Mags Jango wins the Golden Vines™ Masters of Wine Scholarship
Liquid Icons – the fine wine research and content production company founded by the late, great Gerard Basset OBE MW MS and his friend Lewis Chester DipWSET – are delighted to announce the recipients of 12 new scholarships for BAME/BIPOC wine students: The Golden Vines™ Masters of Wine Scholarship, the Golden Vines™ Master Sommelier Scholarship and the Golden Vines™ Wine Scholar Guild Scholarships.
The winners were chosen by the same judging panel that is responsible for awarding the Taylor’s Port Golden Vines™ Diversity Scholarships. The judging panel comprised: Nina Basset FIH, Rajat Parr (Sandhi Wines), Carlton McCoy MS (Lawrence Wine Estates), Clement Robert MS (The Birley Clubs / Annabel’s) and lead judge Jancis Robinson OBE MW. These 12 new scholarships are in addition to the two Taylor’s Port Golden Vines Diversity Scholarships, the winners to be announced on 7 October at the Golden Vines™ Awards Ceremony.
The Golden Vines™ Masters of Wine and the Golden Vines Master Sommelier Scholarships
The Golden Vines™ Masters of Wine and the Golden Vines™ Master Sommelier Scholarships are each worth £12,500, and will cover the full costs of tuition, exam and tastings incurred by the student studying for these programmes. The scholarships are being funded by the Gerard Basset Wine Education Charitable Foundation from monies raised at the Golden Vines™ Awards Ceremony & Dinner to be held at Annabel’s Private Members Club on 7 October 2021.
The winner of the Golden Vines™ Masters of Wine Scholarship is Mags Jango DipWSET, the British founder of MJ Wine Cellars and bamewineprofessionals.co.uk.
Mags’s wine journey began in 2009 when he chose to take up a role at his local Waitrose after completing A Levels. He earned the Level 2 and 3 WSET Awards in Wines during his time there, as well as the Level 2 WSET Awards in Spirits. In 2014, he decided to study for the WSET Diploma and accepted an on-trade sales role with Winetraders UK. In 2016, he completed the WSET Diploma with Merit. He then qualified as a WSET Certified Educator the following autumn and became an external Educator for the WSET School in Bermondsey, as he continued to build sales experience. His most recent venture, MJ Wine Cellars, focuses both on creating brands for UK retailers, and on importing niche, small batch, hand-crafted wines.
Jancis Robinson OBE MW, the lead judge, commented, “Because I knew Mags personally already, I let my fellow judges assess Mags’s suitability. They were unanimously impressed by his drive, determination to fill the gaps in his knowledge, and by what he has achieved to-date, both as an educator and someone determined to enrich the ethnic mix of those involved in wine and hospitality.”
Mags Jango DipWSET stated, “I am delighted and honoured to be awarded this prestigious and highly sought-after award. Having spoken with fellow applicants, I am certain that all would have been worthy recipients of the Golden Vines™ Masters of Wine Scholarship. I am under no illusions as to the size of the task ahead, and look forward to repaying the confidence of the judges and the Gerard Basset Wine Education Charitable Foundation through hard work and dedication.””
The winner of the Golden Vines™ Master Sommelier Scholarship is Winnie Toh, an Asian Advanced Sommelier Certificate holder (The Court of Master Sommeliers Europe) and sommelier from Singapore working at the Aman Hotel in the Turks and Caicos Islands.
Winnie is originally from Singapore and considers herself a world citizen. She is currently the head sommelier for Amanyara in Turks and Caicos. She takes pride in managing the resort’s extensive wine list, featuring sustainable and iconic wines of the world. Prior to being between sand and seas, Winnie began her career at the historic Raffles Hotel in Singapore where her passion for wine ignited, and has since travelled and worked across continents. She is currently preparing for the MS diploma, and believes faith, grit, humility and a loving community are her guiding torches towards the finishing line.
Lead judge, Jancis Robinson OBE MW, commented, “We were all hugely impressed by Winnie’s wine journey, from a junior internship at Raffles Hotel in Singapore 20 years ago to managing an international team of sommeliers at an Aman resort in the Caribbean. She says, ‘I will become Asia’s top female sommelier and I will mentor future generations of sommeliers who need help like me.’ And we are sure she will!”
