2018 Viticulture and Oenology graduate, Sophie Melton, is following in the footsteps of wine industry greats after taking home the prestigious Gramp Hardy Smith Memorial Prize at a ceremony in Adelaide last week.

The Prize is presented to the most outstanding student in the University of Adelaide Viticulture and Oenology program each year.

“Some big names and personalities in the wine industry have been presented with this prize, so I feel very humbled and a little surprised to be the recipient for 2018,” said Sophie.

“I really enjoy winemaking and the sense of community that comes with it, so the prize was a nice conclusion to my time at university and recognition of years of hard work.”

The Prize, first awarded in 1940 was founded by the Winemaker’s Association of South Australia to perpetuate the memory of L. H. Gramp, T. M. Hardy and S. H. Smith who lost their lives in an airliner disaster in 1938.

Accolade Wines Australia, Pernod-Ricard and Yalumba Family Vignerons donate the prize, in association with the South Australian Wine Industry Association as trustees.

Barossa-born and bred, Sophie’s interest in wine making developed at a young age, influenced by her father, acclaimed winemaker Charles Melton.

“I obviously spent a lot of time in a winery as a child, and my dad, Charlie, has definitely inspired me.

“He’s had some amazing achievements, but his advice has always been to stay humble, and have real belief in your style when it comes to wine making.”

Since graduating, the budding wine-maker has secured an Assistant Winemaker role at Thorn-Clarke Wines, where she has already completed two vintages with Chief Winemaker Peter Kelly, and is enjoying making the Sandpiper and Eden Trail Rieslings.

“Thorn-Clarke is such a great place to work. I feel really settled there, so I plan on staying put for a while, and learning as much as I can from Peter – he’s a fantastic mentor.

While Sophie is yet to work alongside her father, there’s no denying red wine is in the blood – and she’ll be one to watch.

“Like dad, I have a huge interest in Grenache and GSM’s so that’s something I would love to work on in the future.”

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