Bayer Young Viticulturist of the Year Annabel Bulk from Felton Road Wines in Central Otago has taken out another competition, New Zealand's Young Horticulturist of the Year 2018.
The competition was held over the 7th and 8th November, where Annabel competed against five other finalists from other horticultural sectors - Landscaping NZ, NZ Flower Growers, NZ Horticulture, NZ Plant Producers and NZ Amenity Horticulture.
Annabel is assistant viticulturist at Felton Road Wines in Bannockburn where she has worked for six and half years. During her final year’s study for her Bachelor of Viticulture and Oenology degree through Lincoln University, she took a six-week work experience placement. That turned into a permanent job where she has gained a breadth of experiences including organics and biodynamics, pruning, canopy work and tractor work through to working in the winery.
"I thought for quite a long time that I was going to end up on the wine side of the industry. The thing that really fascinated me was the biology that goes on in the plants. We can throw all sorts of stuff at them and they’re still continuing to grow. And then have this amazing fruit which we can turn into wine — it speaks to the place and tells the story."
“It’s fantastic for Central Otago to have another person win at the national level,” said Felton Road winemaker Blair Walter. Another Felton Road protégé, Nick Paulin, won the national Young Viticulturist title back in 2011. “It points to a pretty nice history for people getting to work with [Felton Road viticulturist] Gareth [King]. …It shows the level he is able to cultivate with his team,” said Walter. “We’re extremely proud of Annabel, and what she’s achieved.”
She is the first woman to win the Young Horticulturist of the Year award since 2007. Women remained under-represented in viticulture compared to other industries, such as gardening and forestry, she said.
This is a huge achievement and very exciting to see one of the New Zealand wine industry's future leaders emerging. Congratulations Annabel!