By Ian Williams
A great idea conceived over lunch is proving a winner for young people in the Barossa with training and career opportunities in the local wine industry.
Four winery owners are pooling their resources to create a special shiraz wine with the profits funding two scholarships a year for disadvantaged youth.
The second vintage of Concordis Wine has just been released and, like the first, is in hot demand.
Two Hands Wines owner Michael Twelftree says the venture is all about giving back to the community which has been so good to them.
“The whole concept came from the fact that we aren’t locals but the Barossa has been incredibly good to us,” says Michael.
“We wanted to give disadvantaged youth in the Barossa or northern suburbs of Adelaide an opportunity to work in one of our wineries with money raised from the initiative paying for their tuition at TAFE.”
Another close friend, Torbreck Wines owner Peter Kight from the US, was invited to join the scheme which aims to raise about $700,000 over four years.
Each of the four wineries donates about one tonne of quality shiraz every year and take it in turns to ferment and produce the Concordis wine which is bottled in magnums.
The first vintage of 1,600 magnums was produced by Two Hands and sold out, while senior winemaker Fiona Donald at Seppeltsfield made the second vintage.
The wineries have partnered with the Barossa Foundation which is managing the scholarship program.
“All the costs are taken up by the wineries but a lot of the bottling and packaging costs are donated by our suppliers,” says Michael.
“The scholarships are funded by the interest raised from the education fund so hopefully it will go on for generations.
“After four years we may have other winery partners that want to join us in our crusade so it will just get bigger and bigger.”
Nathan Eyers, 19, is one of the first scholarship winners and has secured a position as a cellarhand at Seppeltsfield while studying a Certificate 2 in wine industry operations at TAFE.
“Winning the scholarship has made a big difference for me, I was really chuffed,” says Nathan. “It would have a been so much harder for me to get into the industry if I hadn’t won it. It’s a challenging job but I love it.”
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