Rhône Rangers offer scholarships for chefs and sommeliers

By From page C8 | February 15, 2013

The Rhône Rangers are pleased to announce a new scholarship opportunity for chefs and sommeliers in collaboration with the James Beard Foundation.

For more than 15 years the Rhône Rangers have supported viticulture and enology students with scholarships and research grants focused on Rhône varietal wines grown in America.

Many of these recipients have gone on to become winemakers and vineyard managers, fulfilling the mission of the Rhône Rangers founding members.

Under a new partnership with the James Beard Foundation, the Rhône Rangers will now also offer the opportunity to chefs or sommeliers with an interest in American-grown Rhône varieties to continue their education through a focused travel study grant of up to $5,000. The grant will be offered in spring through the James Beard Foundation.

“We are delighted to launch our partnership with the Rhône Rangers creating a travel study grant focused on American-grown Rhône varieties,” said Susan Ungaro, president, James Beard Foundation. “With this new travel study grant, we hope to give professional chefs and sommeliers the opportunity to discover the unique properties and dining appeal of Rhône wines grown here in the U.S.”

“As an organization, this travel study grant complements our educational mission. We hope that the grant will help a chef or sommelier gain an understanding of Rhône varietal wines and an appreciation for the terroir of the various growing regions in this country” said Jay Tibbitts, chairman of the Rhône Rangers Scholarship Committee.

The grant recipient will be compensated for their travel expenses to meet with winemakers and vineyard managers at Rhône Rangers member wineries.

Member wineries are located across the country from New York to Virginia, Michigan, Washington, Oregon and throughout California.

Upon completion of their travels, the grant recipients will use their experience to create new food and wine pairing options for their restaurant customers.

Chefs and sommeliers with an interest in Rhône varietal wines are encouraged to apply for the grant in April.

Details and instructions about the travel study program will be announced on the James Beard Foundation Website in early April. Awards are granted in August, with travel completed during the winter months, following harvest.

The Rhône Rangers are a group of roughly 150 wineries dedicated to making wines from the 22 grape varieties originally made famous in France’s Rhône Valley.

For a winery to join the Rhône Rangers, they must produce at least one wine that contains 75 percent of any single approved varietal (or combination of these varietals).

For more information visit

Founded in 1986, the James Beard Foundation is dedicated to celebrating, nurturing and preserving America’s diverse culinary heritage and future. A cookbook author and teacher, James Beard was a champion of American cuisine who helped educate and mentor generations of professional chefs and food enthusiasts.

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