Alex Beckett wins Sydney Royal Wine Show Scholarship

CHEERS: Alex Beckett is the winner of the Sydney Wine Show scholarship.MAITLAND’SAlex Beckett,a fourth-year viticulture and wine science student at the University of Adelaide, has been awarded the prestigious 2016 Sydney Royal Wine Scholarship.It gives Mr Beckett, 24, $5000 towards his tertiary studies and a place as a steward at the judging of the 2016 Sydney Royal Wine Show from July 18 to 21.Born and educated in Maitland, Mr Beckett’sparents operate a Maitland truck driver training school.He developed an interest in wine while working part-time in Hunter Valley wineries and cellar doors.

After school, however, he spent two years in a linguistics degree course at Newcastle University, but in 2013 put himself on track to a winemaking career at Adelaide University.

His Sydney Royal scholarship win was announced this week by Sydney Wine Show committee chair, Lyndey Milan.

Ms Milan said the scholarship gave young winemakers the chance to network and learn from industry leaders.

Mr Beckett, who had shown his enthusiasm by acting as a steward at the 2015 Sydney show, would this year gain greater insights into the judging of wines from across Australia from such experts as international judge Michelle Bouffard, said Ms Milan.

Mr Beckett, who graduates from the Adelaide degree course this year, said he counted himself very lucky to have grown up in the Hunter, which created opportunities from his first cellar door job through to the scholarship.

“One of my favourite varieties, due to its unique flavour and quality, is my home region’s Hunter Valley semillon 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,” he said.