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WSET top award gained by Asian student

For the third year time this decade, the WSET’s highest accolade, the Vintners’ Cup, has been awarded to a student from Asia.

Vintners Cup - Jingwei Sun
Jingwei Sun was awarded the Vintners’ Cup for 2015

Last night, at a ceremony in London, it was announced that China’s Jingwei Sun had gained 2015’s Vintners’ Cup – which is awarded to the student who achieved the highest aggregate mark across all units of the WSET Level 4 Diploma in Wines and Spirits.

Jingwei Sun studied with the AWSEC in Hong Kong and follows two previous winners of this award since the start of this decade who hail from Asia – China born Mei Hong, who won the Vintners’ Cup in 2012, and Hong Kong based Sarah Heller, who picked up the award in 2013.

China has now become the WSET’s third biggest market after the UK and US, with student numbers totaling 6,598 in the country for the past academic year.

Unfortunately, Sun could not attend the ceremony to collect the award in person because she is heavily pregnant.

In total, 47 awards and prizes were presented to top performing WSET candidates for 2014/15.

As many as 124 of the year’s 316 Diploma graduates were also in attendance for the annual graduate procession, which took place in London’s Guildhall.

Hong Kong’s Sarah Heller won the Vintners’ Cup in 2013

Commenting on 2015’s graduates, WSET chief executive Ian Harris said, “What impresses me most about our graduates and award winners this year is how diverse a group they are. They come from all over the world, and they work in education, wholesaling, PR and advertising, importing and consulting. Our youngest graduates are in their early 20’s and the oldest in their early 70’s. It shows just how relevant WSET is right across the wine and spirit industry and beyond.”

Other award and graduation highlights announced last night included:

  • The Riedel Trophy for the WSET Educator of the YearChris Powell founder of The Local Wine School network. Awarded to the individual or company that has made a significant contribution to WSET courses and qualifications.
  • WSET Lifetime Achievement AwardRichard Paterson, Master Blender at Whyte & Mackay
  • The inaugural IWC Sake Level Three AwardAdam Bekhor of WineWire. Awarded to the top student passing the WSET Level 3 Award in Sake.
  • At 73 years of age, Mr Sotiris Kollias of Greece became one of the oldest individuals to gain the WSET Level 4 Diploma in Wines and Spirits.

In the 2014/15 academic year 61,452 candidates sat WSET exams and 316 individuals gained their WSET Level 4 Diploma in Wines and Spirits.

Winners of the Vintners’ Cup since 2010:

2010 – Charlotte Edgecombe
2011 – Emma Harrison (Now Emma Symington MW)
2012 – Mei Hong
2013 – Sarah Heller
2014 – Julie Frankland
2015 – Jingwei Sun

(It is perhaps interesting to also note that every winner of this award since 2006 has been female)

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