From 1996 the Award of an annual £3,000 travel bursary was given to someone who impressed upon the judges that their travels were likely to make a positive difference to the worlds of wine and/or food.
In 2016 this was increased to £4,000 (about $6,500) and the award is now presented every two years.
The Geoffrey Roberts Award has helped put wines made from ancient Carignan vines in Chile's under-appreciated Maule region on the world map; brought farmers’ markets to Australia and then researched how they might help the economically disadvantaged; facilitated Professor Roger Corder’s book The Wine Diet; made a real difference to the lives of tsunami victims in Sri Lanka; yielded a brand new Somerset cheese, Ogleshield; helped African rural communities to help themselves; and exposed a young Georgian wine producer to modern winemaking techniques in some of France’s top properties.
The Vintners' Company endeavours to maintain a sense of continuity by awarding a bursary to a candidate who has a proven track record of successfully furthering the cause of wines from the New World, and who proposes to use the bursary to do something practical in the promotion and development of New World wines.
Applicants can be of any age, experience or nationality. They do not have to write perfect English, but they are all expected to complete the application.
The final decision will then be made by the panel of judges which will include some of the following persons:
- Jancis Robinson OBE, MW – wine writer and broadcaster, and former chairman of judges of the Geoffrey Roberts Award
- Rupert Clevely – former owner of Geronimo Inns and Master of the Vintners’ Company
- Anthony Sykes – Immediate Past Master of the Vintners' Company
- Simon Berry – Chairman, Berry Brothers & Rudd
- Susan McCraith MW – Davis Bell McCraith Wines & Vintners' Scholar 1992
- Mickey Davies – Past Master, The Vintners’ Company
- Sam Dow – Past Master, The Vintners’ Company
- Willie Lebus – director of Bibendum Wines, and former trustee of the Geoffrey Roberts Trust
- Nick Lander – restaurateur, and former trustee of the Geoffrey Roberts Trust