canterbury.

The national winner will take home an prize package which includes a visit to the Tonnellerie de Mercurey (cooperage) in Burgundy, and the opportunity to be an associate judge in the New World Wine Awards and review wines in a trade publication.

Key dates:

Marlborough – 13th September 2023
Central Otago – 21st September 2023
North Island – 28th September 2023
National Final – 31st October-1st November

The winners…


Callum Haynes from Matua Wines was named the Marlborough Young Winemaker of the Year at a competition held on 13th September at NMIT. Nick Lamain from VinLink came in second and Lara Campbell from Clos Henri was third. The other contestants were Zack Andrews, Hunter’s Wines; Henri Steele, Spring Creek Vintners; Lan Zhang, Pernod Ricard and Saphal Acharya, Booster Wine Group.

Section prizes were won by Nick Lamain who gave the best Fruitfed Supplies speech; Callum Haynes who won the Indevin Tasting section; Lan Zhang who won the lunchtime Vin Olympics and Henri Steele who won the People’s Choice for her aromatic Marlborough white blend.

Central Otago
Eliana Leal from Amisfield was named the 2023 Tonnellerie de Mercurey Central Otago Young Winemaker of the Year at ompetition was held on 21st September at VinPro in Cromwell. Eliana, 29, moved to New Zealand from Argentina in 2018 and discovered her passion for wine when she worked a vintage in Hawke’s Bay.

With a background in biotechnology she then undertook a diploma in oenology at EIT. She has now settled in Central Otago and loves her role as lab technician at Amisfield. Paiqi Oscar Cau, also from Amisfield, came second and Callum Scarborough from Felton Road came third.

North Island

Alena Kamper from Sacred Hill in Hawke’s Bay took out the title of 2023 Tonnellerie de Mercurey North Island Young Winemaker of the Year, following the competition held at Indevin’s Gimblett Gravels winery on 28 September.

The 22-year-old performed strongly across the wide range of tasks, which included blending, wine market knowledge, cellar skills, wine tasting and an interview. Casey Mackintosh from Indevin came second and Frances Robertson-Best from Te Mata was third.

Callum Haynes, Eliana Leal and Alena Kamper

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