Annabel Bulk was thrilled when she heard her name announced as the winner of the 2108 Bayer Young Viticulturist of the Year recently, but it was flavoured with a note of disbelief.
Felton Road Wine's assistant viticulturist represented Central Otago in the national competition in Wellington and brought home the trophy, the first time it has been in the region for seven years.
Since returning to Cromwell, she has been inundated with congratulations, thanks and pats on the back.
The practical and theoretical challenges and the Hortisport competition were held at Palliser in Martinborough on August 27 and the winner was announced at the Romeo Bragato National Conference dinner in Wellington on August 30.
"When they read out my name, my first reaction was probably disbelief," Ms Bulk said.
"I was thrilled and super excited."
Scott Lanceley, from Foley Family Wines, in the Wairarapa was runner-up.
Jake Dromgool, from The Landing, in Kerikeri, was third.
Ms Bulk said she has received considerable support from her employers, friends, family and colleagues.
Ms Bulk will be going further to represent the wine industry in the Young Horticulturist of the Year competition to be held in Auckland in November.