The Taylor’s Port Golden Vines Diversity Scholarships have received an influx of interest, with 42 BAME students from 23 countries applying for the programmes.
Among those to apply were students from Colombia, French Polynesia, Georgia, Iran, Jamaica, Malaysia, Nigeria, Peru, Thailand, Trinidad & Tobago and Zimbabwe.
Of the applicants, 29% identified as Black and 71% as ethnic minorities (including indigenous peoples), with 62% of the applications coming from women.
Over two thirds of the applicants expressed an interest in both the MW and the MS programmes.
The scholarship programme has been designed to find and promote future role models from BAME / BIPOC communities globally to reach the upper echelons of the wine industry and help to encourage students from these communities to consider a career in wine.
“To have 42 students apply globally for the inaugural Golden Vines Scholarship programme wildly exceeded our expectation, especially given the high level of wine education candidates require to qualify, and provides an intense level of competition to win these incredible Diversity Scholarships,” said Lewis Chester, a trustee of The Gerard Basset Wine Education Charitable Foundation.
“By offering these Diversity Scholarship opportunities, we have been able to attract Black and ethnic minority students to consider spending the next 3+ years studying for some of the hardest exams on the planet which they otherwise might not have had considered attempting, propelling them to the very top of the industry,” he added.
Adrian Bridge, managing director of Taylor’s Port, added: “We are thrilled with the number of applications this programme has received, as increasing diversity and inclusiveness in the wine industry is of the utmost importance.
“For Taylor’s Port, a brand with 329 years of history that trades in 130 countries, it is natural for us to help grow cultural diversity in our industry.”
All applicants will now be invited to undertake a tailored Zoom session to give an insight into the study programmes through a tasting and discussion with Master of Wine and Master Sommeliers involved in education.
By 7 May, applicants will learn whether they have been accepted for an interview, and the winners of the scholarships will be announced on 28 May.
The judging panel is comprised of Nina Basset FIH, Rajat Parr (Sandhi Wines), Carlton McCoy MS (Lawrence Wine Estates), Clement Robert MS (The Birley Clubs / Annabel’s) and lead judge, Jancis Robinson OBE MW.
The Golden Vines Diversity Scholarship includes two scholarships for aspiring BAME students wishing to undertake the Masters of Wine and Master Sommelier programmes and is open to candidates from all over the world.
The scholarships will cover the entirety of the winners’ course and examination costs, as well as loss of earnings during their work placement internships.