A first-place finish in the Napa Valley Pruning Contest that eluded Alfredo Segura on three previous trips to the final eight was finally his last Friday.
Segura, a foreman at Spring Mountain Vineyard, topped 60 other vineyard workers in the competition, which was in its 12th year at Beringer’s Gamble Ranch in Yountville. The Napa Valley Grapegrowers organization hosts the annual contest.
What Segura did was comparable to an athlete in any sport summoning up something extra when a championship is on the line. The 1:34 time he posted in pruning his assigned area of vines in the finals was 11 seconds faster than the time he clocked in qualifying for the final eight.
It was also, Segura said, his best time ever in the pruning competition. How his 94 seconds stacked up against the times of top pruners in prior years is unknown. Because art and skill in the pruning event weigh in as much as speed, the competitor with the fastest time is not always the winner.
But, taking into consideration each of these factors, a good case can be made for Segura as the best pruner among all vineyard workers in Napa County. It is unlikely that anyone can match his record of first-, second-, third- and fourth-place finishes in the event and advancing to the eight-man final in four of the six Napa Valley Grapegrowers competitions (from original fields of 60 entries) in which he was entered.
“What a talent to have on our team! He’s the best and we are very fortunate to have him,” Ron Rosenbrand, vineyard manager at Spring Mountain Vineyards, said of Segura, who has been employed at Spring Mountain since 1988.
“He’s been fabulous as our crew leader. He’s very hard-working and a gentleman as well and has a great family with his wife and a couple of kids,” Rosenbrand added.
Additionally, Segura has been lauded for passing on his know-how to younger workers.
“His ability to teach and help the next generation along is stupendous,” Rosenbrand said.
For his first-place finish, Segura took home an armload of prizes. Among them was a custom belt buckle trophy and $600 in cash. He was also awarded shears, a lopper, a saw, a handheld blower from Volvo Equipment Rental, a $250 Visa gift card and a Sunridge Nursery jacket.
Second-place finisher Jorge Marron of Komes Ranch was awarded $400 plus shears and loppers, a $200 Visa gift card and a jacket from Sunridge.
In third place was Victor Silvestre of Renteria Vineyard Management, who received $200, plus shears, a saw, a Sunridge jacket and a $200 Visa gift card.
Fourth-place winner Paulino Velasquez of Hall Wines took home a $100 and a $150 Visa gift certificate, plus shears, a saw and a Sunridge jacket.
All pruning equipment for the competition was provided by sponsoring Central Valley Builders Supply. Supplemental gift cards were donated by Silicon Valley Bank.