Basset passed away in early 2019 after a battle with cancer. Both a Master of Wine and a Master Sommelier, he co-founded Hotel du Vin and is a former World Champion Sommelier.
Held at a a Paulée-style dinner at 67 Pall Mall, the fundraising event was described as a celebration of Basset’s life.
At the beginning of the evening, guests were invited to stand up and share their memories of Basset, with Raymond Blanc at one stage leading the notable French contingent in the room - many of whom had either worked for Basset or been mentored by him - in a rousing rendition of La Marseillaise in Basset memory.
Judges Nina and Romané Basset, Ronan Sayburn MS, Tim Atkin MW and Laura Rhys MS said the standard of entries was extremely high.
Lise Donier-Meroz was selected as the winner, as 'all judges felt she best encapsulated the spirit of Gérard’s Travel Bursary'.
“Lise’s application was well-written, and we liked that she will use the funds to explore the whole South American continent, using eco forms of travel once she gets there. She’s an exciting new talent, and we feel she will be a shining ambassador for Sommellerie. Gérard would definitely have approved,” said Nina Basset of Donier-Meroz’s win.
As well as the £5,000 bursary, Lise will receive help from the judges in planning and tailoring her trip to South America, to make it ‘as educational and interesting an experience as possible’.
“Travelling has always been an important part of my life. As soon as I started my apprenticeship at 16 years old, I put all my savings towards a South Africa trip and it was on this unforgettable journey that I fell in love with wine and knew I wanted it to be my career,” says Donier-Meroz.
“I followed my heart with my choice of destination, and through its diversity of climates, cultures and histories, South America emerged as the natural choice.”