On 13–15 October 2023, The 2023 Golden Vines Awards – «The Oscars of Fine Wine» – took place in Paris (France).
Golden Vines Awards Backstage
The Golden Vines Awards were created by Liquid Icons, a company founded by two friends, Gérard Basset and Lewis Chester. At the beginning, they discussed how this cooperation would look like, but later Gérard Basset decided that they needed to do something sustainable and long-lasting. So, the purpose of the company’s existence clearly crystallised and shone through in different ways.
One of them is The Global Fine Wine Report, an analytical collection of premium wines. In 2018, the world saw its first release, which in 2019 was renamed The Gérard Basset Global Fine Wine Report in honour of Gerard Basset, who unfortunately passed away in the same year. The report was published free of charge and included the results of a survey of leading fine wine professionals from around the world.
In 2020, Lewis Chester decided to establish an annual award, the list of which consisted of wine industry professionals whose names were included in The Gérard Basset Global Fine Wine Report. This was the birth of «The Oscar of Fine Wine». In parallel with the award, Lewis Chester and Nina Basset, Gérard Basset’s wife, Wine Travel Awards judge, Vice President of the Academy of Food and Wine Service (UK), Secretary General of the Association de la Sommellerie Internationale, Director of Liquid Icons, and an experienced hotelier who participated in the founding of Hotel du Vin, Hotel TerraVina, and Spot in the Woods, set up the Gérard Basset Foundation.
The 2023 Golden Vines Awards: significant events
It should be noted that all the money raised during the auctions accompanying «The Oscars of Fine Wine» goes to the Gérard Basset Foundation. The Foundation aims not only to honour the legacy and memory of Gérard Basset, but also to address the most pressing issues of the wine, spirits and hospitality industries through education, training and mentoring. The Foundation supports initiatives in the field of wine education and opportunities for young professionals in the field of oenology. The Gérard Basset Foundation is currently chaired by Nina Basset, who was a special guest at the Golden Vines Awards in 2023.
On one of her social network pages, Nina Basset writes that during the ceremony, she was «very pleased to meet many dear people who support the Golden Vines Awards and the Gérard Basset Foundation».
Last year, the ceremony was held in Florence, Italy, and the participants of The 2023 Golden Vines Awards had the opportunity to enjoy the sophisticated and romantic vibe of Paris.
This year’s ceremony is supported by culinary columnist Raphaëlle Marchal. The guests had the opportunity to taste culinary masterpieces from the stars of French cuisine – Alain Ducasse and Akrame Benallal, as well as unique wines – 2009 Dom Pérignon Rosé, 2004 Dom Pérignon P2, 2015 Château d’Yquem, 2013 Domaine Arnoux-Lachaux Echézeaux Grand Cru, 2007 Liber Pater, 2006 Istvan Szepsy 6-Puttonyos.
The 2023 Golden Vines Awards ceremony took place at the famous and mysterious Opéra Garnier in Paris, the same one that Gaston Leroux wrote about and later made the film «Phantom of the Opera».
This year’s Golden Vines Awards triumphantly ended with a Dress-to-Party Charity Gala, which was open only to guests who purchased tickets. In 2023, the price of one VIP ticket was £10,000. However, guests still had to compete for the right to attend the event, as there were only 300 tickets available.
This year’s charity Gala was held at Les Pavillons de Bercy, the Museum of Fair Art in Paris. The guests were treated to a gourmet dinner by French chefs Alain Ducasse and Akram Benallal, as well as the opportunity to taste rare wines: Krug Grande Cuvée, Krug Vintage, IWA Sake, Harlan Estate and Taylor’s Port 50-year old Tawny. The event was also attended by honoured guests Clément Robert, Fine Wine Director and Consultant at Retreat Hotel (Blue Lagoon, Iceland), as well as Marc Almert, Chief Sommelier and 2020 Michelin Sommelier of the Year.
In addition, the event was accompanied by the Sotheby’s Golden Vines 2023 auction, which featured world-class lots available for bidding exclusively to private guests of the evening.
On the Golden Vines Awards Instagram, we can see many photos from the events that took place during the awards ceremony. It is worth emphasising that this year’s award was dedicated not only to wine but also to other spirits. Thus, the guests had a chance to attend The Camus & Cigars Experience with Maison Camus at a private residence in Paris and meet the famous sommelier, wine and cigar connoisseur Stefano Chila at «Annabel’s» restaurant.
The event included an online charity auction of fine wines and rare spirits supported by the Crurated auction platform. The programme of the ceremony included interesting events: from dinners at Michelin-starred restaurants to masterclasses with winemakers from famous chateaux and visits to famous vineyards.
The 2023 auction featured more than 130 lots, among which the following deserve special attention:
- The Ultimate Golden Vines Awards Michelin Chefs Experience (this lot included the chance to stay at Le Meurice Hotel and dine with Alain Ducasse, the renowned restaurateur and chef of The 2023 Golden Vines Paris, or to have a private dinner with another famous Parisian restaurateur, Akrame Benallal);
- Exclusive wines: Jean-Yves Bizot Échézeaux Grand Cru, Bienvenues-Bâtard-Montrachet Grand Cru 2015 Magnum and others;
- A bottle of Maison Camus cognac released in honour of Gérard Basset and the opportunity to take part in a private dinner with the owner of the Camus cognac house, Cyril Camus, in Paris.
The 2023 Golden Vines Awards Winners
Finally, the winners of this year’s award are:
- The 2023 Golden Vines Best Fine Wine Producer in Europe Award Winner: Weingut Egon Müller (Mosel Valley, Germany)
- The 2023 Golden Vines Best Fine Wine Producer in the Americas Award Winner: Ridge Vineyards (Santa Cruz Mountains, California, USA)
- The 2023 Golden Vines Best Fine Wine Producer in the Rest of the World (Australasia, Africa, Asia & Middle East) Award Winner: Penfolds (South Australia, Australia)
- The 2023 Robb Report Golden Vines World’s Best Fine Wine Producer Award Winner: Domaine de la Romanée-Conti (Burgundy, France)
- The 2023 VistaJet Golden Vines World’s Best Rising Star Award Winner: The Sadie Family Wines (Swartland, South Africa)
- The 2023 Casa Ferreirinha Golden Vines Innovation Award Winner: UC Davis Department of Viticulture & Enology (Davis, California, USA)
- The 2023 Golden Vines Hall of Fame Award Winner: Jancis Robinson OBE MW (United Kingdom)
- The 2023 Golden Vines World’s Best Rare Spirit Brand Award Winner: The Macallan (Speyside, Scotland)
- The 2023 Gucci Golden Vines Sustainability Award Winner: Emidio Pepe (Abruzzo, Italy)