Gerard Basset OBE is without question the greatest wine professional of a generation.
Gerard Basset is the first and only individual to hold the excruciatingly challenging Master of Wine qualification simultaneously with the Master Sommelier and MBA Wine Business accolades, an achievement that is unlikely to be repeated for years to come. The crowning glory of his career came in April 2010 when he won the World Sommelier Championship, cementing his extraordinary domination of the industry and this was further augmented on receiving the OBE in the 2011 Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to hospitality.
Born and raised in France, Gerard Basset originally trained as a chef, but embarked on a career as a sommelier when he moved to the UK in the 1980s. It was not long before his prodigious talent came to the attention of the wine trade with award wins for the UK Sommelier of the Year, Best International Sommelier for French Wines and Best Sommelier of Europe in quick succession.
Parallel to his competition success was a growing business empire that many only dream of, for Gerard was a founding partner of the hugely successful Hotel du Vin Group, which grew to six hotels before it was sold to Malmaison for £66 million. During his ten years at the helm Gerard mentored and trained a generation of young sommeliers who sought out his expertise and guidance to launch their careers. Many have gone on to win industry awards and more still to launch their own successful businesses on the back of their experience at Hotel du Vin and, specifically, their grounding under Gerard Basset.
The wine and hospitality industries have for a long time recognised the achievements of this extraordinary and eminently modest man. Gerard Basset has been the beneficiary of numerous awards including the On Trade UK Personality of the Year (Sopexa 2004), Special Achievement Award (Academy of Food & Wine Service 2005), Special Contribution (Drinks Business 2008), Wine Personality of the Year (International Wine Challenge 2010) and Industry Legend (Imbibe 2011). He is regularly listed in the top 100 most powerful people in the hospitality industry and in 2010 received the Catey Special Award for his accomplishments, placing him alongside an illustrious list of former winners that include Jamie Oliver, Sir Terrance Conran and Lord Coe.
On the back of his Hotel du Vin success, Gerard Basset opened TerraVina with his wife, Nina, in 2007, a boutique wine hotel in Hampshire, which has become a destination for wine lovers from around the world. TerraVina continues to win awards and accolades with fans perhaps drawn more to its impressive cellar than to the beauty of the surrounding New Forest!