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MW students Dr Erna Blancquaert and Angela Elizabeth Scott receive 2021 Golden Vines® Diversity Scholarships

MW students Dr Erna Blancquaert and Angela Elizabeth Scott receive 2021 Golden Vines® Diversity Scholarships

The 2021 Golden Vines® Diversity Scholarships were awarded to MW students Dr Erna Blancquaert and Angela Elizabeth Scott at a ceremony and dinner held at Annabel’s Private Members Club on 7 October 2021.

Forty-two aspiring Black and ethnic minority students from 23 countries wishing to undertake the Masters of Wine (MW) and Master Sommelier (MS) programmes applied for the two scholarships covering course and exam costs, as well as loss of earnings during their work placement internships organised by Liquid Icons with some of the world’s top wine domaines.

Erna from South Africa and Angela from the US, were announced alongside winners of the 2021 Golden Vines® Awards. The evening also featured an auction of luxury experience lots hosted by Christie’s which raised £1.2 million.

Organised by Liquid Icons, the not-for-profit Golden Vines® Awards recognises the ‘star performers of the fine wine industry’, as well as raising funds for the Gérard Basset Foundation with the aim of funding diversity and inclusion-related wine education programmes, including the headline Taylor’s Port Golden Vines® Diversity Scholarships, worth £55,000 each for two BAME/BIPOC students studying for the Master of Wine or Master Sommelier programmes.

Erna is a lecturer and researcher in viticulture at the department of viticulture and oenology and the South African Grape and Wine Research Institute at Stellenbosch University. She holds three degrees from Stellenbosch, including a PhD in viticulture and was the first BIPOC female to obtain a PhD in viticulture on the African continent. Understanding the grapevine is what excites her. She constantly pursues knowledge while at the same time seeking to share knowledge through her teaching and her interactions with students and mentees.

“I am honoured and humbled. This Golden Vines Diversity Scholarship will enable me to expand my knowledge on the entire wine value chain, implement it in my teaching, and address global viti-viniculture problems through my research,” explains Erna.

On behalf of the judging panel Jancis Robinson MW stated: “She could provide inspiration for more than 50 million South Africans as the first wine academic of colour there. Her achievements are dazzling already, and that in a part of the world where it can be extremely difficult to get to grips with the rest of the wine world. She is a natural leader and a stickler for truth. I wish her every success.”

Angela, originally a human rights lawyer for a nonprofit, decided to leave the legal world behind to relocate to Napa and work in the trenches of the wine industry while studying for the Wine & Spirits Education Trust Diploma. After working as a tasting coordinator for Karen MacNeil, author of the Wine Bible, and working for Spottswoode Winery as a hospitality manager, Angela was persuaded to drop the sunny Napa climate and move to the decidedly cooler environs of Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand, by her soon-to-be winemaker husband. The complexity of Hawke’s Bay Syrah and Chardonnay meant that there was nothing for it but to start studying for the MW, despite being closer to Chile by boat than to Europe by plane. Pandemic notwithstanding, nothing was going to thwart her plans to study, experience and travel to wine regions in pursuit of a rich, full-bodied wine career.

“Receiving the Golden Vines Diversity Scholarship, Internship and Mentorship programme means that I will be able to connect with key figures and gain experience to which I would otherwise lack access. I hope to help others do the same,” comments Angela.

Jancis Robinson MW commented: “The wine world is incredibly lucky to have Angela Scott. Ex human rights lawyer, ex Karen McNeil’s tasting coordinator, current Master of Wine student who sold her house to pay for the MW course. Highly literate. Where will she go next!”

Adrian Bridge, CEO of Taylor’s Port, the sponsor of the scholarships, commented: “Taylor’s Port is delighted to be involved with this initiative to foster diversity in the wine industry.  We are excited to see two very worthy winners have been chosen by the judges.  As a company, we always worked closely with Gérard Basset and were involved in his first Hotel Du Vin in Winchester. Gérard was a great supporter of the wine industry and education, so it is an honour for us to be associated with his name and this very important award”.


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For more information contact:
Sarah Kirkpatrick
Head of Marketing, Communications and Membership
Institute of Masters of Wine
+44 (0)207 383 9131 

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 419 Masters of Wine working in 30 countries. The membership encompasses winemakers, sommeliers, buyers, journalists, shippers, consultants, academics, educators and more. There are 376 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 Gérard 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.

About the Gérard Basset Foundation
Set up to honour the legacy and memory of Gérard Basset OBE MW MS by addressing the wine industry’s most pressing issues through education, training and mentorship, the Gérard Basset Foundation comprises a multidisciplinary team of industry-leading professionals as its Trustees: Nina Basset FIH, Romané Basset, Lewis Chester DipWSET, Ian Harris MBE DipWSET, and Jancis Robinson OBE MW.

About the 2021 Golden Vines® Diversity Scholarships
42 aspiring Black and ethnic minority students from 23 countries wishing to undertake the Masters of Wine (MW) and Master Sommelier (MS) programmes applied for the scholarships. These scholarships cover the entirety of the scholars’ course and exam costs, as well as loss of earnings during their work placement internships. The internship programme includes a set of diversified work experiences with some of the world’s top wine domaines including Château Cheval Blanc, Liber Pater, Château Smith Haut Lafitte, and Château d’Yquem in Bordeaux; Dom Pérignon and Ruinart in Champagne; Domaine Baron Thenard, Domaine des Lambrays and Domaine Laroche in Burgundy; Weingut Egon Müller in Germany; Symington Family Estates and Taylor’s Port in Portugal; Colgin Cellars, Lawrence Wine Estates (Heitz Wine Cellars, Stony Hill Vineyard, Ink Grade Estate & Burgess Cellars) and Opus One in California; Klein Constantia and Vilafonté in South Africa; Bodega Catena Zapata in Argentina; Lapostolle Clos Apalta and Vina Vik in Chile; and The Macallan distillery in Scotland. The programme also includes a Masterclass with Marc Almert (the 2019 ASI Best Sommelier of the World), a 2-day specialist cork course at Amorim, work placement at Annabel’s Private Members Club & The Birley Clubs, as well as academic courses at UC Davis Department of Enology & Viticulture, the WOW Wine School (Porto), the Kedge Wine School, and the OIV. The judging panel for The Taylor’s Port Golden Vines Diversity Scholarships was comprised of Nina Basset FIH, Rajat Parr (Sandhi Wines), Carlton McCoy MS (Heitz Cellar), Clement Robert MS (The Birley Clubs / Annabel’s) and, lead judge, Jancis Robinson OBE MW. The judges will also provide ongoing mentorship to The Golden Vines Diversity Scholars during their academic journey.