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WSET holds first virtual Diploma graduation

Due to coronavirus restrictions, the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) is holding its first virtual graduation ceremony today for recipients of its Level 4 Diploma.

Mary Wright, the winner of the 2020 Vintners’ Cup

The WSET will be recognising those who completed their Diploma in 2019/20 in a virtual ceremony hosted by WSET CEO Ian Harris and with addresses from last year’s Outstanding Alumni Award winner Ferran Centelles and new honorary president Paul Symington.

The ceremony will honour a total of 252 new Diploma graduates from 26 education centres across 30 countries. Numbers are “considerably smaller” than in previous years, owing to exam cancellations due to Covid restrictions.

There are now over 11,000 WSET alumni around the world.

Commenting on the event, CEO Ian Harris said virtual ceremonies would become a permanent part of proceedings.

“Our annual graduation ceremony is a focal point in the WSET calendar,” he said. “While it is disappointing that it cannot take place in-person at the Guildhall in London this year, we are happy to be able to celebrate our recent graduates’ success virtually – as we are embracing digital platforms in all areas of our business. We are striving to make our organisation more inclusive in every way, so in future we have decided to stage a virtual ceremony every year – alongside the in-person event. This will make it accessible to the maximum number of graduates.”

Following the opening speeches, there will be a virtual roll call to honour every student’s achievement. Due to coronavirus restrictions, there is only prize being awarded this year.

The Vintners’ Cup, sponsored by The Worshipful Company of Vintners and given to the student with the highest overall mark across all units, is this year awarded to Mary Wright, who is the Sogrape Iberia Estates ambassador at Liberty Wines.

Commenting on her achievement, Wright said: “I am absolutely thrilled to have been awarded the Vintners’ Cup and Scholarship and am really grateful to The Vintners for their very generous study grant. I’m looking forward to a trip to the vineyards of South America, hopefully in the not-too-distant future.

Virtual ceremonies are being held across the world today in different time zones. The Asia Pacific celebration was held at 6pm Hong Kong time, while the EMEA ceremony will be held at 6pm CET and the Americas at 6pm CST. In the UK, the WSET School London will be holding a ceremony at 6pm GMT.

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