McLaren Vale sommelier set for 2018 Wayne Thomas Scholarship

Oliver Budack of Gemtree Wines receives award

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Oliver Budack 2018 Wayne Thomas Scholarship winner

Oliver Budack 2018 Wayne Thomas Scholarship winner [©Wayne Thomas Scholarship]


Oliver Budack, cellar door manager at McLaren Vale’s Gemtree Wines has been awarded the 2019 Wayne Thomas Scholarship.

Named after prominent McLaren Vale wine identity, the late Wayne Thomas, the annual scholarship recipient receives a fully funded place at the Australian Wine Research Institute’s Advanced Wine Assessment Course and the opportunity to judge as an Associate Judge at the McLaren Vale Wine Show – one of Australia’s most significant wine shows.

As a newer resident to the region, hailing from Germany and a qualified Sommelier – Oliver is grateful for the opportunity to progress his wine sensory and analysis capabilities.

“Being new to the area I wanted to find an opportunity to be more engaged with my industry and to contribute to it in a meaningful way. I also want to build on my existing wine knowledge and education, and to become a qualified wine judge. Wherever I am, I always want to learn more and deepen my journey into wine,” said Mr Budack.

“It will be a great pleasure to support a wide range of wine events, meet lots of people, form relationships and to be a strong advocate for the local industry.”

In completing the AWAC course, Oliver will experience different wine styles from around the world and develop his sensory vocabulary and palate calibration alongside esteemed industry peers during the intensive four-day workshop.

These newly acquired skills will be put into practice in October 2019 when Oliver will be an associate judge in the McLaren Vale Wine Show.

McLaren Vale Grape Wine and Tourism Association General Manager, Jennifer Lynch, reaffirms the region’s reputation as a home of talented and passionate wine industry ambassadors.

“The scholarship enables recipients to advance their judging profile whilst also developing knowledge and experience to benefit our region and industry,” said Ms Lynch.

The Wayne Thomas Scholarship is funded by proceeds raised through the annual McLaren Vale Wine Show awards luncheon, the Winemakers Bushing Lunch.

“Oliver joins an esteemed collective of McLaren Vale leaders that have completed the same sensory course over the last ten years, and who have since received many accolades for their businesses, thereby enhancing our region’s reputation as a haven for fostering leadership in the wine industry.”


  • McLaren Vale (SA)

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October 16th, 2018
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