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GRIFFITH local Nick Schirripa’s passion for the wine industry has been acknowledged with the 2014 Sydney Royal Wine Scholarship.

A joint initiative of the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW (RAS) Foundation and Macquarie Group Sydney Royal Wine Show, the Graham Thorpe Scholarship was created in honour of past chairman of the Sydney Royal Wine Committee.

Schirripa, a fourth-year wine science and viticulture student at Charles Sturt University (CSU) in Wagga Wagga, will receive $2500 towards his tertiary studies is steward at the 2014 Macquarie Group Sydney Royal Wine Show this week.

He said he fondly remembered the time spent on the family farm helping his dad and uncles cultivate grapes, rockmelons, wheat, rice and pumpkins.

“I first stepped into a winery owned by a family friend when I was 14,” he added.

“It was this experience, coupled with my time growing up on the farm that encouraged me to pursue a degree that could combine my love of the wine industry and farming.

“This scholarship provides me with the amazing chance to meet and network with industry leaders and be exposed to new techniques and information.

“I aspire to be the best possible viticulturist and hope to influence the next generation to take up a career in this rewarding industry.”

Sydney Royal Wine Show Committee chairwoman Lyndey Milan said the scholarship would give Schirripa extra benefits, including an insight into wine judging from across Australia and the chance to network and learn from industry experts, including international judge Lisa Perrotti-Brown.

RAS Foundation executive officer Jocellin Jansson said the partnership between the foundation and the Sydney Royal Wine Committee helped foster the industry at the grassroots level.

“This scholarship was created to assist in the development of Australia’s next generation of wine industry leaders,” she said.

“Nick is a worthy recipient and we look forward to seeing him continue to develop his passion and skills as he completes his studies.”

Visit http://www.rasf.org.au for details about the foundation.

* The above article was sourced from The Land and was published on 4 February 2014 by author Robyn Ainsworth.