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Over 40 black & ethnic minority students apply for Golden Vines scholarships

Published:  20 April, 2021

A total of 42 wine students from 23 different nationalities applied for the for the Taylor’s Port Golden Vines Diversity Scholarships programme, including students originating from Colombia, French Polynesia, Georgia, Iran, Jamaica, Malaysia, Nigeria, Peru, Thailand, Trinidad & Tobago and Zimbabwe.

Just two scholarships were available for the initiative which was set up by the Gerard Basset charity co-founded Liquid Icons to find and promote future role models from BAME and BIPOC communities.

According to data gathered from the application window, which has now closed, 29% of the applicants identified themselves as black and 71% as ethnic minorities (including indigenous peoples). Just over 60% of the candidates were female and the average age was 36. With less than 5% chance of being awarded a Diversity Scholarship, organisers said the competition is expected to be fierce.

“To have 42 students apply globally for the inaugural Golden Vines Scholarship programme wildly exceeded our expectation, especially given the high level of wine education candidates require to qualify,” Lewis Chester DipWSET, trustee of The Gerard Basset Wine Education Charitable Foundation, said.

“By offering these Diversity Scholarship opportunities, we have been able to attract black and ethnic minority students to consider spending the next three-plus years studying for some of the hardest exams on the planet which they otherwise might not have had considered attempting, propelling them to the very top of the industry.”

Adrian Bridge, MD of Taylor’s Port, which is sponsoring the scholarships, added: “We are thrilled with the number of applications this programme has received, as increasing diversity and inclusiveness in the wine industry is of the utmost importance.”

All applicants will now be invited to undertake a tailored ‘Introduction to the Course’ Zoom session to give an insight into the study programmes through a tasting and discussion with MWs/MSs.

After further whittling down, applicants will hear if they have been successful in joining the programme by 28 May. The Judging Panel for the two diversity Scholarships is comprised of Nina Basset FIH, Rajat Parr (Sandhi Wines), Carlton McCoy MS (Lawrence Wine Estates), Clement Robert MS (The Birley Clubs/Annabel’s) and Jancis Robinson OBE MW who has been selected as the Lead Judge by her colleagues.

The Golden Vines Diversity Scholarship, Internship & Mentorship Programme includes two scholarships for aspiring black and ethnic minority students wishing to undertake the Masters of Wine (MW) and Master Sommelier (MS) programmes.

The scholarships, worth up to £55,000 each, was founded this year to support two students from black and ethnic minority backgrounds to reach the very top levels of the wine industry while acting as “torch bearers” for others to consider a career in wine.

More information can be found here