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Ian Harris becomes trustee of The Gerard Basset Wine Education Charitable Foundation

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Basset family announces formation of educational foundation to support wine education alongside diversity and inclusion

The family of Gerard Basset is marking the second anniversary of the legendary sommelier’s death with the formation of a new charity to continue his legacy. The Gerard Basset Wine Education Charitable Foundation will fund learning and career opportunities for young professionals with a specific focus on diversity and inclusion. Its trustees include Gerard’s widow, Nina Basset FIH; their son Romané; Jancis Robinson OBE MW; WSET Chief Executive, Ian Harris MBE; and the financier Lewis Chester DipWSET, who was a close friend and partner of Gerard’s in Liquid Icons.

Gerard, Honorary President of WSET from 2014 – 2017, made it his mission in life to mentor and guide young people seeking careers in the wine and hospitality industries, supporting hundreds during his lifetime and influencing thousands more. The Gerard Basset Wine Education Charitable Foundation will continue this commitment, providing travel bursaries, scholarships and mentorship schemes. Two new scholarships are anticipated to be launched by the Foundation in 2021: these awards will specifically seek to identify talented young professionals from minority or disadvantaged backgrounds, providing a road map and networks to enable them to see their path to success.

In his memoir, Tasting Victory, published after his death from cancer of the oesophagus in 2019 at the age of 61, Gerard wrote of his difficulties at school and his lack of formal education. He never attributed his success to natural talent, instead putting it down to grit, determination, commitment and graft.

Further details of the two new scholarships will be revealed in March 2021; they are supported by some of the world’s leading wine estates and hotel groups with mentoring from global hospitality personalities.

Speaking about the creation of the Foundation, Nina Basset FIH, comments, “Gerard was a passionate advocate for helping young people and those he mentored have gone on to enjoy rich and successful careers. Romané and I are delighted to announce the formation of this new charity which, thanks to the support of its trustees, will continue Gerard’s legacy for many years to come.”