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Caterer and Hotelkeeper 100: Gerard Basset, Hotel TerraVina

01 July 2011
Caterer and Hotelkeeper 100: Gerard Basset, Hotel TerraVina

Overall ranking: 57 (ranked 48 in 2010)

Hotel ranking: 12 (ranked 14 in 2010)

Gerard Basset, co-owner of Hotel TerraVina with his wife Nina and a co-founder of Hotel du Vin has a list of accolades that just keeps on growing. He remains the only person in the world to hold the combined titles of Master of Wine, Master Sommelier and Wine MBA. In 2010, he received the Catey's Special Award which recognises outstanding contributions to hospitality.

Gerard Basset - Career guide

French-born Basset originally came to England in 1984, when he got a job as a dishwasher and then waiter in Merseyside.

Frustrated by not being able to become a sommelier, Basset returned to France and took a chef's course at the Unifort adult education college in Beaujolais. He then cooked at restaurants and hotels in Lyon and Marseilles.

In 1988 he returned to England, this time to work at country house hotel Chewton Glen in Hampshire, as a sommelier, where he quickly rose to head sommelier. It was here that he met Robin Hutson, and the pair went on to launch Hotel du Vin in 1994. The boutique chain grew to six hotels before selling to Malmaison owner MWB Group for £66.4m in October 2004.

Basset - who made £2.4m from the sale - took some time out from the hospitality business, but returned in 2008 to open Hotel Terravina in the New Forest near Southampton with his wife, Nina - whom he also met at Chewton Glen. Since winning his first wine award in 1982, Basset has gone on to dominate international sommelier competitions, culminating in World's Best Sommelier (2010), Wine Personality of the Year (2011) and Industry Legend (2011).

Gerard Basset - What we think

After 25 years in the wine business, Gerard Basset is widely regarded as one of the world's most eminent wine authorities.

Basset achieved his dream of "reaching the top of my profession" by winning the World's Best Sommelier competition last year (after six attempts which saw him gain three runners-up positions). The success has been followed this year by more accolades from Harpers Wine & Spirit and International Wine Challenge (Personality of the Year) and Imbibe (Industry Legend) recognising his talents and continuing influence in the industry.

But Basset has more to his bow than just wine. As co-founder of Hotel du Vin and now successfully running TerraVina, he is also a respected hotelier and authority on the boutique sector, having been instrumental in defining what that constitutes in today's marketplace.

In addition to his personal expertise as sommelier and hotelier, Basset is also recognised throughout the industry as having had a great influence on UK sommeliers as a genre. His dedication to mentoring and training means there's barely an establishment of note whose sommelier hasn't benefited at some time from Basset's wisdom: think Gordon Ramsay Holdings' ex-director of wine Ronan Sayburn (now director of wines and spirits at Hotel du Vin) and Xavier Rousset, of Texture fame to name but two.

Basset also serves as the worldwide vice-president at the Court of Master Sommeliers and is a director of the Academy of Food & Wine and last year was elected the general secretary of the Association de la Sommellerie Internationale.

Gerard Basset's ranking in the 2010 Caterersearch.com 100 >>

Gerard Basset: A minute on the clock >>

Gerard Basset: The World's Best Sommelier >>

Hotel TerraVina staff win AFW gastronomy team competition >>

Hotel TerraVina website >>

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