Hunter Valley’s Alex Beckett Awarded 2016 Sydney Royal Wine Scholarship

Born and bred Hunter Valley wine enthusiast, Alex Beckett, has been awarded the prestigious 2016 Sydney Royal Wine Scholarship.

Mr Beckett, a fourth year Viticulture and Oenology student at the University of Adelaide, will receive $5,000 towards his tertiary studies, as well as the opportunity to steward at the 2016 KPMG Sydney Royal Wine Show, from 18 to 21 July.

Sydney Royal Wine Show Committee Chair, Lyndey Milan OAM, said the scholarship provides invaluable experience and support to young winemakers.

“It’s wonderful to be able to offer the opportunity of stewarding at the KPMG Sydney Royal Wine Show. Mr Beckett showed his enthusiasm by joining us last year too, but this year will provide him with greater insight into the judging of wines from across Australia, and the chance to network and learn from industry experts, including our dynamic international judge, Michelle Bouffard,” Ms Milan said.

Despite not being brought up in a wine-making family, Mr Beckett grew up around wineries and had the opportunity to immerse himself in the industry.  His first job was at a cellar door, and he has since grown into a knowledgeable and passionate young man with long term career aspirations in the industry.   

“I was very lucky to have grown up in the Hunter, which has created opportunities from my first cellar door job through to this amazing Scholarship opportunity,” Mr Beckett said.

“This year, I’m proud to be named as this year’s 2016 Sydney Royal Wine Scholarship winner and so thankful for the opportunity. I’ve been to several wine show’s around the country and I believe Sydney’s is the best, so I’m thrilled to be involved and am looking forward to gaining greater industry knowledge before I graduate university this year.

“One of my favourite varieties is my home regions Hunter Valley Semillon, due to its unique flavour and quality, and I’m very much looking forward to helping build the quality of not only the Hunter’s products, but Australia’s in my career ahead,” said Mr Beckett.

RAS Foundation Executive Officer, Kate Ross said that the partnership between the Foundation and the Sydney Royal Wine Committee helps foster the industry at the grassroots level.

“This scholarship was created to assist in the development of Australia’s next generation of wine industry leaders. Mr Beckett is a very worthy recipient and we look forward to seeing him continue to develop his passion and skills as he completes his studies,” Ms Ross said.

The Graham Thorp Memorial Scholarship is a joint initiative of the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW (RAS) Foundation and KPMG Sydney Royal Wine Show. It was created in honour of the past Chairman Graham Thorp, who presided over the Wine Committee from 1984-1990, and aims to foster the development of Australia’s next generation of wine industry leaders.

The RAS Foundation is a charitable foundation that encourages educational opportunities and helps build strong and sustainable rural and regional communities through a range of targeted community grants and scholarships.

Alex Beckett

Alex Beckett