Jake Dromgool, from The Landing, in Kerikeri, Northland's first ever national finalist, has placed third at the 2018 Bayer Young Viticulturist of the Year Award.

"He was very proud to draw attention to the wines of his home region. He has also recently released his own label, 144 Islands, another great achievement for this young viticulturist," national co-ordinator Nicky Grandorge said.

The award sponsors and judges had commented that the calibre of the finalists seemed to have jumped another level again this year, all the contenders shining in their knowledge and professionalism, she added.

The award went to Central Otago, for the second time, courtesy of Annabel Bulk, assistant viticulturist at Felton Road.

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"She was delighted that all her hard work over the last few years had paid off. She is very passionate about viticulture, and has proved she has the skills and knowledge to become one of the New Zealand wine industry's future leaders," Ms Grandorge said.

"It is encouraging to see more women have entered the competition around the regions this year, and it is a great achievement for Annabel to take out the overall title, as she excelled in both practical and theoretical sections."

"Viticulture is certainly an exciting and varied career for both men and women."