For the third year running, Hawke's Bay has taken out the top spot in the Bayer Young Viticulturist of the Year 2016.

Cameron Price from Villa Maria Hawke's Bay has claimed the prestigious title, beating strong contenders from around the country at the Bragato Wine Awards.

Contestants had to perform a series of practical tasks, answer a series of questions, be interviewed and give a speech.

It is the second award for the up-and-coming viticulturist this year - Mr Price also won the Hawke's Bay Young Viticulturist of the year 2016 in July. He is now set to compete in the Young Horticulturist of the Year in November.


The 26-year-old, originally from Palmerston North, said his passion for viticulture and wine led him to Hawke's Bay to study viticulture in 2008.

He continues to study part-time as he furthers his career working fulltime and upskilling on the job as well.

Having competed in the regional competition for two unsuccessful years and progressing to the national award for the first time, Mr Price was not expecting to win, let alone take home both awards.

"It's an accumulation of years of learning and recognition of the time and effort I have put in to get to where I am at. I was not expecting to take the win and am blown away by it."

For the national competition, Mr Price said it was a matter of "finding his weak points and working on those", as well as making use of the resources available.

Since taking up the position as vineyard supervisor at Villa Maria's Ngakirikiri, Vidal and Twyford Gravels vineyards in May, Mr Price has gone from strength to strength.

Gearing up for Young Horticulturist of the Year, he expects he will be doing a lot of study in the lead-up, as well as speaking to past winners of the national competition, Caleb Dennis from Craggy Range, who received the accolade in 2015, and Paul Robinson, also from Villa Maria, who won in 2014.

Mr Price's prize package comprises a $5000 AGMARDT travel scholarship, a Hyundai Santa Fe for a year, $2000 cash, wine glasses and a leadership week where he meets some of the top leaders in the New Zealand wine industry.

National co-ordinator Nicky Grandorge said, "The judges commented several times what a high calibre group of contestants there was in the competition and what positive, respectful and genuinely nice guys they all were, which is exactly what we are looking for from our future leaders".