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Moving tribute to Gerard Basset crowns IWC Awards gala

Published:  10 July, 2019

The great and the good of the wine trade were out in full force last night to celebrate what turned out to be a memorable and also poignant IWC awards evening – thanks largely to a message from the late, great Gerard Basset, who was filmed accepting his lifetime achievement award at the end of the last year.

The video message, which was recorded towards the end of a 15-moth battle with cancer, was played to family, friends and colleagues at last night’s gala dinner at The Grosvenor Hotel.

Harpers was in attendance for what turned out to be a series of very moving vignettes in which the much-loved sommelier-turned-hotelier recalled the football match he came to see in Britain in the 1970s, which was to change the course of his career, to co-founding Hotel du Vin and the unwavering support of his wife Nina, who officially accepted the award on stage last night along with their son, Romané.

Many of Basset’s colleagues were also in attendance, picking up gongs for everything from Small Agent of the Year to Champion Sake producer.

Liberty Wines scooped a double-win as Wine Educator Of The Year, sponsored by the WSET, and as On-Trade Supplier Of The Year, for which the David Gleave MW helmed company was praised for continuing to invest in delivery systems as well as staff.

It was also a good year for Waitrose & Partners.

The newly rebranded retailer picked up the coveted Merchant Of The Year gong as well as being named the UK Supermarket Of The Year, and was noted for its continuous efforts to offer great wines at all price points.

The Large Agent Of The Year nod went to Hatch Mansfield for putting its producers at the heart of its business, and for continuing to take on “significant winemaking talent 25 years after being established”.

Much praise also went to Daniel Lambert Wines, which walked away from the Park Lane venue as the Small Agent Of The Year.

The supplier was singled out as “a classic agent who gets out and promotes their producers”, with praise also being heaped on its standout range of “eclectic” wines.

The full run down of the awards are available to read here and also in the July issue of Harpers, out today.