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Jancis Robinson hosts WSET dinner in NYC

Jancis Robinson OBE MW hosted a tasting and dinner for US-based WSET diploma graduates and students in New York city last week.

WSET picture
An Evening with Jancis Robinson at Manzanilla Spanish Brasserie.
Left to right: Mary Ewing Mulligan, director of WSET programs USA, David Wrigley, Jancis Robinson, Ian Harris and Antony Moss, strategic planning director, WSET

Designed to accommodate people from across the US, diploma graduates came from Canada, the Midwest and the West Coast to join the event, which was held at Midtown’s new Spanish brasserie called Manzanilla.

Introducing the event, WSET chief executive Ian Harris said: “Of our total of over 48,000 students last year, 10% are in the USA, making it our third biggest market after the UK and Greater China. But where Diploma is concerned, the US is our second most important market, and I’m delighted to be able to put on an event here.”

Opening the tasting, Jancis spoke of how the WSET Diploma had been a vital step in her own learning, and made the case for structured, systematic education. “Without it, you just tend to stick to those regions or varieties that you personally like,” she said, “and you risk never being in a position to discover new things.”

Discovery was one of the themes behind Jancis’s selection of wines for the tasting part of the evening. In a discussion with David Wrigley MW, WSET’s global communications director, she talked about the thrill of making new discoveries, her continual quest for wines which out-perform for their price (and her conviction that there are, conversely, many expensive wines which are underwhelming), and her admiration for the younger generation of producers who combine “ambition and talent” to find new ways to innovate.

She also spoke of her life running “It started as a great place to put out my tasting notes,” she explained, “and although it now takes a lot of maintaining, I just love the immediacy of it and the fact that anyone can come in and comment.”

Following a dinner created for the occasion by Manzanilla chef Dani García, Ian Harris commented: “In our WSET Diploma graduates we have a very significant group of individuals, some 7,000 strong, many of them in key positions in the industry around the globe.”

Continuing he said, “Events like this help reinforce the sense of community that exists among them. And for all the connectivity we now have at our disposal, we’ve just proved that people will come a long way for the opportunity to meet face to face – tasting and learning with others of like mind.”

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