At a star-studded event held in the stunning Opera Garnier in Paris, the Golden Vines Awards recognized the best of the best in the world of wine and spirits. Nearly 1,000 wine professionals from 127 countries voted, made up of winemakers, Masters of Wine, Master Sommeliers, wine buyers, wine journalists, and top-tier sommeliers. The gala dinner and awards ceremony was organized by Liquid Icons on behalf of the Gerard Basset Foundation.
The opera house’s magnificent central staircase became a stage for dancers and a choral group as guests enjoyed appetizers and glasses of Dom Pérignon Rosé 2009. The black tie- and gown-clad attendees then mingled with winemakers, winery owners, and a literal Who’s Who of the wine world under the ornate ceiling of a Napoleon III-style gallery. Dinner was a multi-course affair, prepared by Michelin-starred chefs Alain Ducasse and Akrame Benellal, which was served alongside some of the finest wines on the planet, including Dom Pérignon 2004 P2, Château d’Yquem 2015, Domaine Arnoux-Lachaux 2013 Echézeaux Grand Cru, Liber Pater 2007, Istvan Szepsy 2006 Azsu 6 Puttonyos Tokaji, and an exclusive blend of Camus Cognac. The crowd was also treated to the vocal stylings of three-time BRIT-award nominee Cat Burns and renowned French singer Louane.
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Having won Golden Vines Awards three years in a row, three winners became “All Stars” in their categories: Domaine de la Romanée Conti took home the Robb Report Golden Vines World’s Best Producer Award, presented by Editor in Chief Paul Croughton; the award for Best Fine Wine Producer in the Americas was bestowed on Ridge Vineyards; and Penfolds was presented with the award for Best Fine Wine Producer in the Rest of the World.
Other awardees included Germany’s Weingut Egon Müller, South Africa’s Sadie Family Wines, and Italy’s Emidio Pepe. The Macallan was the recipient of the newly minted Golden Vines World’s Best Rare Spirit Brand Award, and the 2023 Golden Vines Hall of Fame Award was conferred upon celebrated wine writer Jancis Robinson OBE MW for her service to the wine industry. Each winner took home a trophy designed by British visual artist Shantell Martin that was crafted by Amorim Cork and featured original artwork by French artist Jonathan Bréchignac—and for added “wow” they were encased in trunks created by Gucci.
Beyond the awards ceremony and opportunity to dine and socialize with wine-world royalty, the weekend-long Golden Vines events featured a Sotheby’s Live Auction offering luxury experiences including rare bottles and access to wineries and winemakers that raised just shy of $1 million for the Gérard Basset Foundation, which supports inclusion and diversity in the wine, spirits, and hospitality sectors. The foundation provides career and educational opportunities to potential sommeliers, Masters of Wine, winemakers, and other professionals, with emphasis on members of minority groups or those from disadvantaged backgrounds.
This year’s winners of the 2023 Taylor’s Port Golden Vines Diversity Scholarships, worth £55,000 ($68,084) each are Sachindri Rana from New Zealand, Eduardo Bolaños from the U.S.A., and Amrita Singh from Canada. The Diversity Scholarship awards were given at a reception and dinner at the Pavillion de Bercy. Arpine Manukian from Armenia was the recipient of the Dom Perignon Golden Vines MW scholarship, which includes a paid four-week internship at the maison and an educational grant towards the Master of Wine qualification.
Now in its third year, the Golden Vines Awards were created by Lewis Chester DipWSET in honor of his friend and business partner, Gérard Basset OBE MW MS, who died from cancer in 2019. The waiting list is now open for the 2024 Golden Vines in Madrid.
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