The talented son of Yenda farmers has won a prestigious wine scholarship to Germany – to work there as a consultant winemaker.
Robert Wood, 25, who works at Calabria Wines, has been awarded the Esther Knewitz Memorial scholarship.
He wins a return airfare to Germany, a six-month employment placement at a winery near Frankfurt and $1000 spending money.
For Mr Wood, there were two factors in his upbringing making him the perfect candidate for the scholarship.
“Dad runs a wine manufacturing business in town, he provides a lot of the wineries with fittings and wine tanks… and I grew up around grapes on a farm in Yenda.”
The memorial scholarship was devised to provide a lasting memory of the Esther Knewitz, an Oenology student from a German university who was tragically killed in a motor vehicle accident while undertaking practical training in Australia. This scholarship is said to provide an opportunity for a student with the same zest for life and community spirit to take part in the Bibber International Winery Exchange Program for vintage 2017.
Mr Wood is on his hattrick when it comes to winning wine scholarships.
“Back when I was at university I won the Casella wine scholarship… I got some money to help me through university and I was fortunate enough to be taken in by them for vintage in my final year.”
For the scholarship to Germany, Mr Wood departs Australia on 28 August and will be back in December – so he faces a gruelling schedule of back-to-back harvests.
“I’m really thankful to Calabria Wines, who have supported me throughout and who are holding my job for me while I am in Germany,” Mr Wood said.
In order to win the scholarship, applicants had to submit a updated CV, an autobiography, a statement of approximately 500 words (in English) outlining their achievements, both academic and personal, and how they believe that they will benefit from the experience with respect to personal growth and winemaking skills.
Esther’s parents Ann and Horst were among the judges who awarded the ultimate prize to Mr Wood.
Her parents soon after her death “Esther was a very popular person in the whole region, so that the word of her accident was spread over the whole “Rheinhessen” region within no time and the coverage of the media brought it into every last house. We see by the numberless sympathetic reactions of so many people, that they did not only know her, but that everybody truly loved her”.
Mr Wood, with his passion for winemaking, seemed the perfect candidate to honour her legacy.