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Writer and educator Steven Spurrier named WSET's fifth honorary president

Published:  24 January, 2017

Steven Spurirer, the industry veteran known for staging wine's very own Judgment of Paris in 1976, has been announced as the WSET's new honourary president.

Spurrier, who will take over from Gérard Basset after three years in the role, was sworn in following the ceremony at the WSET's annual awards and graduation ceremony in London over the weekend.

He will become the WSET's fifth honorary president, following in the footsteps of Gérard Basset, Jancis Robinson, Hugh Johnson and Michael Broadbent.

Spurrier's long career in wine began in London in 1964 before moving to Paris where bought a wine shop and opened L'Academie du Vin, France's first private wine school.

He has also acted as honorary president of Academie du Vin Tokyo, a WSET approved programme provider, in 1987.

He is arguably most well known for staging the Judgment of Paris, the blind tasting where Californian wines unexpectedly trumped French wines among a panel of experts.

"It is a great honour to succeed such a roster of the previous four honorary presidents, particularly since the creation of L'Academie du Vin in Paris and the Christie's Wine Course in London could not have happened without the publication of Michael Broadbent's seminal book Wine Tasting," Spurrier said.

"I have spent most of my five decades in wine in education and communication, where the WSET is the leader by a long chalk."

At the Guildhall celebration, 191 of the year's 460 WSET Diploma graduates assembled for the annual graduate procession.

Among the winners were Jason Millar, retail director of Theatre of Wine UK, who took home the Vintners' Cup and Scholarship award for achieving the highest aggregate mark across all units of the WSET Level 4 Diploma in Wines and Spirits.

The Riedel Trophy for the WSET Educator of the Year went to individuals or companies which have made significant contributions to WSET courses and qualifications around the world.

The three winners were: Dragon Phoenix, China; Hakkasan Group, UK, USA, Middle East; and Napa Wine Academy, USA.

The WSET's chief Executive, Ian Harris, said: "The academic year 2015/16 was WSET's most successful to date, with a record 72,171 exams taken globally, an increase of 17% on the previous year, marking 14 consecutive years of growth.

"In the dynamic and ever changing world of wine and spirits, education is proving increasingly important, and through our qualifications and scholarships we are committed to nurturing talent to promote the future of the industry. We are so proud of all our graduates and scholarship winners and together hope to continue to inspire others towards deeper knowledge and achievement."