A new programme for thousands of wine diploma graduates was launched this week by the Wine & Spirit Education Trust, seeking to connect thousands of alumni around the world.
Over 120 graduates attended the Alumni Insights Series first event at Vinopolis, London on Monday 7 September: the largest recorded gathering of WSET Diploma alumni, including some who graduated in 1973.
The event, which also previewed WSET’s upcoming brand refresh, treated alumni to presentations from industry heavyweights such as Troy Christensen of Enotria and Clem Yates MW of Off-Piste Wines.
Christensen and Yates shared their ideas and expertise on a series of topics under the event’s theme Brand, Maker, Commentator. As well as industry talks, there was opportunity for the alumni to pose questions to the industry experts and a drinks and canapé reception.
Speaking at the event Ian Harris AIWS, Chief Executive of WSET, said that he wants to create a strong global network of alumni with plenty of learning and professional development opportunities.
He said, ‘We’re an educational body so believe profoundly in the benefits of continuing education and development. We hope that this will be useful for people both in their current roles and future wine trade careers.’
Since the creation of WSET in 1969, ‘we now have 8,519 graduates of our flagship diploma qualification – a community we will continue to grow’, he said.
Harris aims to keep in touch with 65% of all diploma alumni, equating to over 5,000 students, through both events and virtual media. The new network and its event programme will be run by a board of alumni, ‘so by alumni – for alumni’, added Harris.
The event was motivated following a survey with WSET Diploma alumni where they requested more content driven events, according to Sula Richards, alumni engagement manager.
More alumni events are to be held later this month in San Francisco and Toronto.