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Geoffrey Roberts award helps Sri Lanka

Published:  23 July, 2008

The 2005 Geoffrey Roberts Award, an annual international travel bursary worth 3,000 (US$6,000) and named after the UK's New World wine pioneer, has been won by Mary Taylor of New Zealand.

Taylor has been running food tours of Sri Lankan tea plantations for some time and is determined to spend her travel bursary on improving conditions for three small fishing communities on the south coast of Sri Lanka, which are currently in desperate need of support. Her Project Oru 100 aims to raise sufficient funds to build 100 outriggers, the boats on which the locals here depended for their chief source of food and income until the tsunami of 26 December 2004 destroyed 80% of them. Taylor will raise money in New Zealand by running a series of food-related seminars.

The runner-up in this year's award is Viv Menon, a young man whose Anglo-Indian family live in France, near St-Emilion, and who has just completed a Wine MBA at Cirencester College. His aim is to have a positive influence on India's emerging wine culture, and to this end the Geoffrey Roberts Trust plans to cover his expenses for a trip to visit wine producers in the state of Maharashtra to improve his understanding of the emerging Indian wine market.