The 2024 Battle of the Secateurs

Wines of Great Britain (WineGB) held its national pruning competition, affectionately known as ‘The Battle of the Secateurs’, on 13 March 2024.

Around 60 competitors, judges, spectators, and sponsors (including Claire Seymour and Tim Sillence from NP Seymour) attended this annual event which was kindly hosted by Langham Wine Estate in Dorset.

Proudly sponsored by NP Seymour, the annual ‘Battle of the Secateurs’, which is organised in conjunction with Vine-Works and Yotes Court’s vineyard manager, Tony Purdie, sees individuals and teams compete for the ultimate accolade: the chance to be crowned ‘vine pruner’ or ‘vine pruners of the year’.

Held for the first time outside the South East of England, the competition attracted participants from across the UK with teams from Bride Valley, Gusbourne Kent, Gusbourne Sussex, Hattingley Valley, Ridgeview, Vineworks and Vinescapes. 

Competitors donned their gloves, sharpened their Felco secateurs, and prepared for a fierce contest. Both teams (who had to choose one person to prune, one to pull out and one to tie down) and individuals pruned a minimum of five vines in a specified period of time, with extra points to be gained from pruning and tying down extra vines. Points were awarded for speed, accuracy, and precision with a focus on spur positions, cane positions and sap flow.

The pruning was judged by an esteemed panel of industry experts, including lead judge Tony Purdie, James McLean, Langham Wine Estate, Travis Salisbury, Wiston, Tom Bailey, Wiston, Ben Brown, Agrii, Julian Searle, Agrii, and Tim Ferris, Hutchinsons.

First place in the individual competition was awarded to Daniel Bojan from VineWorks, second to Dragos Nitu and third to Naomi Solomon. 

In the team event, Gusbourne Kent was crowned the overall winner with Dragos Nitu, Alex Stancu and Ben Osbourne taking the ‘Battle of the Secateurs’ trophy home. Vine-Works’ team, Daniel Bojan, Catalin Tufareanu, and Daniel Cicu, were placed second, while third was awarded to Austin Ellis, Lars Lundqvist and Emily Paine from Ridgeview.

As a WineGB patron and the UK’s official Felco supplier, we have proudly sponsored the pruning competition every year since the event started. As in previous years, we once again provided winners with Felco goody bags.

This year’s first prizes included a pair of Felco 8,  911 holster, f602 saw, 703 gloves XL, a Felco 501 knife and Felco beanie. Second place took home a pair of Felco 8, 910 holster, 702 gloves XL and Felco beanie, while third place received a pair of Felco 8, 701 gloves XL and Felco beanie. All the winners were also given a soil thermometer from Hutchinsons.

“The pruning competition is one of my favourite industry events,” said Claire Seymour, director at NP Seymour. “It’s good to have an annual event that brings vineyard workers together, and it’s lovely to see the people who work hard ‘behind the scenes’ to care for the vines and ensure that they grow the very best grapes, which go on to make first-class wines.”

“It was a fantastic turnout – the competition gets better every year. It really showcases the art of pruning, one of the key jobs in viticulture and demonstrates the high level of skill we have in the UK.”

Other sponsors of this year’s event included Agrii, Felco, NFU Mutual, Vineyard Magazine and Vine-Works.

For more information on the Felco PowerBlade range of electric secateurs, as well as the other Felco manual secateurs and maintenance tools NP Seymour offers, please phone the office on 01580 712200 or email