Liquid Icons is proud to announce the recipients of the 12th Golden Vines™ Scholarships for BAME/BIPOC students.

The Golden Vine Awards are a brand new category for the Wine Industry Awards that recognise the efforts of people that are making a difference in the industry. In celebration of the launch of the Golden Vine Awards, we are thrilled to announce that we have made a further 12 scholarships available, attracting a total of 32 students.

Liquid Icons is creating a new generation of professional wine professionals and investing in the future of the industry. To reach this goal, we are making an investment in the next generation of wine professionals. As they are our future, we want them to have access to the training and resources they need. We have 12 scholarships available for students from BAME/BIPOC backgrounds to attend Grad School for a Master’s degree in Sommelier Studies.


7. JUNE 2021 | LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM – Liquid Icons, the wine research and content production company founded by the late great Gerard Bassett OBE MW MS and his friend Lewis Chester DipWSET, is delighted to announce twelve new scholarships for BAME/BIPOC wine students: Golden Vines™ Masters of Wine Scholarship, Golden Vines™ Master Sommelier Scholarship and Golden Vines™ Wine Scholar Guild Scholarship.

The winners were selected by the same jury responsible for awarding The Taylor’s Port Golden Vines™ Diversity Scholarships. The jury was composed of : Nina Bassett FIH, Rajat Parr (Sandhi Wines), Carlton McCoy MS (Lawrence Wine Estates), Clement Robert MS (The Birley Clubs / Annabel’s) and senior judge Jancis Robinson OBE MW. These twelve new scholarships are in addition to the two Taylor’s Port Golden Vines Diversity Scholarships, the winners of which were announced on the 7th. October will be announced at The Golden Vines™ award ceremony.

The Golden Vines™ Masters of Wine and the Golden Vines Master Sommelier scholarships.

The Golden Vines™ Masters of Wine and Golden Vines™ Master Sommelier scholarships cost £12,500 each and fully cover tuition, examination fees and tasting costs incurred by the student for these programmes. The scholarships are funded by the Gerard Basset Wine Education Charitable Foundation from funds raised at the Golden Vines™ Awards and dinner at Annabel’s Private Members Club on Thursday the 7th. October 2021, be collected.

The winner of the Golden Vines™ Masters of Wine scholarship is Mags Django DipWSET, British founder of MJ Wine Cellars and

Mags’ wine journey began in 2009, when he decided to work in the local Waitrose branch after graduating. During his tenure he has achieved WSET Levels 2 and 3 for wines and WSET Level 2 for spirits. In 2014, he decided to get a WSET qualification and accepted a job with Winetraders UK. In 2016, he received his WSET diploma with distinction. The following autumn he became a WSET Certified Trainer and external trainer for the WSET school in Bermondsey, allowing him to further develop his sales experience. His latest venture, MJ Wine Cellars, specialises in creating brands for UK retailers and importing niche artisan wines in small batches.

Jancis Robinson OBE MW, Senior Judge, commented: Since I already knew Mags personally, I asked my fellow judges to assess Mags’ ability. They were unanimously impressed by his drive, his determination to close the knowledge gap and by what he has achieved so far as an educator and as a person committed to enriching the ethnic make-up of those involved in wine and hospitality.

Mags Django DipSET said: I am honored and happy to receive this prestigious and coveted award. After speaking with the candidates, I am confident that they would all be worthy recipients of the Golden Vines™ Masters of Wine scholarship. I am under no illusions about the magnitude of the task ahead and hope to repay the trust of the judges and the Gerard Basset Wine Education Charitable Foundation with hard work and dedication.

The recipient of the Golden Vines™ Master Sommelier Scholarship is Winnie Toh, a Singaporean sommelier with an Asian Advanced Sommelier Certificate (The Court of Master Sommeliers Europe) who works at the Aman Hotel in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Winnie is originally from Singapore, but considers herself a citizen of the world. She is currently head sommelier at the Amanyara Restaurant in the Turks and Caicos Islands. She proudly manages the resort’s extensive wine list, which features sustainable and iconic wines from around the world. Before moving between sand and sea, Winnie began her career at the historic Raffles Hotel in Singapore, where her passion for wine was ignited. Since then she has travelled and worked on all continents. She is currently working on her master’s degree and believes that faith, perseverance, humility, and a loving community are the torches that will lead her to the finish line.

Senior referee, Janice Robinson OBE MW, commented: We were all very impressed with Winnie’s background in wine, from an internship at the Raffles Hotel in Singapore 20 years ago to managing an international team of sommeliers at the Aman Resort in the Caribbean. She said: I will become the best female sommelier in Asia and be a mentor to future generations of sommeliers who need help just like me. And we’re sure it will be!

