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Diversity scholars recognised at The 2021 Golden Vines Awards

Published:  11 October, 2021

The 2021 Golden Vines Diversity Scholarships have been awarded to Angela Elizabeth Scott from the USA and Dr Erna Blancquaert from South Africa.

The two awards, worth £55,000 each, were presented last Thursday (7 October) alongside the winners of the 2021 Golden Vines Awards at a ceremony and dinner held at Annabel’s Private Members Club.

There were 42 aspiring black and ethnic minority students from 23 countries wishing to undertake the Masters of Wine (MW) and Master Sommelier (MS) programmes, with each applying for the two scholarships.

The scholarships cover course and examination costs, as well as loss of earnings during their work placement internships, organised by not-for-profit Liquid Icons, with some of the world’s top wine domaines.

Angela Elizabeth Scott, originally a human rights lawyer for a non-profit, decided to leave the legal world behind to relocate to Napa and work in the wine industry while studying for the Wine & Spirits Education Trust Diploma.

After working as a tasting coordinator for Karen MacNeil, author of The Wine Bible, and working for Spottswoode Winery as hospitality manager, she moved to Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand.

“Receiving The Golden Vines Diversity Scholarship, Internship and Mentorship programme means that I will be able to connect with key figures and gain experience 
to which I would otherwise lack access. I hope to help others do the same,” said Scott.

Jancis Robinson MW, on behalf of the judging panel, said: “The wine world is incredibly lucky to have Angela Scott. Ex-human rights lawyer, ex-Karen McNeil’s tasting co-ordinator, current Master of Wine student who sold her house to pay for the MW course.”

The other winner, Dr Erna Blancquaert is a lecturer and researcher in Viticulture at the Department of Viticulture & Oenology and the South African Grape & Wine Research Institute at Stellenbosch University. She was the first BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Colour) female to obtain a PhD in Viticulture on the African continent.

“I am honoured and humbled. This Golden Vines Diversity Scholarship will enable me to expand my knowledge on the entire wine value chain, implement it in my teaching, and address global vitiviniculture problems through my research,” said Blancquaert.

Robinson said: “As for Erna Blancquaert, she could provide inspiration for more than fifty million South Africans as the first wine academic of colour there. Her achievements are dazzling already, and that in a part of the world where it can be extremely difficult to get to grips with the rest of the wine world. She is a natural leader and a stickler for truth. I wish her every success.”

Adrian Bridge, CEO of Taylor’s Port, the sponsor of the scholarships said: “As a company, we always worked closely with Gérard Basset and were involved in his first Hotel Du Vin in Winchester. Gérard was a great supporter of the wine industry and education, so it is an honour for us to be associated with his name and this very important award”.

The winners of The 2021 Golden Vines® Awards each received a trophy in a presentation case made by Tonnellerie Cavin.

Organised by Liquid Icons, Golden Vines Awards recognises the “star performers of the fine wine industry”, as well as raising funds for the Gérard Basset Foundation.

The charity, which was founded by family and colleagues of the late Gérard Basset OBE MW MS, recently revealed it had broadened its mission statement to include promoting diversity and inclusion across the hospitality industry.

Guests at the event were treated to a 5-course 3-star Michelin dinner cooked by Chef Mauro Colagreco of Mirazur, sponsored by S. Pellegrino, and a list of wines from Dom Perignon P2, Egon Müller, Domaine Baron Thenard, Domaine de la Romanee Conti, Château d’Yquem and single malt limited edition whisky from The Macallan.

For entertainment, Kylie Minogue, who was a special wine entrepreneurship award winner on the night and maker of the highest selling rosé wine ever in the UK over the last year, topped the bill, along with world-renowned The Kingdom Choir.

The winners of the 2021 Golden Vines Awards:

- The SGC Golden Vines Best Fine Wine Producer in Europe Award: Weingut Egon Müller, Mosel Valley, Germany

- The Gucci Golden Vines Best Fine Wine Producer in the Americas Award: Ridge Vineyards, Santa Cruz Mountains, California, USA

- The VistaJet Golden Vines Best Fine Wine Producer in the Rest of the World Award: Penfolds, South Australia, Australia

- The Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Golden Vines World’s Best Fine Wine Producer Award: Domaine de la Romanée Conti, Burgundy, France

- The Virgin Galactic Golden Vines World’s Best Rising Star Award: Domaine Arnoux-Lachaux, Burgundy, France

- The Julius Baer Golden Vines Innovation Award: Coravin, US

- The Macallan Golden Vines Hall of Fame Award: Aubert de Villaine, Burgundy, France

- The Liquid Icons Special Award for Wine Entrepreneurialism - The Most Successful Rosé Wine Launch of 2020/21:Kylie Minogue Wines, UK

For an interview with both Angela Elizabeth Scott and Dr Erna Blancquaert, see Harpers' upcoming November issue available in print and online this Friday