Corks are popping out of the bottles. Bubbles are dancing in the glasses. The Consorzio dell’Asti DOCG is welcoming guests of the Wine Travel Awards official Ceremony at the London Wine Fair.
Holding the WTA Awarding Ceremony in London became symbolic and some kind of a tradition. Last year, a new innovative WTA project debuted at the LWF – and it was literally preceded by a celebration of the Platinum jubilee of Queen Elizabeth marking 70 years as Monarch. This year, the WTA team was holding the awards’ ceremony again in London – and recently, King Charles III was formally crowned at Westminster Abbey. We believe London sends us a good sign.
Wednesday 17th of May, 10:30 am marked another special milestone of the WTA project. The new and prosperous names of businesses and personalities operating in the wine tourism industry were revealed in all 6 nominations, naming the Visiting Card of the Country, Ambassador, Wine & Food Influencer, Education in Enotourism, Wine Guide, Enogastronomic Events. This reflects the result of a two-stage selection process: public voting in March and expert opinion of the WTA Jury Committee in April.
At the beginning of the sublime awarding ceremony, Sarah Abbott, MW, WTA Judge, Founder of Swirl Wine Group, marketing strategist, communications specialist, wine judge and writer, underlined the importance of the WTA initiative in today’s very diverse wine and tourism world: “Wine is a cultural journey, as well as a physical journey. Everything that we’ve experienced in recent years showed us how important it is that individual cultures can thrive and be respected, nurtured and enjoyed among as wide a community as possible. And I think those shortlisted candidates that really stood out were the ones that were fully embracing every aspect of the potential journey of wine… the viticulture, the heritage and its expression, contemporary times that lead to society and community, as well as creation of experiences where people have so much fun that they do not necessarily realize that they have been taken into this journey, culture and intellect.”
Georgia, Ukraine, France, Armenia, Moldova, Netherlands, Greece, Germany, India and UK replenished the community of WTA winners in the 2022-2023 campaign year. In total, around 300 community members coming from 30 different countries, including Austria, Nigeria, Italy and many others, participated in WTA second edition. As a result, we have 80 public voting winners and 16 final WTA winners. All of them are invited to an online master class held by Gergely Szolnoki, WTA Jury, Professor of Market Research at Geisenheim University, and to a webinar led by Romané Basset, Co-Founding Trustee of the Gérard Basset Foundation.
Considering education as an important part of our initiative and wine tourism as a whole, we have engaged with Prize Fund sponsors in order to provide a wide range of educational opportunities and experiences for the WTA 2022-2023 winners. The Château Smith Haut Lafitte, a cult place for Bordeaux wine culture which was even chosen by King Charles III for his official visit to France, invites 10 WTA winners to a Private tour and tasting of SHL and its Land Art Forest of the 5 senses. Mastroberardino, one of the oldest producers of South Italy, invites all 16 final winners to a winery tour and wine tasting in Atripalda, Avellino. The Consorzio dell’ASTI DOCG, WTA Nominees’ Sponsor and Sponsor of Welcome Drink at the WTA Ceremony, organizes an exclusive online master class and wine tasting from ASTI DOCG for WTA winners from Germany and France. Finally, the London Wine Fair is delighted to provide two free tickets to LWF 2024 and guaranteed participation in 2 masterclasses of the winners’ choice.
For the second consecutive year, Wine & Food Influencer nomination has been supported by the international wine group Vinos de La Luz, which created for journalists, bloggers, and influencers the opportunity to join the awards completely for free. This year, the nomination got new professions on the list: actors and actresses passionate about wine, TV hosts, bartenders, photographers, podcasts, sommeliers and many more.
Dr. Ricardo F. Nunez, founder and owner of Vinos de La Luz, emphasized on the Ukrainian roots of the project during the ceremony: “Last year, we were here in London two months after the invasion of Ukraine. The company who is organizing this award is also Ukrainian. They worked hard to organize this fantastic contest. And we are very proud that one team like the WTA is fighting outside of the country to put in front the identity of Ukraine.” Besides, Dr. Ricardo F. Nunez mentioned that the selection of the best among many nominees requires not only lots of time but also “to go inside the work that each and every made in their career”.
According to the Vinos de La Luz prize conditions, the WTA winner in the Wine & Food Influencer nomination, who gets the highest points from the panel of judges, receives 1000 euros. Professor Marianna Sigala, the winner of ‘Author of the Year’ was ranked first with 47 points receiving 1000 euros from Vinos de La Luz. Two other winners of the nomination determined by the jury – Gergely Szolnoki, the winner of ‘Expert Opinion’ (45 points) and Rojita Tiwari, winner of ‘The Brightest Journey’ (40 points) – receive 500 euros each.
In addition to the sponsorship of the prize fund, this year was distinguished by a very honorable collaboration with the Gérard Basset Foundation. Thanks to the personal consent of Nina and Romané Basset, Artyom Mkrtchyan, WTA winner in the Ambassador Nomination, a sommelier and proactive wine professional from Armenia, was awarded with the Gérard Basset Prize “Ambassador of the Year” receiving 1000 euros for his educational purposes.
The WTA Ceremony was followed by the walk-around tasting where guests had an opportunity to get to know WTA community members and taste their wines:
- ASTI DOCG (Italy)
- Mastroberardino (Italy)
- Vinos de La Luz (Spain, Argentina, Ukraine)
- SHABO Family Winery (Ukraine)
- Beykush Winery (Ukraine)
- Askaneli Winery (Georgia)
- ‘Armenia Wine’ Winery and Vineyards (Armenia)
What fantastic memories we made during the second edition to cherish forever! Our greetings and the good wishes of future growth and prosperity to the WTA 2022-2023 winners!
We will continue the celebration in honor of the WTA winners and second successful project year in June. The next stop is WinExpo Georgia – Friday 2nd of June at 16:00 PM, in the main pavilion of WinExpo Georgia, Business Forum area.
Author: Oleksandra Hryhorieva