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AXA Millésimes awards a scholarship to five Master of Wine students

AXA Millésimes awards a scholarship to five Master of Wine students

The Institute of Masters of Wine and AXA Millésimes are pleased to announce five international winners of the AXA Millésimes scholarship. The 2018 chosen scholars are Jacqueline Cole-Blisson (Canada), Daphne Feng (USA), Julian Kirk (UK), Regine Lee (UK) and Yoko Obara (Japan).

The scholarship, now in its tenth year, gives the winners a unique insight into the portfolio of AXA Millésimes properties in Bordeaux, and beyond.

During their visit to the Medoc, the 2018 scholars will stay at the emblematic turreted Chateau of Pichon Baron in Pauillac (pictured). They will also visit neighbouring Pibran, as well as rising Pomerol star Petit-Village and leading 1er cru Chateau Suduiraut in Sauternes. During their three day stay they will spend time with the winemakers, tour the vineyards and develop their blending skills in the cellars.

There is then an all-expenses paid trip to the legendary Port vineyard of Quinta do Noval in the Douro – with an optional extra of continuing on to visit the historic vineyard of Disznoko in Tokaj.

The scholarship was open to all stage 2 students in the MW study programme. Entrants were asked to write an essay on the following subject, set by AXA Millésimes: Communication with consumers is a key element in building a wine brand. Social media is rapidly transforming the way in which such communication can take place. Using existing examples of wineries successfully exploiting social media, and comparing with more traditional communications strategies, suggest ways in which wineries might work to build their brand using social media.

It was a difficult competition to judge, as Christian Seely, managing director of AXA Millésimes, one of the Principal Supporters of the IMW for many years, attests. ‘The general standard was extremely high, and it would have been easy to have ten winners, rather than just five. Our criteria were clarity of analysis; good use of examples; and quality of practical recommendations.’

‘Our thanks to everyone who entered, and my congratulations to our five eventual scholars. We look forward to welcoming them at Pichon Baron in April’.

Penny Richards, the Institute’s executive director, is delighted so many students get the opportunity to experience AXA Millésimes’ wine and legendary hospitality. ‘It’s not a surprise that so many students attempted to win the AXA scholarship this year. It’s known to be a wonderful opportunity for any successful candidate, and we are delighted that five MW candidates can learn so much with the different teams in France, Portugal and Hungary.’


For more information contact:
Fiona Campbell:
Sarah Kirkpatrick:

Notes to Editors:

About the Institute of Masters of Wine (IMW)
The Institute of Masters of Wine (IMW) is a membership organisation with an exceptional international reputation. For almost 70 years, its members – the Masters of Wine (MWs) – have been at the forefront of leadership and expertise in the world of wine.  The IMW’s mission is to promote excellence, interaction and learning across all sectors of the global wine community. MWs prove their comprehensive understanding of wine by passing the MW examination, recognised worldwide for its rigour and exacting standards. In addition to passing the examination, members must sign the code of conduct before they are entitled to use the initials MW. This requires them to act with honesty and integrity, and use every opportunity to share their knowledge of wine with others.  Today, there are 370 Masters of Wine working in 28 countries. The membership encompasses winemakers, sommeliers, buyers, journalists, shippers, consultants, academics, educators and more. There are over 350 students in the MW study programme from over 40 countries.

About AXA Millésimes
AXA Millésimes the vineyard-owning arm of AXA, the French insurance group, was established in the mid-eighties when Claude Bébéar, President of AXA at the time, and a great lover of fine wines, wished to invest in wine properties which had a potential for making great wines. The first purchase, in 1987, comprehended two properties: Château Pichon-Longueville, in Pauillac, and Domaine de l’Arlot, in Burgundy. Important investments both in the vineyard and in the cellars, were carried out in the years following these purchases. Then succeeded a string of other acquisitions in Bordeaux: Château Pibran in Pauillac (1989), Château Petit-Village in Pomerol (1989) and Château Suduiraut in Sauternes (1992). The same year as the latter, following the fall of communism in the eastern block, AXA Millésimes was able to acquire the historic vineyard of Disznók? in Tokaj. In 1993, Quinta do Noval was purchased, and Christian Seely was appointed Managing Director. At the end of 2000, Christian Seely was appointed Managing Director of the whole AXA Millésimes portfolio, based in Bordeaux. In 2001, AXA Millésimes purchased Château Tour Pibran, the neighbouring vineyard to Château Pibran, thus enlarging the size of the property from 10 to 17 hectares.