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Boston sommelier Kate Webber wins invitation from premier Australian wine dynasty

Boston sommelier Kate Webber wins invitation from premier Australian wine dynasty

The Institute of Masters of Wine and Yalumba, Australia’s oldest family-owned winery, are delighted to announce that Kate Webber of Boston, Massachusetts, has won the 2013 Yalumba Scholarship following an essay competition.

Kate, who is a second-year student in the Institute’s Study Programme, will be flown from the United States to Adelaide at the end of November as part of her prize, and will have her accommodation paid for over the week of the Institute’s Adelaide seminar. Following the seminar she will be privileged with a one-week private visit to the Yalumba vineyard, nursery and winery at Angaston in the heart of the Barossa valley.

Yalumba was established in 1849. Over the 160 years since the very first vines were planted by moonlight, five generations of the same family have contributed to its enviable reputation for quality winemaking. Yalumba is the only vineyard in Australia to have its own on-site cooperage.

Kate is the Wine and Beverage Director for the Webber Restaurant Group in Massachusetts including the Gibbet Hill Grill, the Scarlet Oak Tavern, the Bancroft Chophouse and Fireside Catering. Outside of the restaurants she works as a freelance wine writer and a wine and spirits judge, where she gets most excited to judge Australian wine, Spanish wine, bourbon and tequila. She is the co-founder and current vice-chair of the Boston Sommelier Society, which focuses on tasting groups and educational seminars throughout eastern Massachusetts. Prior to working in the wine industry, Kate received her MFA in creative writing and taught fiction writing, screenwriting and literary editing at the University of Virginia while working as the executive assistant for the former Poet Laureate of the United States.

Kate Webber said: “I’m very honoured to have been chosen to receive the Yalumba scholarship this year. As quality regional wines from Australia begin to gather more international acclaim, it’s important to bring attention to the fact that there is a rich dynastic history to this quality in Australia that has been underappreciated for so long in many international markets. Yalumba’s generosity is allowing me to witness the nuances and complexity of these wines up close, and of course this is appropriate coming from Australia’s oldest family-owned winery whose history spans back over 160 years. I look forward to the opportunity to study at the residential seminar in Adelaide this year and to spend a week in the Yalumba vineyards and winery, and I thank Yalumba and the IMW for the chance to do so.”

Fifth generation Yalumba proprietor Robert Hill-Smith said, “The scholarship offers one winner the rare opportunity to experience everything we do at Yalumba first hand working alongside our experienced viti and vini teams. This year challenged us with the best series of essays we have seen in recent years and the final decision wasn’t an easy one. We are very excited to be hosting Kate here in Angaston, and hope the experience will be mutually beneficial for her to not only learn from us, but to also make a contribution to our learnings at Yalumba.”

Selection for the scholarship was via an essay chosen from a pair of options. Kate elected to address the following question:

“Things are looking up again for the Australian Wine Industry in its international markets – or are they? The depreciation of the Australian Dollar is helping a reinvigorated Wine Australia in their promotional efforts. Events such as Savour aim to show of the diversity and interest that Australian wine can offer, but are the customers and gatekeepers being engaged?”

Penny Richards, Executive Director of the Institute of Masters of Wine, said: “Yalumba have been providing this magnificent opportunity for travel and learning to IMW students for a number of years, and we are very grateful to them for their continued support via this scholarship. I know it will be an unforgettable experience for Kate, and one that she richly deserves.”

Ends (25 Oct 2013)


For enquiries about this release please contact:
Ben McKeown
Communications Manager, Institute of Masters of Wine
T: +44 (0)207 383 9131