The North Coast Winegrowers held the second annual North Coast Regional Pruning Championship recently at Mendocino Junior College in Ukiah.

The top two pruners were Vincente Aguilar taking first place honors and Sergio Acevedo receiving second place, both from Beckstoffer Vineyards in Mendocino County.

The competition was the result of preliminary pruning contests held in the grape growing regions of the North and Central Coasts over the last month. Preliminary contests were held in Napa, Sonoma, Marin, Lake and Mendocino counties, with more than 175 vineyard workers competing in preliminary trials leading up to the championship meet.

Judging was based on pruning quality as well as speed.

“These guys are the best of the best. The North Coast is known for its world-class grapes and it is because of the skills of these vineyard workers. I would put them up against vineyard workers anywhere in the world,” said Henry Bisordi, president of the North Coast Winegrowers.

$100 to $2,000 in prize money

Winners of the competition took home between $100 and $2,000 in prize money and all were treated to lunch at Redwood Valley Cellars.

The annual competition recognizes the skills, dedication and hard work of vineyard workers in the North Coast, where the wine grapes last year were valued at $874 million.