January 26, 2018

Over 500 wine and spirits influencers and professionals from across the world gathered tonight at the historic Guildhall, City of London, UK to celebrate the annual Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) Awards & Graduation. 29 graduates from Canada were announced as achieving the coveted WSET Diploma and one outstanding Canadian won an award for their results.

Hosted for the first time by new WSET Honorary President, Steven Spurrier alongside WSET Chief Executive, Ian Harris, the occasion attracted attendance from industry leaders and long-standing WSET supporters including Marius Berlemann, Laura Jewell, Richard Paterson and Jancis Robinson. Canadians made up 29 of the year’s 440 WSET Diploma graduates and their achievements were celebrated as some of only 9,000 people in the world to have ever held the accolade. Graduates and award winners hailed from the UK and USA to China and Japan, representing the global reach and relevance of WSET qualifications.

The WSET Level 4 Diploma is WSET’s highest qualification and recognised globally as one of the most distinguished achievements in the sector. The course develops an in-depth knowledge of wines and spirits, from production, regions and styles, and the global trade in wines and spirits. The Diploma is also universally viewed as the stepping stone to the Master of Wine qualification. Upon successful completion graduates receive a WSET certificate and lapel pin, and are able to use the post-nominal DipWSET and associated WSET certified logo.

Ian Harris, WSET Chief Executive, said, “Knowledgeable professionals and consumers are proving increasingly important for the future success of the wine and spirits industry. Thanks to the hard work of our educators, Approved Programme Providers and the WSET team the academic year 2016/17 marked 15 years of consecutive growth for WSET, with over 85,000 candidates worldwide completing a WSET qualification during the year. Our graduates and award winners come from all walks of life, both within the drinks trade and outside, and we’re proud to honour their achievements. We hope they will inspire others across the world to develop their education.”


Award highlights:

As the student who achieved the highest overall mark across the WSET Diploma in his year, Moritz Mueller was the winner of this year’s Vintners’ Cup and Scholarship. Originally from Germany, Moritz now lives in the UK and studied his WSET Diploma at WSET School London alongside his high-flying job in the world of finance. He is one of the rare individuals outside of the wine and spirits trade to have won the accolade since WSET started offering courses to consumers in 1991.

Another honour presented on the night is the Riedel Trophy for the WSET Educator of the Year, awarded to the individual or company that has made a significant contribution to the delivery of WSET courses and qualifications. This year’s winner was Eno Cultura, Brazil. Thiago Mendes and Paulo Brammer set up Eno Cultura in Säo Paulo in 2013 and now run courses across the country. Impressive growth has been matched with excellent exam results and their introduction of scholarships has enabled more members of the trade to access WSET courses. They have also instigated several social projects across South America.


Canadian Award Winner:


Erin Turcke from St Johns was the winner of the Napa Valley Vintners Prize as a student who achieved outstanding results across their Diploma and is employed in the wine & spirit industry. Erin, who studied the WSET Diploma at Independent Wine Education Guild, is Sommelier & Beverage Manager at the Inn at Bay Fortune. Erin is awarded with the opportunity to attend one of Napa Valley Vintners three-day professional trade education programmes.

Erin says, “After receiving my Sommelier Certification through Court of Master Sommeliers, I felt that my foundation of knowledge was insufficient to warrant using the title 'sommelier' so I started to supplement with WSET courses. Extolling the virtues of the broad approach that is the WSET syllabus - my enthusiasm for the program at all levels - encouraged many other industry workers and wine enthusiasts to get on board. It's gratifying to have influenced people in my community in a good way.”

Canadian Graduates:

Nancy Avery (Grape Experience)

Shawn Barker (Independent Wine Education Guild)

Chase Brackenbury (Fine Vintage)

David Cacciottolo (Independent Wine Education Guild)

Jane Campbell (Fine Vintage)

Erin Chambers (LaSalle College Vancouver)

Kai-Te Chang (LaSalle College Vancouver)

Amanda Davis (Independent Wine Education Guild)

Philippe DesRosiers (Independent Wine Education Guild)

Edel Ebbs (Independent Wine Education Guild)

Mark Greenwood (WSET School London)

Marcia Hamm (Fine Vintage)

Christina Hartigan (LaSalle College Vancouver)

Evan Keaschuk (Independent Wine Education Guild)

James Kerr (Independent Wine Education Guild)

