The Shout Magazine (New Zealand)

NZ Young Winemaker of the Year 2020 announced

Ben Tombs

Ben Tombs from Central Otago has been named the 2020 Tonnellerie de Mercurey NZ Young Winemaker of the Year.

Tombs is Assistant Winemaker at Peregrine Wines in the Gibbston Valley and the first Young Winemaker from Central Otago to win the competition.

The other national finalists were Ben McNab from Matahiwi in Wairarapa and Peter Russell from Matua in Marlborough.

The finalists had to prepare a presentation in advance about what the future wine consumer looks like and how New Zealand can maintain its competitive edge around the world.

“It was obvious that all three had done some thorough research and thought deeply about what makes New Zealand wines unique and where they thought we should focus in the future,” said the judges. “They were very inspiring.”

They also had to complete a laboratory module, write an essay on creating a small parcel of Chardonnay for vintage 2022, complete a CAPEX paper on the pros and cons of replacing a humidifier in a barrel hall, have an interview and judge some wines.

Finally, they each gave a speech at the Awards Dinner about why their wine growing region is the best to visit this summer.

“We felt very lucky to hold the competitions this year,” says Nicky Grandorge, Leadership & Communities Manager from NZ Winegrowers.

“They are important for helping our future winemakers stretch themselves and start making a name for themselves, as well as bring the wine community together to support them and celebrate success.”

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