Starting today online and culminating on October 7th with an in-person dinner and awards ceremony in London, wine and spirit collectors will have the opportunity to bid on some of the most unique, rare, and iconic bottles and experiences in the world, and in the process contribute to a deeply important cause. According to the official materials of The Golden Vines Fine Wine, Rare Spirit & Experience Global Online Auction, proceeds “will go to The Gerard Basset Wine Education Charitable Foundation to fund diversity and inclusion wine education programmes globally, including The Taylor’s Port Golden Vines Diversity Scholarships.” In addition, they continued, “Institutional and community groups from around the world have been given the opportunity to submit funding requests to be considered for grants from the Foundation to be awarded in 2022.”
This auction marks the second anniversary of the death of beloved sommelier and wine professional Gerard Masset, a giant in the field who, before his passing in 2019, held an unprecedented combination of titles and accolades, including Master of Wine, Master Sommelier, and World’s Best Sommelier, a title he won in 2010. He also was awarded an OBE (Order of the British Empire) and the Ordre du Mérite Agricole. His professional accomplishments are legendary, and this auction seeks to raise money for a cause that he was passionate about in life: Mentoring and helping aspiring wine and hospitality-industry professionals.
And the lots are extraordinary. Each one includes either exceptionally rare bottles or unusual bottle formats from some of the top producers in the worlds of wine and spirits, plus a unique experience tied to that lot. Fans of Bordeaux will have plenty to consider, including a jeroboam of Château Cheval Blanc 2006, an overnight at the château, and a wine dinner on-site with winemaker Pierro Clouet. Burgundy-lovers have the opportunity to bid on an overnight in Morey-Saint-Denis at the Domaine des Lambrays, a stay that will include dinner there with winemaker Jacques Devauges and pairings that focus on their wines from the 1930s. Collectors of Italian wines can bid on a lot that includes lunch with Angelo Gaja, or a different lunch with Priscilla Incissa della Rocchetta in addition to a magnum of 1985 Sassicaia and a double-magnum of the 2009. A massive six-liter bottle of the 100-point Penfolds Grange 2016, Champagne Moët & Chandon 1921, wines and experiences from Egon Muller, Glenmorangie, Château Margaux, Krug, Biondi-Santi, Harlan Estate, Colgin Cellars, Heitz, Mayacamas, and more are all available.
The auction, organized by Liquid Icons, is being held to raise funds for, as their materials put it, “The Golden Vines Diversity Scholarship, Internship & Mentorship Programme, [which] will include two scholarships for aspiring black and ethnic minority students wishing to undertake the Masters of Wine (MW) and Master Sommelier (MS) programmes—opened to candidates from all over the world. These 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. They will also be set up with an Internship programme which will include a set of diversified work and mentorship experiences with some of the world’s top wine domaines…”
Scholarship applications will be judged by a who’s who of the international wine world, including Jancis Robinson OBE MW, Nina Basset FIH, Carlton McCoy MS of Heitz Vineyards, Rajat Parr of Sandhi Wines, and Clement Robert MS from The Birley Clubs and Annabel’s. They each will, in addition, become mentors to the recipients as they travel along their professional and academic paths. It’s a deeply important cause, and an opportunity for wine and spirit collectors to experience some of the most iconic producers in the world in ways that are far more unique and personal than is usually possible.