Winnie Toh (pictured) an Asian Advanced Sommelier Certificate holder sommelier from Singapore working at the Aman Hotel in the Turks & Caicos Islands, was named the winner of The Golden Vines Master Sommelier Scholarship, while Mags Jango the British founder of MJ Wine Cellars and bamewineprofessionals.co.uk was named winner of The Golden Vines Masters of Wine Scholarship.
The winners were announced by Liquid Icons, the fine wine research and content production company founded by the late Gerard Basset and his friend Lewis Chester and chosen by a judging panel comprising Nina Basset, Rajat Parr, Carlton McCoy, Clement Robert and lead judge Jancis Robinson.
Toh began her career at the Raffles Hotel in Singapore and has since travelled and worked across continents. She is currently preparing for the MS diploma.
“We were all hugely impressed by Winnie’s wine journey, from a junior internship at Raffles Hotel in Singapore 20 years ago to managing an international team of sommeliers at an Aman resort in the Caribbean,” says lead judge Robinson.
Jango’s wine career began in 2009 when he chose to take up a role at his local Waitrose after completing A Levels. He earned the Level 2 and 3 WSET Awards in Wines during his time there, as well as the Level 2 WSET Awards in Spirits. In 2014, he studied for the WSET Diploma and accepted an on-trade sales role with Winetraders UK and in 2016 completed the WSET Diploma with Merit.
His most recent venture, MJ Wine Cellars, focuses both on creating brands for UK retailers, and on importing niche, small batch, hand-crafted wines.
The 10 winning scholars for the 2021 Golden Vines Wine Scholar Guild Scholarships are Nikan Jooyani, Shalva Khetsuriani, Arlene King, Olufikayo Ifaturoti, Oscar Marulanda, Alec Merkt-Caprile, Emma Ogiemwanye, Tanmay Rathod, Jai Singh, and Aki Sudo.
The Golden Vines Masters of Wine and The Golden Vines Master Sommelier Scholarships are each worth £12,500, and will cover the full costs of tuition, examination and tastings incurred by the student studying for these programmes. The scholarships are being funded by The Gerard Basset Wine Education Charitable Foundation from monies raised at The Golden Vines awards ceremony and dinner, which is being held at Annabel’s Private Members Club on 7 October.