Over 500 wine and spirits influencers and professionals from across the world gathered tonight at the historic Guildhall, City of London, to celebrate the annual Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) Awards & Graduation.
Hosted for the first time by new WSET Honorary President, Steven Spurrier alongside WSET Chief Executive, Ian Harris, the occasion attracted attendance from industry leaders and long-standing WSET supporters including Marius Berlemann, Laura Jewell, Richard Paterson and Jancis Robinson. Hailing from the UK and USA to China and Japan, 440 WSET Diploma graduates from around the world were honoured marking their success as one of just over 9,000 people in the world to have ever held the accolade. Outstanding WSET educators and candidates for the 2016/17 academic year were also presented with awards in recognition of their achievements.
The WSET Level 4 Diploma is WSET’s highest qualification and recognized globally as one of the most distinguished achievements in the sector. The course develops an in-depth knowledge of production, regions and styles, and the global trade of wines and spirits. The Diploma is also universally viewed as the stepping stone to the Master of Wine. Upon successful completion graduates receive a WSET certificate and lapel pin, and are able to use the post-nominal DipWSET and associated WSET certified logo.
Ian Harris, WSET Chief Executive, 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 over 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.”
As the student who achieved the highest overall mark across the WSET Diploma in his year, Moritz Mueller was the winner of this year’s Vintners’ Cup and Scholarship. Originally from Germany, Moritz now lives in the UK and studied his WSET Diploma at WSET School London alongside his high-flying job in the world of finance. He is one of the rare 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 was honestly in shock when I found out I won the award. It is a wonderful thought that with great teachers and friends, hard work and a lot of passion one can achieve a special result. I would love to do more focussed 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.”
Another honour presented on the night is the Riedel Trophy for the WSET Educator of the Year, awarded to the individual or company that has made a significant contribution to the delivery of WSET courses and qualifications. This year’s winner was Eno Cultura, Brazil. Thiago Mendes DipWSET and Paulo Brammer DipWSET set up Eno Cultura in Säo Paulo in 2013 and now run courses across the country. 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, say, “The nomination itself was already an immense honour to us. We feel extremely grateful for having been recognized 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!”
See the full list of graduates and award winners in our 2018 Yearbook on the dedicated microsite here.