Winnie Toh stated, “I am humbled, and overwhelmed with joy for being the recipient of the Golden Vines™ Master Sommelier Scholarship. My leap of faith has taken me onto paths less travelled to achieve my career goals. I am grateful to the judges and my community for believing in me and cheering me on. My mission is to be an inspiration for young sommeliers finding their path. I will relentlessly continue my journey in wine by being a mentor and reflect the good work of the late Gerard Basset and the wine icons who have contributed to my growth over the years.”
Nina Basset, trustee of the Gerard Basset Wine Education Charitable Foundation, added, “We are delighted to be able to offer these two additional scholarships to such talented, deserving members of the BAME/BIPOC community so that they can reach their full potential in the wine industry and act as role models to encourage other members from these communities to consider a career in wine. We look forward to seeing them succeed at the highest level of our industry.”
The Golden Vines™ Wine Scholar Guild Scholarships
Thanks to the generosity of the Wine Scholar Guild, 10 applicants to the Taylor’s Port Golden Vines Diversity Scholarships were awarded Golden Vines™ Wine Scholar Guild Scholarships. Scholarship winners have the opportunity to specialise in the country of their choice, by selecting enrollment in one of the Wine Scholar Guild’s advanced French, Spanish or Italian Wine Scholar certification programmes.
The 10 winning scholars for the 2021 Golden Vines™ Wine Scholar Guild Scholarships are:
Nikan Jooyani – an Iranian living in Spain (FISAR Certificate holder)
Shalva Khetsuriani – from Georgia
Arlene King – a Jamaican living in the UK (WSET Level 2 Certificate in Wines and Spirits holder)
Olufikayo Ifaturoti – a Nigerian living in the UK (WSET Level 2 Award in Wines and Spirits holder)
Oscar Marulanda – from Colombia (WSET Level 3 Award in Wines holder)
Alec Merkt-Caprile – from Canada
Emma Ogiemwanye – a West African living in the US
Tanmay Rathod – from India (Certified Specialist of Wine from Society of Wine Educators)
Jai Singh – an Indian living in Italy (WSET Level 2 Award in Wines holder and Level 3 student)
Aki Sudo – from Japan (ASI International Diploma holder)
Lewis Chester DipWSET of Liquid Icons, and Trustee of the Gerard Basset Wine Education Charitable Foundation, commented, “We are delighted that the Wine Scholar Guild have decided to offer these most generous scholarships to BAME/BIPOC wine students chosen by our incredible panel of judges. Our aim is to make the world of wine more diverse and inclusive, and to do this, we need to find and promote a new generation of role models who can attract students from these communities globally to the wine industry. These new scholarships will certainly help in achieving that objective.”
Julien Camus, the CEO and founder of the Wine Scholar Guild, stated, “The Wine Scholar Guild is honoured to support the Golden Vines™ Scholarship initiative for BAME/BIPOC wine students by offering 10 Scholarships for our specialised Wine Scholar™ Study and Certification programmes. We share the same vision and look forward to a long-term partnership with Liquid Icons and the Gerard Basset Wine Education Charitable Foundation to ensure that vision turns to reality.”
The 10 scholars will be enrolled in the French, Italian or Spanish Wine Scholar™ study and certification programmes in either “independent study format” or “10-week, instructor-led format”. Scholars who complete these in-depth programmes and pass the requisite exam will earn French, Italian or Spanish Wine Scholar title and corresponding post-nominal, which may be incorporated into a professional signature. Details on the courses can be found at: https://www.winescholarguild.org/programs/wine-scholar-programs.html
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Notes to editors:
About the Institute of Masters of Wine (IMW)
The 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 exam, recognised worldwide for its rigour and exacting standards. In addition to passing the exam, 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 416 Masters of Wine working in 31 countries. The membership encompasses winemakers, sommeliers, buyers, journalists, shippers, consultants, academics, educators and more. There are 379 students from 41 countries in the 2020-2021 MW study programme.
About Liquid Icons
Liquid Icons is a fine wine research and content production company founded by two friends to “do stuff in wine” – the late, great Gerard Basset OBE MW MS and Lewis Chester DipWSET. We create first-class original content and research about the world’s greatest fine wines and spirits. Our work encompasses motion picture, industry research, recognition and celebration of wine and spirits excellence, charitable and fundraising activities, as well as educational initiatives.