A total of 42 wine students from 23 different countries have applied for the Taylor’s Port Golden Vines Diversity Scholarships programme including students originating from Colombia, French Polynesia, Georgia, Iran, Jamaica, Malaysia, Nigeria, Peru, Thailand, Trinidad & Tobago and Zimbabwe.

A total of 29% of the applicants identified themselves as black and 71% as ethnic minorities (including indigenous peoples).

Of those who applied 62% were female candidates; 67% of the students indicated an interest in applying for both the MW and the MS programmes, whereas 24% specified an interest in applying only for the MW programme and 2% in applying only for the MS programme. The average age of the applicants is 36 years of age. With a one in 21 (less than 5%) chance of being awarded a Diversity Scholarship, the competition is expected to be immense.

The Taylor’s Port Golden Vines Diversity Scholarships programme has been designed to find and promote future role models from BAME / BIPOC communities globally to reach the very top levels of the wine industry and stand as torch bearers, encouraging students from these communities to consider a career in wine.

Lewis Chester DipWSET, on behalf of the Diversity Scholarships organiser, Liquid Icons, and Trustee of The Gerard Basset Wine Education Charitable Foundation, said: “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.

“By offering these Diversity Scholarship opportunities, we have been able to attract black and ethnic minority students to consider spending the next three or more 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.”

Adrian Bridge, Managing Director of Taylor’s Port, stated: “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 two to three hour ‘Introduction to the Course’ Zoom session to give an insight into the study programmes through a tasting and discussion with MWs/MSs involved in delivering education for the Institute of Masters of Wine and the Court of Master Sommeliers (European Chapter).

By May 7, 2021 applicants will learn whether they have been accepted for an interview by the panel of Judges.

The Judging Panel for The Taylor’s Port Golden Vines Diversity Scholarships 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 Jancis Robinson OBE MW who has been selected as the Lead Judge by her colleagues on the Panel.

The judges will also provide ongoing mentorship to The Taylor’s Port Golden Vines Diversity Scholarship winners during their academic journey. The Golden Vines Diversity Scholarship, Internship & Mentorship Programme includes two scholarships for aspiring black and ethnic minority students wishing to undertake the Masters of Wine (MW) and Master Sommelier (MS) programmes – open to candidates from all over the world. These Diversity Scholarships, worth up to £55,000 for each scholar, will cover the entirety of their course and examination costs, as well as loss of earnings during their work placement internships.