Katrina Jackson, who received the Nikolas Dow Memorial Scholarship in 2014, gained a Bachelor of Viticulture & Oenology at Lincoln’s graduation ceremony on Friday.
Nikolas Dow (known as Niki) graduated five years ago with his own BVO after coming to Lincoln from Auckland’s St Kentigern College. He was working in 2013 at a vineyard in Portugal when he and another winemaker were killed in a car crash.
Niki’s parents, Maria and Clive Dow, flew from Auckland to see Katrina receive her qualification.
Niki’s family and friends established a charitable trust in 2013 to provide funding to young people interested in careers in the wine industry.
Katrina first met Niki’s relatives two years later when she flew to Auckland to attend an annual golf event that was organised to raise money for the scholarship.
“I was welcomed into the home of the Dow family and since then, I have spent a lot of time with them,” she said. “They are an incredibly generous and loving family and I keep in touch with them several times a year.”
Niki’s parents said yesterday they were proud of their son’s legacy.
“It’s a bittersweet day, as Niki’s graduation was only five years ago, so it’s very fresh in our minds,” Mr Dow said. “But the association with Lincoln means a lot. Other universities are big and impersonal, but Lincoln is different and it’s very special to us. Niki loved it here.”
The group met with Chancellor Steve Smith before the graduation ceremony, with Mr and Mrs Dow gifting the University a bottle of commemorative wine from the Portugal vineyard where Niki worked.
“The vineyard produced the wine from the 2013 harvest, which Niki had been working on when he passed away,” Mrs Dow said.
“It’s a special label, made as a tribute to the two who were killed and Niki’s name has been printed on the cork.”
Since finishing her studies at Lincoln, Katrina has worked at vineyards in both New Zealand and Portugal and is now the Assistant Vineyard Manager of Central Otago’s Chard Farm Winery.
The Chard Farm Winery was one of the first vintages to employ Niki and Mr Dow recently contacted the owner to ask if future Lincoln graduates could be given the opportunity to work there.
“He really liked the idea,” Mr Dow said.
Source: Lincoln University