by Johann Olivier

It is a year of firsts, both for the 2014 recipient of the Dombeya Scholarship and the Scholarship itself. This year the worthy 2014 recipient, Salvester van Rooyen, will hop on a plane for the first time ever in his life to study and work to further advance his career in Australia. This year also marks the first time the Scholarship has not been awarded to a graduate from the University of Stellenbosch.

Salvester van Rooyen will leave South Africa for Australia on January 24 for his first visit ever to another country and the first time away from his family for longer than a day. He is also the first Dombeya Scholarship recipient to visit Australia’s Hunter Valley in the process of completing the scholarship program.

Salvester’s journey to Australia marks the beginning of a new era for South Africa’s most innovative, wine industry based, affirmative action initiative. Career advancement opportunities for wine industry employees without tertiary qualifications have traditionally been limited, and The Dombeya Scholarship has redefined its goals over the past two years towards this end.

As an employee of Haskell Vineyards in Stellenbosch with the experience of six vintages with this award winning winery under his belt, Salvester will spend six weeks at Brokenwood Wines in the Hunter Valley under the guidance of legendary winemaker, Iain Riggs. One of Australia’s most respected industry figures, Riggs has recently celebrated his 30th anniversary at Brokenwood, a winery established in the 1970’s by a partnership of Australian wine figures that included the respected writer, James Halliday.

Van Rooyen will reside at Brokenwood during his tenure, and is scheduled to return to South Africa in early March for the conclusion of the South African vintage.

Regular updates will be made regarding the progress of the 2014 Dombeya Scholarship via social media and the Dombeya and Haskell Vineyards websites. (,