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Laura Catena elected as new honorary president at WSET graduation ceremony

Published:  20 April, 2023

Dr Laura Catena was announced as the new honorary president of the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) at its annual graduation ceremony at London’s Guildhall last night (19 April).

One of Argentina’s best-known champions for advancing its quality wines around the world, Catena, who is MD of Bodega Catena Zapata, takes over from Paul Symington of Symington Family Estates.

The role, which is ambassadorial, will see Catena supporting the ongoing advance of the WSETs highly success mission to deliver wine and spirit education around the globe.

"I am deeply honoured and committed to supporting WSET in its efforts to increase diversity in the world of wine, and to communicate and embrace sustainability in our community,” said Catena.

“There is no organisation with a wider international footprint than WSET in wine, and that is why the honorary president position is so exciting for me.”

Michelle Brampton, WSET chief executive, added: “I’m excited about Laura’s appointment as our new honorary president – she will be a fantastic ambassador. I look forward to working with her to further WSET’s purpose in empowering people through inspiring learning experiences all over the world.”

At the hybrid physical and online ceremony – Brampton’s first in her role – she also congratulated the new batch of graduates, welcoming 587 new Level 4 Diploma achievers, bringing the number of WSET alumni globally to 12,500.

    • Read more: Laura Catena wins the first Old Vine Hero Award

This year’s Vintners Cup, awarded to the graduate achieving the highest marks across all units of the Level 4 Diploma, went to Felicty ‘Fliss’ Cox, who studied at the WSET’s flagship London school.

Cox said she was “stunned and surprised” by the award, adding that: “Gaining the WSET Diploma has given me the confidence to help others understand wine better and impart my passion for wine to them.”

Meanwhile, regional scholarships, awarded to wine Diploma students achieving the highest overall mark in their respective regions, were: Napa Valley Asia Pacific Scholarship, for Marc Bloom in Australia; Decanter Americas Scholarship, for Cory Marx in USA; IWSC EMEA Scholarship, for Kristel Balcaen in Belgium; and Vintners’ UK Scholarship, for Peter Bland in the UK.

The outstanding alumni award, sponsored by, celebrating the achievements of the alumni community globally, was awarded to Alexandra Schrecengost from New York.