The Shout Magazine (New Zealand)

Marlborough’s Young Winemaker of the Year

NZLN-Young winemaker of the year-bannerAbigail Maxwell of Babich Wines has been named Marlborough’s Young Winemaker of the Year, after winning the region’s inaugural Tonnellerie de Mercurey Young Winemaker competition.

Six competitors vied for the title at the Marlborough Research Centre, taking part in activities which tested skills such as blending, marketing, fault-finding and competency with equipment.

Though she had not known what to expect, Maxwell enjoyed the entire day and thought it was “fabulous”. She said: “The organisers did a fantastic job. There was a bit of everything you’re expected to do as a winemaker.”

There were 13 applications and the final six were selected based on their answers, their experience and what they were doing in the industry currently. They all had to be under 30 and had to have done at least two harvests in New Zealand. Shelley Young from Delegat’s came second, while Josh Hammond from Villa Maria was third in the regional competition.

Originally from South Auckland, Maxwell was interested in winemaking since she was a teenager, being impressed by the vineyards when she travelled down to visit her grandparents in Marlborough.

Maxwell did her degree in wine science at the Eastern Institute of Technology in Hawke’s Bay, after studying biotechnology at the University of Auckland.

Maxwell has been at Babich Wines since returning from her OE in Ireland nearly two years ago, and she was really enjoying the variety of work she was able to do there.

Maxwell will compete against other regional winners at the national final, held at the Romeo Bragato Conference in Hawke’s Bay in August.