Titled A Life in Wine: Gérard Basset, the World’s Favourite Sommelier, the one hour-long film is produced by leading London wine club 67 Pall Mall’s on-site 67pallmall.tv studio and production team.
‘I was introduced to [Basset’s wife] Nina and [son] Romané in October 2021 where we sat and discussed a potential tribute, lovingly made by those closest to him, that would inspire people and tell the story of his incredible life,’ said 67 Pall Mall producer Kiki Hopkins. ‘We worked on a list of treasured friends and family who could tell the story. By February, all the interviews had been filmed and we have been editing the film ever since. I started developing the programme in October and we will be finalising the edit next week.’
The documentary features interviews with Basset’s family and some of his closest friends, including chef Raymond Blanc OBE, wine critic Jancis Robinson OBE MW, Lewis Chester DipWSET – with Basset, co-founder of fine wine research and content production company Liquid Icons – and International Sommelier Association (ASI) general secretary Michèle Chantôme. The film spans the sommelier’s entire life, from when he first reached British shores to watch a match of his beloved football team St-Étienne, to his passing in November 2019, after a battle with cancer.
A Life in Wine explores Basset’s early hospitality days, as he began his career in the industry as a pot washer and waiter. It then follows his journey touching on all his greatest professional and personal achievements, from securing both the Master Sommelier and Master of Wine titles, to winning ASI’s World’s Best Sommelier title in 2010 and being awarded the OBE the following year.
‘It’s a beautiful story of a man who never gave up and became the best he could be,’ said Hopkins commenting on Basset’s multiple successes. ‘We tell the story of Gérard’s personal life and professional achievements through 67 Pall Mall-produced interviews, alongside a mountain of archive footage that we have been very lucky to use.’
Basset’s family features in the film and was instrumental in getting the project to completion. ‘Romané and I are delighted to be working with Kiki Hopkins and the 67 Pall Mall TV production team,’ said Nina Basset. ‘To see and hear Gérard in the documentary is poignant but heart warming and we think the documentary is a very special tribute to him.’
A Life in Wine: Gérard Basset, The World’s Favourite Sommelier will premiere on Tuesday 12th July in 67 Pall Mall’s St. James’s Room. While the screening is specifically aimed at 67 Pall Mall members, the club committed to open up to five tickets to keen non-members upon request. The screening will be followed by a question and answer session with Basset’s wife Nina, son Romané, and friend Raymond Blanc OBE.
Following the premiere, the tribute documentary will be available for everyone to watch on-demand on 67pallmall.tv as of Sunday 17th July.