Erik Mercier (Fine Vintage)

Danielle Nicholls (Fine Vintage)

Sean Ormsby (Independent Wine Education Guild)

Timothy Pellerin (WSET School London)

Michael Rochon (Independent Wine Education Guild)

Adam Runka (Fine Vintage)

Erin Salmon (Independent Wine Education Guild)

Kevin Schorath (Fine Vintage)

Erin Turcke (Independent Wine Education Guild)

Samantha Wall (Fine Vintage)

Shanyn Ward (Fine Vintage)

Christopher Waters (Independent Wine Education Guild)

Barbara Wild (Fine Vintage)

Aléna Wilson (Fine Vintage)

See the full list of graduates and award winners in our 2018 Yearbook on the dedicated microsite here

To learn more about WSET courses and find a local Approved Programme Provider visit the website at


January 26, 2018

So, what now?...

The man who meant so much to all of us has left to join his friends, chefs and gourmets of all kinds, at that great table in the sky that brings everyone together.

We’ve cried, we’ve pondered on everything we owe him.

We’ve closed ranks around Collonges-au-Mont-d’Or, in a surge of affection, filled with sincere compassion for his family and staff.

The tributes that have streamed in from across the planet have moved us deeply.

We feel like orphans but… Nevertheless, we should feel comforted in knowing that the soul of Paul Bocuse is still among us. He had a great talent for surrounding himself with the right people!

He was a man who loved to pass on his knowledge, to train and delegate people, so the machine would keep running steadfastly.

Today, several people are heirs to his knowledge, several have taken on the daunting challenge of keeping this great establishment alive, in Collonges, but also in the Lyon brasseries and the American and Japanese locations.

Today, Christophe Müller, Gilles Reinhardt and Olivier Couvin are drying their tears and rallying every ounce of energy to ensure that the flame in those stoves never goes out. Vincent Leroux, director of the restaurant, will watch over to ensure that this fine story continues.

In the brasseries, Jérôme Bocuse has placed all his trust in Paul Maurice Morel, so that these much-loved establishments continue to pulsate with life. They know that they can count on Eric Pansu, Cédric Boutroux and Olivier Bourrat.

Madame Bocuse and her daughter Françoise, Martine and the whole crew, remain the protectors of a mindset and know-how so dear to Paul Bocuse.

There is also the Fondation Paul Bocuse and its exemplary work in stimulating vocations and supporting young people who lack material resources but are driven by their faith in a career in the restaurant trade. What is more, we, the Bocuse d’Or Winners, have decided to make a donation, knowing how attached Paul Bocuse was to the foundation.

Lastly, the Institut Paul Bocuse remains the great school he always dreamed of, the one where teachers with a passion for their job will continue to work around Dominique Giraudier and Alain Le Cossec.

So our message to ourselves, the Bocuse d’Or Winners, is this: yes, close to Gl-events, we will continue to support and be involved with all our soul in the contest that Paul Bocuse loved so much and that bears his name. Yes, we will help spark the desire to take part in it. We will guarantee that excellence will always prevail, that it will underpin every action, every decision, that it will shine in the eyes of every candidate. And above all, we will ensure that this feeling of international brotherhood that was so dear to “Monsieur Paul” will reign long into the future.

All the Bocuse d’Or Winners Chefs


NEW YORK, NY JANUARY 22, 2018 – Political polarization and more fervent social movements like #grabyourwallet, #MeToo, and #TimesUp have changed the face of brand engagement and consumer loyalty, according to the Brand Keys 23rd annual Customer Loyalty Engagement Index® (CLEI), conducted by the New York-based brand engagement and customer loyalty research consultancy ( “This is the first time since the Index was initiated nearly 25 years ago where basic tenets of consumer loyalty and engagement have been turned upside-down,” said Robert Passikoff, president of Brand Keys.

Biggest Shifts In Category Dynamics and Brand Leadership

This year the Brand Keys CLEI examined 84 categories and 761 brands – from Automotive and OTC Allergy Meds to Computers, Fast-Casual Dining, Tax Preparation and Online Investing, Retail (of all types), Smartphones, Cable and Broadcast News, and Cosmetics.

How consumers view a category and how they will compare brands competing in that category changed dramatically in 100% of the Restaurant categories. All of the 2017 brands maintained their engagement and loyalty leadership positions.

