The WTA judge Nina Basset Honors Nicolas Clerc with the Prestigious Gérard Basset Award

United Kingdom

In a momentous tribute to the extraordinary dedication and unyielding passion within the wine industry, Nicolas Clerc – the Wine Travel Awards nominee at Ambassador of the year category, has been bestowed with the highly coveted Gérard Basset award. As the Founder and President of the UK Sommelier Academy, Clerc’s relentless pursuit of excellence in the wine world has been recognized and celebrated during the Taittinger UK Sommelier of the Year 2023 finals, an event closely intertwined with the legacy of Gérard Basset, of whom Nina Basset is the Co-Founding Trustee and Chair of the Gérard Basset Foundation.

The Gérard Basset Award, established as a lasting homage to Gérard Basset, a trailblazing figure inspiring the industry and a driving force behind the esteemed competition, was presented to Clerc as a testament to his outstanding achievements and contributions. Having been named the UK Sommelier of the Year in 2007, Clerc’s journey as a respected wine professional has been adorned with numerous awards in the field of sommelier expertise.

Serving as a mentor to many and fervently supporting aspiring sommeliers in their pursuit of success, Clerc’s commitment to the advancement of the industry has been resolute. Clerc has played a pivotal role in shaping the UK Sommelier Academy, emerging as the driving force behind its creation. His unwavering passion for the industry has been deeply admired, making him an exemplary figure for aspiring sommeliers and wine enthusiasts alike.

Nina Basset, in presenting the award, spoke passionately of the exceptional candidates considered, yet the decision was unanimous in acknowledging Clerc’s exceptional contributions. Complimenting him as a much-respected wine professional and an inspiring mentor, Basset acknowledged Clerc’s continuous involvement in supporting sommeliers through their MS and ASI exams.

For Clerc, the recognition holds profound significance, having worked closely with Gérard Basset on various projects, including the UK Sommelier of the Year competition and the establishment of the United Kingdom Sommelier Academy. The award not only celebrates his accomplishments but also honours the collective effort of the Basset Clan and all involved within the UKSA, carrying forward Gérard Basset’s indelible legacy.

Deeply touched and honoured by the recognition, Clerc emphasized the invaluable lessons he learned from Gérard, which have instilled a selfless dedication to serving others without expecting anything in return. The award serves as a poignant reminder and motivation for him to continue his passion-fueled journey in the wine industry.

The wine world applauds Nicolas Clerc, a true visionary and passionate ambassador, for his tireless contributions to the industry, and the Gérard Basset award stands as a symbol of enduring inspiration and admiration for his remarkable achievements.

Nina Basset serves as a jury member for this year’s Wine Travel Awards. In partnership with the Gérard Basset Foundation, we have established the prestigious Gerard Basset Prize to honour the Ambassadors of the Year, paying tribute to the late Monsieur Gérard Basset – a Master of Wine, Master Sommelier, and Wine MBA, who always shared his knowledge and experience generously with young sommeliers. This prize aims to inspire wine personalities to pursue further education and knowledge. This year, the Gérard Basset Prize “Ambassador of the Year” was received by Artyom Mkrtchyan – an experienced sommelier and passionate promoter of Armenia and its wine. Artyom’s “Decant wine shop & tasting room,” specializes in Armenian wines, offering a vast collection, wine literature, tastings, and wine events. He also leads tailored wine and gastro tours and founded “VINI – Armenian Wine Guide”. Vini’s mission, captured by the slogan “Every Armenian wine,” is to introduce consumers to all wines and producers in Armenia professionally, regardless of size, while embracing international expertise and the country’s cultural essence. 

We congratulate Artyom Mkrtchyan and Nicolas Clerc on receiving the well-deserved awards for their outstanding contributions to the wine industry, each in their unique and inspiring ways.