Golden Vines Diversity Scholarships announced

Liquid Icons – the fine wine research and content production company founded by the late, great Gerard Basset OBE MW MS and his friend Lewis Chester DipWSET – are delighted to announce the recipients of twelve new scholarships for BAME/BIPOC wine students: The Golden Vines™ Masters of Wine Scholarship, The Golden Vines™ Master Sommelier Scholarship and The Golden Vines™ Wine Scholar Guild Scholarships.

The winners were chosen by the same judging panel that is responsible for awarding The Taylors Port Golden Vines™ Diversity Scholarships. The Judging Panel comprised: Nina Basset FIH, Rajat Parr (Sandhi Wines), Carlton McCoy MS (Lawrence Wine Estates), Clement Robert MS (The Birley Clubs / Annabels) and lead judge Jancis Robinson OBE MW. These twelve new scholarships are in addition to the two Taylor’s Port Golden Vines Diversity Scholarships, the winners to be announced on 7th October at The Golden Vines™ Awards Ceremony. 

The Golden Vines™ Masters of Wine and The Golden Vines Master Sommelier Scholarships

The Golden Vines™ Masters of Wine and The Golden Vines™ 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 monies raised at The Golden Vines™ Awards Ceremony & Dinner to be held at Annabels Private Members Club on Thursday 7th October 2021.

The winner of The Golden Vines™ Masters of Wine Scholarship is Mags Jango DipWSET, the British founder of MJ Wine Cellars and

Magswine journey began in 2009 when he chose to take up a role at his local Waitrose after completing A Levels. He earned the Level 2 and 3 WSET Awards in Wines during his time there, as well as the Level 2 WSET Awards in Spirits. In 2014, he decided to study for the WSET Diploma and accepted an on-trade sales role with Winetraders UK. In 2016, he completed the WSET Diploma with Merit. He then qualified as a WSET Certified Educator the following autumn and became an external Educator for the WSET School in Bermondsey, as he continued to build sales experience. His most recent venture, MJ Wine Cellars, focuses both on creating brands for UK retailers, and on importing niche, small batch, hand-crafted wines.

Jancis Robinson OBE MW, the Lead Judge, commented: Because I knew Mags personally already, I let my fellow judges assess Mags 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.”

Mags Jango DipWSET stated: 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.”

The winner of The Golden Vines™ Master Sommelier Scholarship is Winnie Toh, an Asian Advanced Sommelier Certificate holder (The Court of Master Sommeliers Europe) sommelier from Singapore working at the Aman Hotel in the Turks & Caicos Islands.

Winnie is originally from Singapore and considers herself a world citizen. She is currently the head sommelier for Amanyara in Turks and Caicos. She takes pride in managing the resorts extensive wine list, featuring sustainable and iconic wines of the world. Prior to being between sand and seas, Winnie began her career at the historic Raffles Hotel in Singapore where her passion for wine ignited, and has since travelled and worked across continents. She is currently preparing for the MS diploma, and believes faith, grit, humility and a loving community are her guiding torches towards the finishing line.

Lead Judge, Jancis Robinson OBE MW, commented: We were all hugely impressed by Winnies 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 Asias top female sommelier and I will mentor future generations of sommeliers who need help like me.And we are sure she will!”

Winnie Toh stated: 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, added: 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.” 

The Golden Vines™ Wine Scholar Guild Scholarships

Thanks to the generosity of the Wine Scholar Guild, 10 applicants to The Taylors Port Golden Vines Diversity Scholarships were awarded Golden Vines™ Wine Scholar Guild Scholarships. Scholarship winners have the opportunity to specialize in the country of their choice, by selecting enrollment in one of the Wine Scholar Guilds advanced French, Spanish or Italian Wine Scholar Certification Programs. 

The 10 winning scholars for the 2021 Golden Vines™ Wine Scholar Guild Scholarships are:

Nikan Jooyani – an Iranian living in Spain (FISAR Certificate holder)

Shalva Khetsuriani – From Georgia

Arlene King – a Jamaican living in the UK (WSET Level 2 Certificate in Wines and Spirits holder)

Olufikayo Ifaturoti – a Nigerian living in the UK (WSET Level 2 Award in Wines and Spirits holder)

Oscar Marulanda – from Columbia (WSET Level 3 Award in Wines holder)

Alec Merkt-Caprile – from Canada

Emma Ogiemwanye – a West African living in the USA

Tanmay Rathod – from India (Certified Specialist of Wine from Society of Wine Educators)

Jai Singh – an Indian living in Italy (WSET Level 2 Award in Wines holder & Level 3 student)

Aki Sudo – from Japan (ASI International Diploma holder)