The Shout Magazine (New Zealand)

Hawke’s Bay Young Vit competition completed during Level 2 restrictions

Sam Bain from Constellation Brands has been named the Corteva Hawke’s Bay Young Viticulturist of the Year 2020.

Due to COVID-19 Alert Levels changing on 12 August and Hawke’s Bay being moved to Alert Level 2, the competition was held behind closed gates, limiting numbers to just contestants, judges and two supporters per contestant. 

Being outside and spread out across the vineyard as contestants rotated from station to station also ensured social distancing was well observed along with high levels of sanitisation. 

The awards dinner has been postponed until Level 1 resumes.

“We were very grateful the competition could still go ahead,” says Nicky Grandorge, National Co-ordinator of the competition. 

“Everyone’s health and safety was paramount and the team worked incredibly hard the day before to ensure the competition could run safely and smoothly in line with government guidelines for the sudden change to Alert Level 2.”

Nick Putt from Villa Maria came in second and Douw Grobler from Trinity Hill was third.   

There were eight contestants competing in total. The other five contestants were Sarah Hunt from Villa Maria, Sam Sherratt from Indevin, Kurt Kelly from Craggy Range, Robbie Golding from Church Road and Casey Motley from Te Mata.

“Although it was a much quieter competition than usual, the contestants gave it their all and the atmosphere was very positive and upbeat,” says Paul Robinson, Regional Organiser. 

Sam Bain will go on to represent Marlborough in the National Final in Martinborough in October. Organisers say that plans will be adapted, if necessary, to be in line with current COVID-19 Alert Levels. 

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