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30/10/2008

The Inaugural Wayne Thomas Scholarship awarded to a gem

The McLaren Vale Wine Show and the McLaren Vale Grape, Wine and Tourism Association have awarded the inaugural Wayne Thomas Scholarship to McLaren Vale Winemaker Mike Brown of Gemtree Vineyards.

Mike will attend the Australian Wine Research Institute Advanced Wine Assessment course and have the opportunity to be an Associate Judge at the 2008 McLaren Vale Wine Show.

The Gemtree Vineyards Director and Winemaker has been involved in the industry since 1987 and has worked both in wine marketing and winemaking and is delighted about his win.

“I have been trying for six years to get into the AWRI course.” Mike said.

“I know from my peers that the course is awesome and those who have completed it have gained a wealth of knowledge and been given the opportunity to judge at wine shows.

“I am delighted for two reasons, firstly it’s a fantastic opportunity and secondly because it’s Thommo’s scholarship. He was a great supporter of furthering knowledge and making great wine, so I am thrilled to be the first recipient of the award.

“I love what I do and am very lucky to have found a career that I’m happy to work in for the rest of my life. I get to travel the world selling our wine and meet some great people at the same time — how cool is that,” he said.

The aim of the scholarship is to foster judging talent from McLaren Vale by improving sensory skills and providing training techniques. The winner will experience different wine styles from around the world, and develop a standard vocabulary and palate calibration with their industry peers.

Twenty two entries were judged by a panel including Tim James, Ian McKenzie, Peter Dry and Wayne’s son, Andrew Thomas.

The scholarship is aptly named after one of McLaren Vale’s best winemakers, Wayne Thomas, who passed away in 2007 after a long battle with cancer, he held the title of Bushing King for best wine in the region in 2004 and 2006.

The scholarship is open to all members of the McLaren Vale wine industry including cellar door staff, marketers and viticulturists.

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