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AXA Millésimes awards 2020 scholarships to five MW students

Published:  30 April, 2020

The Institute of Masters of Wine (IMW) and AXA Millésimes have announced the five international winners of the AXA Millésimes scholarship.

The 2020 chosen scholars are: Nicoletta Dicova, a Bulgarian journalist/communicator, based in Italy; Cherie Xin Huang, a Napa Valley wine educator from China; Portuguese winemaker Tiago Macena; Fleur Pushack, from London's Domaine of the Bee; and German Elena Rameder, sommelier at Restaurant Hofmeister, Austria.

Now in its twelfth year, the scholarship gives the winners a unique insight into the portfolio of AXA Millésimes properties in Bordeaux and beyond, with entrants asked to research and write a 1,000 word essay on the following subject, set by AXA Millésimes: Do the Douro Valley's unfortified dry white wines have the quality potential to become an important part of the future of the region, both in terms of economics and reputation?

The competition had been “challenging” to judge, said Christian Seely, MD of AXA Millésimes.

 “It was a pleasure to read these essays, which were generally of a very high standard, but the shortlist of winners stood out for the quality of their research and analysis. One entry, in particular, was exceptionally insightful and well written. We now have five clear winners, despite the high quality of the competition, and we look forward to welcoming them to Chateau Pichon Baron and our other properties as soon as it is possible to arrange,” he said.

Adrian Garforth MW, executive director of the IMW, added: “Congratulations to Nicoletta, Cherie, Tiago, Fleur and Elena. In these incredibly challenging times, it is wonderful to be able to report a good news story and to see the hard work of these five students rewarded through the AXA Millésimes scholarship.

“The relationship between AXA Millésimes and the IMW is both long-lasting and incredibly close, and we look forward to working with Christian and his team in the coming months as the wine trade moves beyond the Covid-19 pandemic.”

As soon as restrictions lift and it is safe to travel, the winning scholars will visit the Medoc, based at Chateau Pichon Baron in Pauillac, as well as neighbouring Château Pibran, and leading 1er Cru Château Suduiraut in Sauternes. 

During their Bordeaux stay, they will spend time with the winemakers, tour the vineyards and develop their blending skills in the cellars. The prize concludes with an all-expenses-paid trip to Quinta do Noval estate in the Douro valley.