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A Blenheim viticulturist has been selected to represent the NZ Winegrowers sector at this year’s Young Horticulturist of the Year Competition.
Indevin Grower Relations Partner Tahryn Mason will face representatives from six other horticultural sectors at the competition’s final in Auckland during November 7,8.
Tahryn is the third Indevin employee in recent years selected to battle it out at the Young Horticulturist of the Year (Kaiahuone rangatahi o te tau) final. He follows in the footsteps of Sam Bain who finished second last year, and Rhys Hall who, in 2021, won the coveted Young Horticulturist title. Both remain with Indevin – Sam as Springhill Vineyard Manager in Central Hawkes Bay, and Rhys as Group Technical Viticulturist in Marlborough.
Tahryn’s path to the Young Horticulturist finals started with a summer job at Villa Maria in Auckland back in tertiary education student days.
“I was putting bird netting on over the grapes pre harvest, and then removing them, never expecting that would lead anywhere. That was my first taste of the industry,” he shares.
The taste was obviously appealing as he returned while studying (mainly social policy) moving on to start assisting with the harvest, and tackling a little pruning work, and then deciding there may be “something of a career in viticulture”.
A vineyard assistant job came first, then an operational role.
“I was quickly exposed to the breadth of the industry, especially as there was a wine making team on site at Villa Maria too. Working at Villa Maria – a meticulously managed, high-end boutique vineyard – offered a quick introduction into the fine arts of viticulture.”
New challenges and increasing responsibilities suited Tahryn just fine. In 2020 he was talking job opportunities with Villa Maria in Marlborough, appreciating the large difference in scale between Auckland and the larger Marlborough operations. A job as a machinery operator in the vineyards was followed the next year with a supervisor’s position. When Indevine purchased the Villa Maria brand in 2021 he carried over. Further promotion, to his current role, followed after he won the National Young Viticulturist of the Year competition last year.
Tahryn is no stranger to competition. He has competed three times at the Young Viticulturist Competition, honing his skills to achieve last year’s big win. Now he’s giving back – as a member of Marlborough’s Young Viticulturists’ regional committee.
Tahryn says his role as Grower Relations Partner rounds out his professional development.
“I wanted to apply the knowledge I have gained, and I enjoy working with growers.
The Young Horticulturist Competition’s official partners are: Countdown, Fruitfed Supplies and T&G Fresh.