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George Gamblin was the sort of engaged, loving father who encouraged his children to pursue their own passions and successes. He quizzed his children on SAT vocabulary words at the dinner table and showed a great sense of pride when his children received athletic, academic, or professional accolades throughout their lives.

His own life was filled with accomplishments — Dr. Gamblin, as his patients knew him, practiced medicine for more than 25 years after serving as an officer in the U.S. Navy. Yet his greatest joy in life was family. Strong and stoic, his support and love were never-ending.

Every year, a Dr. George T. Gamblin scholarship will help foster higher learning in wine education. Gamblin passed away in early 2018, but his passion and his natural sense of intellectual curiosity, which he passed down to his two children, will go on to inspire others in the field of wine. Gamblin’s daughter, Mary Margaret McCamic, became a Master of Wine in 2016, and memories of shared bottles of wine with her father helped, in part, inspire the scholarship.

She recalls, “My dad was a man who viewed wine as a simple beverage for most of his life. He drank a glass of Inglenook Chablis with an ice cube in it throughout my childhood. When I decided to pursue wine as a career, and become a Master of Wine, he started to see it differently. He saw wine as a great connector, a humble beverage that encompasses so many things – history, culture, science. He loved that it was something that was so academically challenging, while also captivating and inspiring. I want this scholarship to do for others what my dad did for me – encourage higher learning, while also reminding us that things like wine enhance the human experience.”

The family-funded George T. Gamblin Memorial Scholarship will be awarded annually to one second-year Master of Wine student. McCamic’s own love of learning and dedication to climbing the wine world’s version of Mount Everest [the Master of Wine] was driven in large part by her father. The scholarship award is based on a submitted essay, which is read blind (without knowledge of the author) by the family. The topic is wine, but creativity is encouraged. Submissions are open to any enrolled second-year Master of Wine student around the world.

The first scholarship was awarded last fall. Åsa Wahlström, a second year Master of Wine student who resides in Sweden, received $500 to be used toward the purchase of wine to study for the practical portion of the Master of Wine exam. Costs for tasting and mastering the large diversity of wine styles around the world can be quite expensive.

For a look at the winning 2018 submission, further guidelines on the scholarship award, and to learn more about the life of George T. Gamblin, visit georgetgamblinmemorial.com. This scholarship is a beautiful tribute to a man who worked tirelessly to help his children find their own passions and successes.

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Catherine Bugue is the St. Helena Star’s tasting panel writer and is the co-founder of the Napa Valley Wine Academy in Napa.

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