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Australian body starts search for young hospitality professional for wine scholarship

Published:  24 June, 2015

Young hospitality professionals are being invited to compete for a scholarship with the chance to visit Australia's wine country.

The Daniel Pontifex Scholarship commemorates a former employee at Kensington Place Restaurant in London who died in a car accident. It was initiated in 1998 by his family and Michael Hill Smith MW, of Australian producer Shaw & Smith, where Pontifex had also worked.

It is awarded in alternate years to someone from the hospitality industry in either the UK or Australia and always includes a visit to the opposite country.

UK applicants for this year's award have to submit a short essay, of between 500 and 700 words, explaining why they think they are a suitable candidate, along with an abridged biography.

Applicants may work in any area of hospitality but are expected to have a strong interest in wine.

Interviews will be held in mid-August and the winner will get a place on a trade trip being hosted by Wine Australia in November.

The judging panel includes Wine Australia regional director Laura Jewell MW, Liberty Wines managing director David Gleave MW, restaurateur Rowley Leigh and past winner Alessandro Marchesan, group sommelier and wine buyer of Zuma-Roka-Oblix.

Marchesan said: ""The opportunity to travel around Australia's best wine regions, to meet and work with the best winemakers and to have some working experiences in some of the best restaurants boosted not only my knowledge but also gave me great confidence to carry on with my career."

Jewell added: "Enthusiasm and a genuine interest in wine will be more important to the panel than academic background or literary merit.

"We look forward to celebrating Australia's vibrant wine industry with the lucky winner and helping develop their career with this unique experience."

Submissions should be made to by July 31.