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Canadian winner for 2012 Yalumba Scholarship

Canadian winner for 2012 Yalumba Scholarship

The Institute of Masters of Wine and Yalumba, Australia’s oldest family-owned winery, are delighted to announce that Elsa McDonald is the winner of the 2012 Yalumba Scholarship.

This generous scholarship is awarded annually to one second-year student in the Institute’s study programme who is based outside Australia or New Zealand. It enables the winner to attend the Institute’s annual Australasian residential seminar in Adelaide and to spend a week visiting the Yalumba vineyards, nursery and winery near Angaston.

Elsa McDonald was born in Scotland, and moved to Canada at the age of five. In 2003 she left a career in Management Consultancy to pursue her passion for wine via a series of regional wine courses in France and the WSET Diploma. Elsa is currently Director of the Constellation Brands Academy of Wine for Canada, and sits on the board of directors for the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers. When she isn’t studying, Elsa loves the outdoors and spends her time canoeing, hiking, or most often just eating al fresco.

Elsa said: “I am absolutely thrilled with the opportunity to study and explore with Yalumba. It’s very timely as Australia’s regional diversity and distinctions are coming to the forefront in the Canadian market.”

Applicants for this year’s scholarship were asked to pen an essay in response to the concept of ‘Masttige’ and diminishing brand image. In 1,000 words, entrants had to explore and discuss the concept of high volume and high value being mutually exclusive (or not), with both actual examples and their own insights into the phenomenon.

This year the competition for the scholarship was more close-fought than ever before. Institute student Patrick Schmitt, who is editor of The Drinks Business magazine, also received honourable mention for his submission.

There are plans afoot for Patrick to visit Yalumba too before his Master of Wine exam in June next year.

Fifth generation Yalumba proprietor Robert Hill Smith said: “We are proud to be associated with The Institute of Masters of Wine and it is important to me that Yalumba continues to support this valuable programme. Winery experience remains an integral factor in wine education and one that we are committed to sharing with the wider wine community.

He continued, “Elsa will have the rare opportunity to immerse herself alongside our experienced viti and vini teams and absorb and question our philosophies and techniques. Our team, their knowledge and resources will be at Elsa’s disposal for the duration of her visit and this is a great opportunity for her to drill down into the real nuts and bolts of winery life and gain focussed, on-ground experience’’.

Jean-Michel Valette MW, Chairman of the Institute, said: “Congratulations to Elsa on her success and thanks again to the team at Yalumba for providing this wonderful learning opportunity to one of our students. Bringing wine communities together and facilitating the exchange of knowledge is at the heart of what the Institute does. This scholarship embodies that ethos.”