Alena Kamper wins Young Winemaker of the Year

At just 22, Alena Kamper from Sacred Hill in Hawke’s Bay is the youngest person ever to win this prestigious and coveted title

Alena Kamper

Youth proved no barrier to knowledge at the recent 2023 Tonnellerie de Mercurey Young Winemaker of the Year competition.

At just 22, Alena Kamper from Sacred Hill in Hawke’s Bay is the youngest person ever to win this prestigious and coveted title. 

The national final took place at The Bone Line in North Canterbury on 31 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.

Other finalists were Callum Haynes from Matua in Marlborough and Eliana Leal from Amisfield in Central Otago. 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 with their passion and vision for the future of the New Zealand wine industry.

"It’s inspiring and exciting to see so many passionate and talented young winemakers coming through," says Nicky Grandorge, leadership and 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 a prize package that 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 sponsors, such as 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.

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