WSET annual awards

23 January, 2018

The Wine & Spirits Education Trust awards took place last night (January 22) at The Guildhall in the City of London.

From around the world, 440 WSET Diploma graduates were honoured marking their success as one of more than 9,000 people in the world to have got tyhe Diploma.

Outstanding WSET educators and candidates for the 2016/17 academic year were also presented with awards for their achievements.

The awards were hosted for the first time by new WSET honorary president, wine legend Steven Spurrier alongside WSET chief executive, Ian Harris.

Harris said, “Knowledgeable professionals and consumers are proving increasingly important for the future success of the wine and spirits industry. Thanks to the hard work of our educators, Approved Programme Providers and the WSET team the academic year 2016/17 marked 15 years of consecutive growth for WSET, with more than 85,000 candidates worldwide completing a WSET qualification during the year.

“Our graduates and award winners come from all walks of life, both within the drinks trade and outside, and we’re proud to honour their achievements. We hope they will inspire others across the world to develop their education,” said Harris.

Educator of the Year

The Riedel Trophy for the WSET Educator of the Year, was this year won by Eno Cultura, based in Brazil. Thiago Mendes and Paulo Brammer set up Eno Cultura in Säo Paulo in 2013.

Impressive growth has been matched with excellent exam results and their introduction of scholarships has enabled more members of the trade to access WSET courses. They have also instigated several social projects across South America.

Co-founders Brammer and Mendes, said: “The nomination itself was already an immense honour to us. We feel extremely grateful for having been recognised for outstanding results in such a challenging wine market as the one in Brazil. Having been short-listed already puts us as an important reference for wine education in the region. Being picked as the number one on the list sends an unequivocal signal that the joint effort of WSET and Eno Cultura inserted Brazil and LATAM in the global map of wine education,” they said.

Picture: Matt Knight of trophy sponsers Riedel UK, Paulo Brammer and Thiago Mendes of Eno Cultura, WSET honorary president Steven Spurrier.

Vintners’ Cup and Scholarship

The highest award presented on the evening is the Vintner’s Cup and scholarship, which was won this year by an enthusiast, not working in the drinks industry.

As the student who achieved the highest overall mark across the WSET Diploma in his year, Moritz Mueller was the winner.

Originally from Germany, Mueller now lives in the UK and studied his WSET Diploma at WSET School London alongside his job in finance. He is one of the few individuals outside of the wine and spirits trade to have won the accolade since WSET started offering courses to consumers in 1991.

Moritz says, “I chose to study the WSET Diploma because after years of enjoying wine as a hobby, I wanted to meet more like-minded people and develop a more thorough, systematic understanding of the wines of the world.

“I would love to do more focused research into specific terroirs: I have come to realise that I love wines from limestone soils and doing more exploration in this field could be exciting.”

Notable Prize Winner

Among the award winners was ex-England rugby player Andrew Sheridan. Apparently he started his wine studies while still playing, studying bottles in his room at Pennyhill Park. He claims the art of blind wine tasting has a lot in common with scrummaging as both require decision making under pressure.

He not only got his diploma but was also awarded the Bibendum-Matthew Clark Prize as a top Diploma graduate, who is looking to start a career in the wine and spirit trade. He gets a five-day work-experience with Conviviality Direct.

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