It was the first time student winemakers were included in the highly-regarded wine show, an annual event dedicated to showcasing Marlborough(external link) as a leading wine region.
The opportunity came about thanks to NMIT Viticulture and Winemaking lead tutor, Nadine Worley, who approached Harriet Wadworth, marketing and communications manager at Wine Marlborough, about including students in the show.
Harriet agreed and the Ginkgo Trophy was created especially for the student category of the show, named for the Ginkgo tree in the Marlborough NMIT campus.
As part of the Wine Production course, students get the opportunity to produce their own wine, making full decisions about the ingredients, pressing of the grapes, variety, skin contact, and more with an allocated 50 kilograms of grapes.
Students were then able to enter their wines into the Marlborough Wine Show, to be judged by international wine judge and Master of Wine student, Jack Glover. Student wines made for the competition included Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and Pinot Noir.
Henri Steele was the winner of the student competition and awarded the Gingko Trophy for her “Steele Pinot Gris 2019”. Jack’s judging notes said that Henri’s wine had a “layered palate with cleansing juicy acidity” and the pear and red apple skin gave it “varietal intensity”.
Henri says it was exciting to make a wine from start to finish and to have it entered in such a prestigious wine show. “It was cool to be able to make my own wine. At a lot of other institutes you don’t get to do that until your second or third year,” she says. “It was really good to see how I could put two and two together and put the management practices into play.”
She says she chose to study winemaking at NMIT because of the hands-on practical nature of the course, and the location was close to home. Henri was also encouraged by her employers, Berakah Vineyard Management(external link) “I really want to thank them for their support and how they have allowed me to gain experience and to continue working in the industry while I am studying.”
“I’m dyslexic and learn better by example,” she says. “It also looked like the class would be one-to-one with the tutors and there would be lots of hands-on learning. I felt like I got so much great support from the tutors and really recommend the course to practical learners.”
Henri says she hopes to take what she learns at NMIT and apply it to improving her parents’ vineyard and wine business in Marlborough.