Sommeliers have been encouraged to submit applications for the Gerard Basset travel bursary before the 16 January closing date.
The Gerard Basset Travel Scholarship 2020, created in honour of the Hotel du Vin co-founder and former World's Best Sommelier, will see £5,000 awarded to a UK-based sommelier to visit a wine-making country of their choice and explore its regions, winemakers and wine personalities.
The bursary is the brainchild of Gerard's wife and son, Nina and Romané Basset, along with master sommelier Ronan Sayburn and wine journalist Tim Atkin. This will be the inaugural award is the first of what will be an annual bursary.
Entrants must submit a written statement of up to 500 words detailing why they are applying for the scholarship, how they plan to spend the money, and how they see it benefiting their future careers.
New entrants should email their entries to firstname.lastname@example.org by 16 January.
Nina said: “We’ve already had some really strong applications through from a number of sommeliers who evidently have a real passion for wine. And just about everyone has a different wish-list region or country they would like to visit, which would come as no surprise to Gerard who had so many personal favourite wine places!
“He believed that travelling to a region really was the best way to learn about it, which is why we we’ve set up this award. Education and inspiring young sommeliers was so important to Gerard, and the travel bursary will enable this to carry on in his name.”
A judging panel, including Nina, Romané, Atkin, Sayburn and master sommelier Laura Rhys will then shortlist three candidates for interview, who will be whittled down to one winner. The panel will also support the winner with contacts and suggestions.
Fifty guests will be invited to purchase a ticket to the inaugural fundraising dinner at 67 Pall Mall in London in early 2020 and to bring along a wine of their choice to share on the evening. A modest percentage of the ticket price will go towards the food, with 67 Pall Mall sponsoring the other elements of the event. The remainder of the ticket price will be put towards the bursary fund.