By James Lawrence
Published: 07 February, 2022
Fine wine research and production company Liquid Icon has opened its diversity scholarship program to the 2022 intake, a scheme pioneered by the late Gérard Basset OBE MW MS and his friend Lewis Chester DipWSET.
Entitled The Taylor’s Port Golden Vines Diversity Scholarships, the program was set up to help aspiring black and ethnic minority students wishing to undertake the Masters of Wine (MW) and Master Sommelier (MS) programmes. It is open to candidates from all over the world, while the scholarships, worth up to £55,000 for each scholar, will cover the entirety of their course and examination costs, as well as loss of earnings during their work placement internships.
A total of 42 applicants from 23 countries applied for the 2021 scholarships, which saw Angela Scott, USA and Dr Erna Blancquaert, South Africa, scoop the prized scholarships. This year will see an additional scholarship being funded. The application window is open until Friday 8 April 2022.
The scheme includes a set of diversified work experiences with some of the world’s leading wine estates, including Catena Zapata in Argentina and Saint-Emilion’s Cheval Blanc.
In addition to the three Taylor’s Port Golden Vines Scholarships, four Golden Vines Master of Wine Sommelier Scholarships will also be awarded by the judging panel. The Master of Wine & Master Sommelier Scholarship Program is also for aspiring black and ethnic minority scholarships and are worth £12,500 each to cover the entirety of their course and examination costs for the Master of Wine or Master Sommelier programmes.
The judging panel for the 2022 intake includes Angela Scott, Clement Robert MS, and head judge Jancis Robinson MW.
Lewis Chester DipWSET, CEO of Liquid Icons, honorary president and head of fundraising at the Gérard Basset Foundation, commented: “Following the success of last year’s Golden Vines® event, where we raised over £1.2 million for the Foundation, we are able to offer three Taylor’s Port Golden Vines® Diversity Scholarships and four Master of Wine & Master Sommelier Scholarships for the coming year. We are also pleased to be able to continue to offer 10 Golden Vines® WSG Scholarships, all to be awarded by our expert judging panel. Nina Basset and myself know how proud Gérard would have been to see the efforts being made in his name to help change the face of the wine, spirit and hospitality industry by offering these incredible opportunities to persons of color wishing to reach the very top of the industry.”
Adrian Bridge, MD of Taylor’s Port, added: “The Golden Vines® Awards fundraising programme, which was launched in 2021 to honor the legacy of Gérard Basset, is a remarkable program with global reach. It shows how the wine industry can take an important leadership role in many areas, but particularly around diversity and inclusivity. Taylor’s Port is a proud sponsor of the Golden Vines Diversity Scholarships which we are delighted to see is uniting the entire global wine industry around this worthy cause.”
The winners of The Taylor’s Port Golden Vines Diversity Scholarships will receive their awards at The 2022 Golden Vines Awards Ceremony to be held in Florence, Italy from Friday 14 until Monday 17 October 2022.
Applicants can apply online here.