Vinnie Toh explained: I am honored and delighted to have received the Golden Vines™ Master Sommelier Award. My religious beliefs have taken me down less well-trodden paths to achieve my professional goals. I am grateful to the judges and my community for believing in me and supporting me. My mission is to be a source of inspiration for young sommeliers who are looking for their way. I will continue my wine journey relentlessly, seeking advice from the late Gerard Bassett and the wine icons who have helped me grow over the years, and reflecting on their good work.

Nina Basset, trustee of the Gerard Basset Wine Education Charitable Foundation, added: We are delighted to award these two additional scholarships to such talented and deserving members of the BAME/BIPOC community to help them reach their full potential in the wine industry and become role models who will encourage other members of these communities to consider a career in the wine industry. We look forward to their success at the highest level of our industry.

Golden Vines Wine Scholars Guild™ Scholarships.

Thanks to the generosity of the Wine Fellows Guild, Golden Vines™ Wine Scholarships were awarded to 10 applicants for The Taylor’s Port Golden Vines Diversity Scholarships. Students have the opportunity to specialize in the country of their choice by participating in one of the Guild of Wine Scholars’ advanced certification programs on French, Spanish or Italian wine.

The 10 Golden Vines™ Guild of Wine scholarship recipients for 2021 are:

  • Nikan Joyani – Iranian national residing in Spain (holder of FISAR certificate).
  • Shalva Khetsuriani – From Georgia
  • Arlene King – Jamaican national living in the UK (WSET Certificate Level 2 in Wines and Spirits)
  • Olufikayo Ifaturoti – Nigerian national living in the UK (WSET qualification level 2 in Wines and Spirits)
  • Oscar Marulanda – from Colombia (winner of the WSET Level 3 Award in Wines)
  • Alec Merkt-Capril – from Canada
  • Emma Ogiemwanye – West African living in the USA
  • Tanmai Rathod – from India (certified wine specialist by the Society of Wine Educators)
  • Jai Singh – Indian national living in Italy (WSET Wine Qualification Level 2 and Student Level 3)
  • Aki Sudo – from Japan (holder of the ASI International Diploma)

Lewis Chester DipWSET of Liquid Icons and Trustee of the Gerard Basset Wine Education Charitable Foundation, commented: We are delighted that the Wine Scholars Guild has decided to award these extremely generous scholarships to BAME/BIPOC wine students, who are selected by our incredible judging panel. Our goal is to make the wine world more diverse and inclusive. To accomplish this, we must find and nurture a new generation of models that can attract students from these communities around the world to the wine industry. These new scholarships will certainly contribute to the achievement of this goal.

Julien Camus, CEO and founder of the Guild of Wine Scholars, said: The Wine Scholar Guild is honored to support the BAME/BIPOC Golden Vines™ Wine Scholar Initiative by offering 10 scholarships to our specialized Wine Scholar™ training and certification programs. We share this vision and look forward to a long term partnership with Liquid Icons and the Gerard Basset Wine Education Charity to make this vision a reality.

The 10 fellows will participate in Wine Scholar™ training and certification programs in French, Italian or Spanish in the form of self-study or instructor-led classes for 10 weeks. Fellows who complete these in-depth programs and pass the required exam are awarded the title of French, Italian or Spanish Wine Fellow and an accompanying post nomination that can be added to the professional signature. For more information about the course, see:

About liquid symbols

Liquid Icons is a wine research and content production company founded by two wine-loving friends – the late Gerard Bassett OBE MW MS and Lewis Chester DipWSET. We produce high quality original documents and research on the world’s finest wines and spirits. Our work includes film production, industrial research, recognition and celebration of the finest wines and spirits, charitable and fundraising activities, and educational initiatives.

About the Gerard Bassett Wine Education Charitable Foundation

The Gerard Basset Wine Education Charitable Foundation, established in honour of Gerard Basset OBE MW MS to address the wine industry’s most pressing issues through education, training and mentoring, comprises a multi-disciplinary team of leading industry professionals as trustees: Nina Bassett FIH, Romanet Bassett, Lewis Chester DipWSET, Ian Harris MBE DipWSET and Jancis Robinson OBE MW.

About the Wine Scholars Guild

The Guild of Wine Scholars is the leading provider of specialized certification programs for the wines of France, Italy and Spain. Designed for the professional development of wine industry representatives and students with a passion for wine, courses are offered through a strong network of more than 100 program providers in 30 countries on five continents.WSG has established itself as a recognized leader in online wine education.  The company’s president, Julien Camus, received the 2019 Future 50 Under 40 award from WSET and IWSC, which recognizes him as a global authority in the wine world.


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