Liquid Icons – the fine wine research and content production company founded by the late Gerard Basset and Lewis Chester – has announced the recipients of 12 new scholarships for BAME/BIPOC wine students.
The winners were chosen by the same judging panel that is responsible for awarding the two Taylor's Port Golden Vines Diversity Scholarships, the winners of which will be announced on 7 October at the Golden Vines awards ceremony. The panel included: Nina Basset, Rajat Parr of Sandhi Wines, Carlton McCoy of Lawrence Wine Estates, Clement Robert of the Birley Clubs and Annabel's, and lead judge Jancis Robinson.
The Golden Vines Masters of Wine and Master Sommelier Scholarships are each worth £12,500 and will cover the full costs of tuition, examination and tastings incurred by the student studying for these programmes. The scholarships are being funded by the Gerard Basset Wine Education Charitable Foundation from money raised at the awards ceremony.
The winner of the Golden Vines Masters of Wine Scholarship is Mags Janjo (pictured), the British founder of MJ Wine Cellars and bamewineprofessionals.co.uk; while the winner of the Golden Vines Master Sommelier Scholarship is Winnie Toh, an Advanced Sommelier Certificate holder and sommelier from Singapore working for Aman in the Turks & Caicos Islands.
Robinson said: "Because I knew Mags personally already, I let my fellow judges assess Mag's suitability. They were unanimously impressed by his drive, determination to fill the gaps in his knowledge, and by what he has achieved to-date, both as an educator and someone determined to enrich the ethnic mix of those involved in wine and hospitality.
"We were all hugely impressed by Winnie's wine journey, from a junior internship at Raffles hotel in Singapore 20 years ago to managing an international team of sommeliers at an Aman resort in the Caribbean. She says, ‘I will become Asia's top female sommelier and I will mentor future generations of sommeliers who need help like me.' And we are sure she will!"
Janjo said: "I am delighted and honoured to be awarded this prestigious and highly sought-after award. Having spoken with fellow applicants, I am certain that all would have been worthy recipients of the Golden Vines Masters of Wine Scholarship. I am under no illusions as to the size of the task ahead, and look forward to repaying the confidence of the judges and the Gerard Basset Wine Education Charitable Foundation through hard work and dedication."
Toh added: "I am humbled and overwhelmed with joy for being the recipient of the Golden Vines Master Sommelier Scholarship. My leap of faith has taken me onto paths less travelled to achieve my career goals. I am grateful to the judges and my community for believing in me and cheering me on. My mission is to be an inspiration for young sommeliers finding their path. I will relentlessly continue my journey in wine by being a mentor and reflect the good work of the late Gerard Basset and the wine icons who have contributed to my growth over the years."
Nina Basset, trustee of the Gerard Basset Wine Education Charitable Foundation, said: "We are delighted to be able to offer these two additional scholarships to such talented, deserving members of the BAME/BIPOC community so that they can reach their full potential in the wine industry and act as role models to encourage other members from these communities to consider a career in wine. We look forward to seeing them succeed at the highest level of our industry."
Thanks to the Wine Scholar Guild, 10 applicants to the Taylor's Port Golden Vines Diversity Scholarships were awarded Golden Vines Wine Scholar Guild Scholarships, allowing them to enrol on one of the Wine Scholar Guild's advanced French, Spanish or Italian Wine Scholar Certification Programmes.
The 10 winning scholars are:
- Olufikayo Ifaturoti
- Nikan Jooyani
- Shalva Khetsuriani
- Arlene King
- Oscar Marulanda
- Alec Merkt-Caprile
- Emma Ogiemwanye
- Tanmay Rathod
- Jai Singh
- Aki Sudo
Chester said: "We are delighted that the Wine Scholar Guild have decided to offer these most generous scholarships to BAME/BIPOC wine students chosen by our incredible panel of judges. Our aim is to make the world of wine more diverse and inclusive, and to do this, we need to find and promote a new generation of role models who can attract students from these communities globally to the wine industry. These new scholarships will certainly help in achieving that objective."
Julien Camus, chief executive and founder of the Wine Scholar Guild, said: "The Wine Scholar Guild is honoured to support the Golden Vines Scholarship initiative for BAME/BIPOC wine students by offering 10 Scholarships for our specialised Wine Scholar Study and Certification programs. We share the same vision and look forward to a long-term partnership with Liquid Icons and the Gerard Basset Wine Education Charitable Foundation to ensure that vision turns to reality."