“We’ve just never encountered those kinds of value-adjustments before,” noted Passikoff. “But then, we haven’t seen this kind of political polarization or social turmoil at the same time since we began taking these assessments either.”

What Drives Category Change? Political Tribalism or Social Activism?

All the restaurant sectors reacted to values associated with Social Activism that included Empathy, Equality, Empowerment, Individualism, and Pride.

1. Out-of-Home Coffee

2. Casual/Fas Casual Food

3. Pizza

4. Quick-Serve Foods

Values like Personal Responsibility, Moral Order, Family Values, Fiscal Conservatism, and Established Social Structures werethose associated with Political Tribalism.

Entirely New-View of What Consumers See As Ideal

’Brand engagement’ is still best defined by how well a brand can meet the expectations consumers hold for the values that drive purchases behavior in a given category,” noted Passikoff. “But category political polarization and social activism have shaken those values to their core. If marketers think they knew what consumers’ ‘Category Ideals’ looked like before, they need to take another hard look, because as of now consumers have an entirely new-view of what is the Ideal for them,” said Passikoff.

The Future of Successful Branding (Politically and Socially)

Decision-making has become more emotionally-driven over the past decade,” said Passikoff. “But the addition of tribal political and activist values has transformed the brand space into something marketers haven’t faced before. ‘Business as usual’ won’t cut it in this brandscape.”

“We expect to see value and expectation shifts,” said Passikoff, “But we’ve never measured anything on this scale before! Fortunately the integrated psychological nature of our approach allows us to identify new and particularly resonant emotional values and measure how they impact a category. This was the year that political tribalism and social activism rose to the top and are going to change how successful branding is done in the future.”

A complete list of the CLEI’s 84 categories can be found at:

Brand Engagement Today. . . And Tomorrow

“The concept of brand engagement is pretty straightforward,” said Passikoff. “Consumers have an Ideal for every product and service; it’s the yardstick they use to measure brands. Defining your category's Ideal is where it gets tricky, as the process is not only more emotionally-based than rational, but is now confounded by newer and nuanced political and social values. And while our most recent Presidential election and its aftermath have raised levels of political debate, it has also raised more contentious issues, more social activism, and has created far more value-infused and complicated paths-to-purchase for consumers.

“The result? Massive changes in what consumers really want and equally massive gaps between what they want and what brands are seen to be capable of delivering,” noted Passikoff. “Happily, real engagement metrics can help identify and close that gap and keep marketers on the right path to profitability.”


For the 2018 CLEI survey, 50,527 consumers, 16 to 65 years of age from the nine US Census Regions, self-selected the categories in which they are consumers and the brands for which they are customers. Fifty (50%) percent were interviewed by phone, thirty-five (35%) percent via face-to-face interviews (to identify and include cell phone-only households), and 15% online.

Brand Keys uses an independently validated research methodology that fuses emotional and rational aspects of the categories, identifies four path-to-purchase behavioral drivers for the category-specific ‘Ideal,’ and identifies the values that form the components of each driver. These assessments are leading-indicators of consumer behavior, identifying such activities 12 to 18 months before they show up in traditional brand tracking or are articulated in focus groups.

The assessments measure how well brands meet expectations that consumers hold for each path-to-purchase driver. The research technique is a combination of psychological inquiry and statistical analyses, has a test/re-test reliability of 0.93, and produces results generalizable at the 95% confidence level. It has been successfully used in B2B and B2C categories in 35 countries.


Vancouver, BC – go2HR, BC’s tourism industry human resource association, is pleased to announce the appointment of Dorothy Easton to the new position of Policy Analyst.

Dorothy will be providing research, analysis and recommendations on key employment-related issues and policies affecting the BC tourism labour market. Working closely with leaders in industry, government, educators and other stakeholders, she will play a leadership role in the ongoing monitoring and evaluation of the BC Tourism Labour Market Strategy.

She brings extensive policy analysis experience to the role, including five years in a similar position with the Industry Training Authority. Prior, Dorothy worked with the federal government on the Operational Aboriginal Policy Team of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency. She has a B.A. in Economics and a master’s degree in Public Policy from Simon Fraser University in BC.

“We are thrilled to have found Dorothy as she has a great deal of relevant professional experience in policy and research, as well as within the hospitality industry, and we are sure she will bring much insight to the role,” says Arlene Keis, CEO of go2HR. 


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