Congratulations to Alena Kamper from Sacred Hill in Hawke’s Bay who is the 2023 Tonnellerie de Mercurey Young Winemaker of the Year. At just 22, she is the youngest person ever to win this prestigious and coveted title.
Despite initially being nervous to enter, but then taking the plunge and working hard has certainly paid off.
The national final took place at The Bone Line in North Canterbury on 31st October, with the three finalists delivering their speeches at the Altogether Unique Wine Industry Celebration in Christchurch on 1 November, when the overall winner was announced.
The other finalists were Callum Haynes from Matua in Marlborough and Eliana Leal from Amisfield in Central Otago. They too both won section prizes highlighting how tough the competition is and what inspiring young people there are in the wine industry.
Alena won the Fruitfed Supplies best speech and the Indevin Wine Judging Section. Eliana won the best Hillebrand Gori presentation on AI in the wine industry and for her laboratory skills. Callum won best interview and essay on how to make various rosé styles.
The judges were highly impressed not only with their winemaking skills but also their passion and vision for the future of the New Zealand wine industry.
“It is inspiring and exciting to see so many passionate and talented young winemakers coming through.” says Nicky Grandorge, Leadership & Communities Manager at New Zealand Winegrowers. “Our future is certainly in good hands.”
The finalists were also thrilled to share the stage with wine industry fellows and pioneers, as well as the internationally revered Oz Clarke OBE at the dinner.
Apart from being crowned the 2023 Tonnellerie de Mercurey NZ Young Winemaker of the Year, Alena took home an amazing prize package which includes $1000 cash, a visit to the Tonnellerie de Mercurey (cooperage) in Burgundy, the opportunity to be an associate judge in the 2024 New World Wine Awards and review some of her favourite wines in DrinksBiz magazine.
The competition is made possible by all the generous sponsors: Tonnellerie de Mercurey, Fruitfed Supplies, Indevin, Hillebrand-Gori, FMG, Laffort, New Zealand Winegrowers, Programmed Property Services, Tira Crown, Visy, New World, Winejobsonline, NZSVO and Pernod Ricard.