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Five stage one students share IWSC Foundation scholarship

Five stage one students share IWSC Foundation scholarship

IWSC Foundation, part of the IMW’s international supporter community, has awarded five scholarships worth £5000 each to MW study programme students.

The prize fund of £25,000 is shared by Ana Gallegos, Xinhao Hu, Arpine Manukyan, Agnese Meiersone and Karene Vilela.

IWSC Foundation made the fund available to stage one MW students, assessing the applications on a case-by-case basis.

Christelle Guibert, CEO of IWSC Foundation said, “The IWSC Foundation is dedicated to education, and we want to support and encourage new talents to start their MW journey. We want to ensure that ideas and talent aren’t held back by access to opportunity and resources, and the five students showed real determination and a desire to give back to our wine community.”

Sarah Harrison, head of operations at the IMW, said, “Every year this scholarship provides five students with an incredible opportunity to access £5000 to help them to achieve their goals. This year was a particularly strong field of applications, and so I want to extend my congratulations to the successful students. Finally, I would like to say a huge thank you to the IWSC Foundation for their generous support of these students.”

Ana Gallegos is a writer, WSET-certified educator, judge at international wine competitions and the founder of Ana Wine Co, the first trilingual blog dedicated entirely to exploring wine. She is currently the branch manager of the ‘Société des Alcools de Québec’, and dedicates part of her time as chief sommelier officer to Vinicia Education Society, where she focuses on diversifying the wine industry.

Based in Ningxia, China, Xinhao Hu runs an agricultural tech company offering precision viticulture and winemaking consulting services to many of China’s established and emerging wine regions. Xinhao holds his Master of Viticulture and Oenology, and hopes to promote the digitalisation of wine production.

Arpine Manukyan is an oenologist based in Armenia, and is the first and still the only person in Armenia who has received the WSET Diploma and Weinakademiker qualification. Over the past eight years, Arpine has worked in various aspects of the wine industry in Armenia and gained hands-on experience during harvests in wineries in Italy, Germany, Argentina and the U.S.

After coming third in the Baltic Sommelier Championship in 2016, Agnese Meiersone went on to become the only female to win the Latvian Sommelier Championship in 2017. With over 15 years of experience in the wine industry, Agnese actively participates as a judge in Latvian, Baltic and Nordic sommelier, whilst also running a YouTube channel “No Sediment”, where she posts weekly videos on all things wine.

Karene Vilela is the CEO of Protus Clae Wines, a recognised importer of global wine brands distributed around Brazil. Using her education in business, she co-founded “Got Wine?”, a company seeking to demystify wine to young consumers through creative events. Karene is an experienced speaker and wine judge and is a proud WSET wine educator at The Wine School – Brazil’s pioneer WSET certificate programme.


For more information contact:

Gurpreet Raulia
Marketing and Communications Officer
Institute of Masters of Wine
+44 (0)207 383 9139

Notes to editors:

About the Institute of Masters of Wine (IMW)
The IMW is a membership organisation with an exceptional international reputation. For almost 70 years, its members – the Masters of Wine (MWs) – have been at the forefront of leadership and expertise in the world of wine. The IMW’s mission is to promote excellence, interaction and learning across all sectors of the global wine community. MWs prove their comprehensive understanding of wine by passing the MW exam, recognised worldwide for its rigour and exacting standards. In addition to passing the exam, members must sign the code of conduct before they are entitled to use the initials MW. This requires them to uphold the highest standards of commercial conduct within the industry. Today, there are 415 Masters of Wine working in 30 countries. The membership encompasses winemakers, sommeliers, buyers, journalists, shippers, consultants, viticulturalists, academics, educators and more. The IMW works with 34 supporters and two research and industry associates, who help promote the IMW’s mission. The five principal supporters are Austrian Wine, AXA Millésimes, Constellation Brands, the Madame Bollinger Foundation, and Waitrose and Partners.