Ian Harris has been named the winner of the inaugural Gerard Basset award for outstanding contribution to the wine industry.
The Wine & Spirit Education Trust chief executive received the award during the finals of the Taittinger UK Sommelier of the Year 2019, the competition to which Basset was so closely linked as former winner and head judge.
The award was established as a lasting tribute to Basset, who died in January, at the competition that he had worked so hard to grow and promote.
Introducing the Gerard Basset award, Jacobs Media Group chairman Clive Jacobs said: “It is only right that we pay a special tribute to Gerard at the final of the competition that he held so dear to his heart.”
Harris was recognised as the first winner for his work in the wine trade, particularly with young people looking to build their wine knowledge.
Nina Basset said: “Gerard loved everything about competitions, not just as a competitor, for which he had many years of experience, but also latterly as head judge, organiser, brilliant MC and enthusiastic audience member. Competing and being involved in competitions was his passion and so it seems fitting that we are today announcing an award in his honour.”
Presenting Harris with the award, she said that he had been recognised for his work “leading the brilliant organisation he runs”.
She said: “He has grown to be a worldwide force for good for wine education, inspiring both educators and students alike. He is universally respected, much admired and was a very dear friend of Gerard’s.”
Accepting the award, Harris said: “It’s a total surprise and a real honour to receive this inaugural award. I think we’re all thinking about Gerard at this very moment. Best of luck to all the contestants this year.”