Wine Australia searches for next star of hospitality

Wine Australia and the Daniel Pontifex Memorial Trust are searching for the next big name in hospitality.

The Daniel Pontifex Scholarship recognises the passion and enthusiasm of tomorrow’s leading hospitality professionals, rewarding them with a place on Wine Australia’s trade and press visit to Australia in November.

Daniel Pontifex, whom the scholarship commemorates, was killed in a car accident during his employment at Kensington Place Restaurant in London. Daniel had previously worked in Adelaide, Australia, with Shaw + Smith’s Michael Hill Smith MW who, along with Daniel’s family, went on to initiate the scholarship in his name in 1998.

Each alternate year a scholarship winner from the UK and Australia respectively is invited to experience the hospitality sector in the contrasting country. This provides them with access to industry leaders and offers insights into the world of wine.

Past winner and 2015 panellist Alessandro Marchesan described his scholarship as “one of the greatest experiences of my life.

“The opportunity to travel around Australia’s best wine regions, to meet and work with the best winemakers and to have some working experiences in some of the best restaurants boosted not only my knowledge but also gave me great confidence to carry on with my career,” he said.

Wine Australia regional director Laura Jewell MW said the scholarship was instrumental in providing support to the shining stars of the future.

“Enthusiasm and a genuine interest in wine will be more important to the panel than academic background or literary merit,” she said.

“We look forward to celebrating Australia’s vibrant wine industry with the lucky winner and helping develop their career with this unique experience.”

The winner of the 2015 scholarship will be selected by a panel of the UK’s leading wine professionals including Laura Jewell MW; Liberty Wines’ managing director, David Gleave MW; restaurateur Rowley Leigh and past winner and Zuma-Roka-Oblix group sommelier and wine buyer Alessandro Marchesan. The winner will receive funding towards travel, insurance, accommodation and expenses.

To enter, applicants are invited to submit a short essay (500-750 words) explaining why they believe they are a suitable candidate, together with an abridged biography. Applicants are expected to have a strong interest in wine and may work in any area of hospitality. Interviews will be held in mid-August in London. Submissions should be made by email to: by July 31.