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Increased Geoffrey Roberts Award finds a new home

16 Dec 2013 by Jancis Robinson

The Worshipful Company of Vintners in the City of London and the Trustees of the Geoffrey Roberts Trust, the registered charity that has run the annual international Geoffrey Roberts Award since 1996, are delighted to announce that the Award will henceforth be administered by the Vintners' Company.

The Geoffrey Roberts Trust was established thanks to generous contributions by the friends, family and associates of Geoffrey Roberts, who died at the age of 46 in 1994. The Award was created to commemorate his life and work as a pioneer importer of top-quality New World wines into the UK and was run annually by Neville Abraham CBE, Sally Clarke, Nicholas Lander, Willie and Venetia Lebus and me, Jancis Robinson OBE MW.

The Award of an annual £3,000 travel bursary was given to someone who impressed upon the judges that their travels were likely to make a positive difference to the worlds of wine and/or food. Since its inception, the Geoffrey Roberts Award has helped put wines made from ancient Carignan vines in Chile's under-appreciated Maule region on the world map; brought farmers' markets to Australia and then researched how they might help the economically disadvantaged; facilitated Professor Roger Corder's book The Wine Diet; made a real difference to the lives of tsunami victims in Sri Lanka; yielded a brand-new Somerset cheese, Ogleshield; helped African rural communities to help themselves; and exposed a young Georgian wine producer to modern winemaking techniques in some of France's top properties.

After 17 years of successful administration, those running the Geoffrey Roberts Trust felt it was time for the Award and its funds to find a permanent new home. The Vintners' Company, celebrating its 650th anniversary this year and with a strong commitment to both the UK wine trade and charitable activity, was felt to be the ideal body.

The Vintners' Foundation will maintain a sense of continuity by awarding an increased £4,000 bursary annually to a candidate who has a proven track record of successfully furthering the cause of wines from the New World, and who proposes to use the bursary to do something practical in the further promotion and development of New World wines.

Full details of the Award and how to apply for the 2014 Geoffrey Roberts Award can be found at www.geoffreyrobertsaward.com.

The new panel of judges will include some of:

  • Jancis Robinson OBE, MW - wine writer and broadcaster, and former chairman of judges of the Geoffrey Roberts Award
  • Willie Lebus - director of Bibendum Wines, and former trustee of the Geoffrey Roberts Trust
  • Nick Lander - restaurant writer and former trustee of the Geoffrey Roberts Trust
  • Anthony Sykes - Master, the Worshipful Company of Vintners
  • Michael Cox - Wines of Chile, and Past Master of The Vintners' Company
  • Simon Berry - chairman, Berry Brothers & Rudd
  • Susan McCraith MW - David Bell McCraith Wines
  • Rupert Clevely - former owner of Geronimo Inns, and Upper Warden, The Vintners' Company
  • Mickey Davies - Past Master, The Vintners' Company
  • Sam Dow - Past Master, The Vintners' Company

The deadline for applications for the 2014 Geoffrey Roberts Award, to be made via www.geoffreyrobertsaward.com, is 31 March 2014.

For further information, please contact: geoffreyrobertsaward@vintnershall.co.uk.

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