King of Sommeliers Gérard Basset lost his last competition

Thursday, 17 January, 2019
Jean Vincent Ridon
Gérard Basset won every wine title possible and every wine certification one can imagine. Born in France, but established for years in the UK, Gérard Basset was Master of Wine, Master Sommelier, OIV Master, Wine MBA, Decanter Man of the Year 2013 and Best Sommelier of the World 2010. Basset was made OBE for his contribution to the United Kingdom.

For all the sommeliers, Gérard Basset was a family member, our uncle, our mentor, our inspiration. Gérard's first big breakthrough was in 1992  when he took the silver medal at the Rio do Janeiro Best Sommelier of the World just behind Philippe Faure Brac. Since this podium presence, Gérard fought every battle, every competition to have his name engraved on the trophy. 2010 saw him win the ultimate title at Santiago ASI best sommelier of the world contest, crowning a perfect career in hospitality and education.

Since then he was the familiar face for every competing sommelier, the master of ceremony for every major ASI competition.

For me Gérard Basset was an inspiration, a true model. He proved to me that you can still have a very strong French accent after decades living in an English speaking country but still make it your own. He proved to me that you can reach almost 50 and still compete against the new generation because working hard always pays. He wore bowties that would make Michael Fridjhon jealous and for competitors like myself in Vienna or Gareth Ferreira in Mendoza, he was the one we answered on stage with: Can you repeat the question Gérard?

Gérard Basset was alsol a model of what the sommelier family should be, a real family where we must help each other unconditionally.

I last communicated with Gérard two weeks ago because he volunteered to help the South African sommeliers to create their own proper educational book. Even during this difficult time he was here for us, helpful, available and supportive.

Gérard Basset passed away yesterday at the age of 61. He lost his last battle against cancer. He will be missed by his wife Nina and his son Romané but he will never be forgotten by any of us.

Rest in Peace Gérard, you were the ultimate wine man.



Gerard Basset MS MW
Gerard Basset MS MW

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