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Record number of diploma graduates celebrated at WSET’s annual ceremony

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WSET, the global leader in drinks education, is delighted to announce that a record number of graduates have achieved their WSET Level 4 Diploma in Wines.

WSET held its annual graduation ceremony and prize reception yesterday at the Guildhall in the City of London to celebrate the achievements of its diploma graduates for the academic year 2022/23. 

A total of 695 new graduates were honoured at this year’s event- the highest number since WSET’s first cohort of diploma graduates in 1969. Graduates from 20 countries worldwide, who studied with 36 different WSET course providers, took part in the hybrid ceremony, which was hosted by WSET’s CEO, Michelle Brampton.

Other notable guests included: the organisation’s Honorary President Dr Laura Catena, Managing Director of Catena Zapata - and world-renowned wine writer Jancis Robinson, OBE, MW, and WSET’s most recognised alumnus.

Michelle Brampton, WSET’s CEO, said: “Huge congratulations to our graduates who have achieved their WSET Level 4 Diploma in Wines. Successfully completing this demanding and prestigious qualification demonstrates true commitment and is an extraordinary accomplishment. This year’s cohort joins more than 13,000 graduates across the world - a community that will help shape the future of the drinks industry and inspire the next generation of students. I would also like to extend my personal congratulations to all our scholarship and prize winners for impressive results in their exams. I am inspired by their individual stories, their determination to achieve their goals and the positive difference that studying with WSET has made to their careers and lives.

“I’m delighted that we have a record number of diploma students graduating this year. It’s clear that more people are becoming aware of the immense value of this globally recognised qualification, whether for professional advancement, or the pure joy of learning.”

Dr Laura Catena, Managing Director of Catena Zapata and WSET’s Honorary President, added: “Attending WSET’s graduation ceremony to celebrate the success of WSET students worldwide filled me with immense pride and honour, akin to attending my children’s graduations. One of my greatest joys from this year has been meeting with WSET students and discussing their drinks qualification study journeys. Their enthusiasm is inspiring; so many of these students are taking their drinks education to the highest level.

“In my inaugural year as WSET’s Honorary President, I've witnessed firsthand the organisation’s strong and urgent focus on diversity and sustainability. With a commitment to making drinks education accessible to as many students as possible worldwide, I am confident that WSET will achieve this goal.” 

Vintners’ Cup

The Vintners’ Cup, which was established in 1946, is led by The Worshipful Company of Vintners, one of the City of London’s livery companies whose history is rooted in the UK wine trade. It’s awarded annually to the graduate achieving the highest mark across all areas of the WSET Level 4 Diploma in Wines. Che Chun Alex Tsui

This year’s winner is Che Chun Alex Tsui, a PhD Researcher in Biochemistry at the University of Oxford who relocated to California and studied for his diploma at the Neptune School of Wine in the USA.

Alex said: ‘I feel incredibly grateful to be awarded the 2023 Vintners’ Cup following in the footsteps of so many accomplished individuals in the wine world. My success in the Level 4 Diploma in Wines has only propelled me to go further. I am definitely considering following the Master of Wine track and switching to a wine-focused career in the not-so-distant future.”

The winner of the Vintners Cup holding a trophy on stage with Ian Harris MBE and Dr Laura Catena

Ian Harris, MBE, from The Worshipful Company of Vintners, Che Chun Alex Tsui winner of The Vintners’ Cup, and WSET’s Honorary President Dr Laura Catena.

Regional scholarships:

Graduate scholarships were awarded to WSET Diploma students who achieved the highest overall mark in their respective regions.

  • Penfolds Asia Pacific Scholarship: Yawei Shen who studied at ASC Fine Wines, China
  • Decanter Americas Scholarship: Kimberly Pasquali, who studied at Grape Experience, USA 
  • IWSC EMEA Scholarship: Graham Cohen who studied at The International Wine Education Centre, South Africa
  • Vintners’ UK Scholarship: Claire Nesbitt, who studied with WSET School London, UK 

Outstanding Alumni Award

The Outstanding Alumni Award, which is presented annually in partnership with, celebrates the achievements of WSET’s global alumni community. This year, alumni were invited to nominate their winner by shining a spotlight on the inspiring work of diploma graduates around the world. The 2023 award recognises an exceptional contribution to creating positive change within the global drinks community.

Sonal Holland, holding her certificate, standing next to Jancis Robinson on stage.

Sonal C Holland MW, winner of the Outstanding Alumni Award, and Jancis Robinson OBE.

This year’s winner is Sonal C Holland MW, DipWSET, India’s first and, as yet, only Master of Wine. For the past 17 years, she has been at the forefront of revolutionising wine culture in India, making this affordable and accessible for more people, through the Sonal Holland Wine Academy. She founded the India Wine Awards, is a wine consultant for Air India, and also co-organises the Vinexpo Mumbai wine and spirits exhibition.

Sonal commented: “Winning this award only reinforces my belief that you should always trust in your capabilities. I would like to thank WSET and Jancis Robinson OBE, MW for bestowing this award on me and recognising my potential and achievements. I am honoured to be named among the league of past achievers whose work continues to inspire me. This award isn’t just an honour, it is a huge responsibility which demands me to continue making meaningful and relevant contributions to the world of wine.”

The full list of this year’s prize winners, scholars, graduates and prize sponsors is detailed in the WSET Graduation Yearbook 2024.