The week got off to an amazing start on Monday when my wife and I headed off to London’s Guildhall for The Wine and Spirit Educational Trust Diploma Awards 2014 . An amazing venue with some incredible history dating back to the 1400’s. A really beautiful building outside and in
Regina (aka Mrs WineAllianceMoz) was on crutches due to a broken bone in her left leg, the result of slipping on black ice while on an early morning run over the festive season. Well the WSET and the good people of the Guildhall were really incredible. They had a specially reserved seat for her during the ‘Tio Pepe’ Sherry reception in the Crypt and we were brought through the building in elevators and through private rooms so that she would not have to negotiate any stairs. Again she had a special reserved seat in the Great Hall for the awards ceremony. Real five star stuff. So a big thank you to everyone involved. Its really, really appreciated.
The awards kicked off at 6.30pm and were hosted by the WSET CEO Ian Harris. He was great and kept everyone entertained and on time for the 90 minutes of the ceremony.
The awards were presented by wine legend, Jancis Robinson OBE MW in her third and final year as Honorary President. Gerard Basset takes over and it was great to chat with him before the ceremony began. Its not everyday you get to meet someone who is a Master of Wine, Master Sommelier, Wine MBA and an OBE !
As we neared the end of the presentations, I was led on stage to accept the Wine Australia Scholarship from Yvonne May of Wine Australia and Jancis Robinson. A proud moment indeed as its awarded to the high achieving graduate from Europe (there is also one for the high achieving graduate from USA / Canada). The prize is amazing as it’s a two week visit to some of Australia’s wine regions and a chance to meet many iconic winemakers and taste their world famous wines. Its scheduled for October time so thats something to really look forward to.
We all retired to the drinks & canapés reception in the Library afterwards where a glass of Champagne went down a treat followed by a glass of white Burgundy and a chance to chat with fellow graduates and guests. It was great to meet with fellow graduate Tony Ambrosini from the USA as we had exchanged many wine study emails over the last number of months of our distance learning program. I was delighted to see him win a Scholarship also. It was a pleasure to chat again with David Bird MW and to get the opportunity to say hello to Michael Broadbent MW, author of 433 wine columns in Decanter magazine.
I want to sincerely thank everyone who helped me over the last couple of years in my Diploma study. The studying was tough but I got lots of help from friends and family. Thanks to all my lecturers, tutors and my fellow Diploma students, both classroom and online. Thanks to Dermot Nolan MW for all his help and advice and to my online tutors for their help for the Unit 3 exams. Thanks to Owen Barritt of the WSET for keeping us all on track with our study. A big shout out to the Diploma tasting group in Cork for many, many Monday night blind wine tasting sessions and loads of help, advice and fun. Thanks to the many Diploma graduates for great advice and to my customers for their encouragement. If I’ve forgotten anyone, thank you. Sincerely.
Most of all, thanks to my family, especially to my two daughters Rionna and Ciara and my wife Regina who put up with so much ‘study time’. I really couldn’t have done it without you.
Wine learning never stops, the journey continues . . .