WSET celebrates its top-perfoming students

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A Chinese student took top honours as the WSET held its 2013 Awards and Graduation Ceremony last week.

Image: Hong Mei (centre) being presented with the Vintners’ Cup
by Michael Cox, Master Vintner of the Worshipful Company of Vintners (left) and Jancis Robinson MW OBE
Photography by Rob Lawson ©Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET)

Hong Mei, a Chinese wine consultant based in Burgundy, received The Vintners’ Cup, the top award for the highest ranked diploma graduate of the year. Over 100 diploma graduates were present from all over the world to receive their diplomas.

‘I didn’t expect it,’ Ms Hong said on Weibo later. ‘It was just good luck. It doesn’t mean I’m more brilliant than the others. But I’m very glad for getting the scholarship.’

'It is my honour to be the first Asian Winner of the Vintners' Cup,' Ms Hong told DecanterChina.com. 'The prize was a recognition for my effort and achievement in the past. WSET Diploma provided me a solid foundation for further study in wine. However, the wine world is so broad and profound and I will dedicate my whole life in it.'

The ceremony was hosted by WSET’s chief executive Ian Harris. More than 500 graduates, scholarship prize winners and distinguished guests attended the event at the City of London’s historic Guildhall.

WSET’s honorary president, Jancis Robinson MW OBE awarded more than 40 industry-sponsored prizes, trophies and awards to the best-perfoming students at WSET Level 2, Level 3 and diploma level.

The Riedel Trophies for WSET’s two Educators of the Year went to Adam Chase, owner of Grape Experience (USA) and Len Sexon, wine education manager at Laithwaite’s Wine.

In the opening speech, Jancis Robinson commented on the increasing interest of wine in China, reflected in WSET’s business. ‘Despite the continued growth of student numbers in the UK, the fact is that Greater China is set to overtake the UK as WSET’s biggest market this year, something I would have never imagined possible when I did my diploma,’ she said.

Ian Harris in turn paid tribute to the educators, administrators, the students and the supportive industry companies, saying ‘the WSET Trustees and I are very grateful for the commitment you have all demonstrated to education in general and WSET in particular.’

The Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) is the largest global provider of qualifications in the field of wines and spirits, with courses that are currently available in 60 countries and in 17 languages. 43,254 students sat a WSET exam in the academic year 2011/12, with over 1,000 of them sat in Mainland China.

In November 2012, it launched a dedicated Chinese language website, www.WSET-China.com.

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