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Sonoma youth excel at county pruning contest

The Sonoma Valley participants in the 2014 Youth Pruning and Viticulture Challenge posed together at the end of an exciting day.

The Sonoma Valley participants in the 2014 Youth Pruning and Viticulture Challenge posed together at the end of an exciting day.

Lorna Sheridan/Index-Tribune Education Editor

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The 10th annual Sonoma County Youth Grapevine Pruning Contest and seventh annual Viticulture Challenge were held in January at Shone Farm in Santa Rosa. The pruning contest judged skill, speed and safety, and was open to all Sonoma County Youth from 9- to 19-years-old. Thirty-six youth competed.  Sonoma’s Pat Stornetta and Christine Neles organized the event with support from the Sonoma County Winegrape Commission and co-sponsorship with the Santa Rosa Junior College’s Ag and Natural Resource Department.

The Sonoma Valley 4-H students to receive awards:  

Ages 9 to 11: First-place – Kacy Minehan; second-place – Hunter Halkovich; third-place – Kylee Minehan. Minehan also won the belt buckle for the 9 and under division.

Ages 12 to 13: First-place – Annie Neles; second-place – Sarah Kiser; third-place – Ryan Sherwood. Neles was awarded the belt buckle for high scores in the junior division.

Ages 14 to 15: First-place – Ava Castro; third-place – Dawson McCahon (Sonoma FFA). Castro had the all around high score and was awarded the belt buckle for the senior division.

Ages 16 to 19: Second-place – Logan Breeden of Hanna High School.

Sonoma Valley 4-H was the winner of the High 4-H Team award.

The Viticulture Challenge consists of a series of questions targeted to each age group. The questions change each year and are related to viticulture in general and to Sonoma County, specifically.

The Sonoma winners were:

Ages 8 and under: First-place – Hank Sullivan; third-place – Kacey Minehan.

Ages 9 to 11: First-place – Hunter Halkovich; second-place – Ross Neles; third-place – Kylee Minehan.

Ages 12 to 13: First-place – Sarah Kiser; third-place – Annie Neles.

Ages 14 to 15: First-place – Ava Castro; second-place Azalea Cross third-place – Nicholas Vides (all of Sonoma FFA)

Ages 16 to 19: Third-place – Mia Castro (Sonoma Valley FFA).