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Scholarship gives students wings further afield

R&I News | March 2024
22 Mar 2024
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Going into his final year of a Bachelor of Viticulture and Oenology at the University of Adelaide, Crispin Irish was hoping to work with a producer making high-end Chardonnay. 

Now, thanks to the Further Afield Scholarship – a partnership between Wine Australia and the University of Adelaide – Crispin has been able to fulfil his desire, working with Luke Jolliffe at Stella Bella in Margaret River.

“Luke crafts some incredible, unique chardonnays at Stella Bella which differ significantly from Margaret River's traditional style,” said Crispin.

“Working with him in a small team has allowed me to improve my cellar skills, while learning and questioning the parts of the winemaking process that make his wines so distinct. I hope that understanding these techniques will one day contribute to my own winemaking style.”

Crispin said the Further Afield Scholarship was valuable in lessening the financial burden of his temporary move back to his home state of Western Australia. 

Crispin Irish completed his internship at Stella Bella Wines in Margaret River

Further Afield is a competitive scholarship program that aims to create opportunities for University of Adelaide students to travel and work vintages beyond the inner regions of South Australia.

The students, in their final year of their Bachelor’s degree or final semester of their Masters, complete a 10-week, paid placement in a commercial vineyard or winery. In 2024, a total of nine students have received a scholarship that helps towards the costs of travel and accommodation interstate.

The coordinator of the program, Jill Bauer, said the program had a number of benefits for students and the wider wine sector.

“In the best of times, travel and relocation costs can be a real barrier to students when applying for vineyard and winery placement jobs interstate. The Further Afield Scholarship has opened up amazing opportunities for students to apply to regions remote to the University of Adelaide,” she said.

“The scholarship also benefits these regions, providing well trained viticulture and oenology students as their cellar and vineyard staff. It is a win-win for students and the sector.”

Molly Casey completed her internship at Oakridge Wines in Yarra Valley

Molly Casey – currently in her fourth year of the Bachelor’s degree for Viticulture and Oenology at the University of Adelaide – has a keen interest in Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon wines. So she was thrilled to land her choice of working at Oakridge Wines in Yarra Valley.

“What I find fascinating about being able to work at a winery in this region is despite it being fairly small, the topography varies widely throughout, allowing dissimilar varieties to ripen from the Upper Yarra to the Valley Floor.”

Molly said she hoped to gain general cellar experience at Oakridge. “Working within a small team I hope to learn as much as I can across all areas of the winemaking process from Oakridge’s reputable winemakers.”

“I am extremely grateful to be a recipient of the Further Afield Scholarship as it alleviated the financial burden associated with relocating from South Australia to the Yarra Valley for vintage and accommodation.”

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This content is restricted to wine exporters and levy-payers. Some reports are available for purchase to non-levy payers/exporters.