• Honorary Membership for John Rigby

    John Rigby former Chairman, Vice President, & Longtime council member of the Irish Guild of Sommeliers being presented with Honorary Membership of the Guild by Oliver J. Murtagh after today’s AGM held at the Palace Bar Dublin

    Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, suit and indoor

    Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, standing, sitting, suit and indoor



    14th June, 2019 by Patrick Schmitt

    Gerard Basset’s “magic combination of charm and determination” was celebrated this morning at a service of thanksgiving in Winchester Cathedral.

    Providing a beautifully-crafted and touching tribute to Basset at the memorial was Jancis Robinson OBE, MW, who addressed leading figures from right across the world of wine, all of whom had gathered at the stunning Gothic cathedral to mark the life of this famously high-achieving sommelier, hotelier, wine personality and author.

    Recalling how she had first met Gerard at Chewton Glen – the top-end hotel that launched his career in the UK – Jancis said that she was struck by Gerard’s ability to “give people what they wanted, not he”, as well as his “Poirot moustache” and “cheeky grin”.

    From then on, she said how Gerard “kept popping up like a benign cork”, and applauded him for being “far from a wine bore”, while praising his “global legacy”, which, she said, was “his deep love of wine’.

    Concluding her tribute, she said that Gerard had “a magic combination of charm and determination that will remain with us forever”.

    Also paying tribute to Gerard was his son, Romané, who read Farewell My Friends by Rabindranath Tagore, before telling the congregation that they should remember his father by “perfecting their approach” to wine, which, Romané added, was Gerard’s “passion and his life”.

    Meanwhile, Winchester Cathedral’s The Reverend Canon Roland Riem, said that Gerard had made the absolute most of his gifts, while stressing that he was both “admired” and “loved”.

    Ahead of this, as he opened the service of thanksgiving, he asked the congregation to “smile with Gerard and savour a life well-lived.”

    Gerard was diagnosed with cancer of the oesophagus in 2017 and underwent a course of chemotherapy before undergoing a major operation in February 2018. Sadly, in July, it was confirmed that the cancer had returned, and in November, he was given a terminal diagnosis and a 6-12 months life expectancy, before dying on 16 January aged 61.

    While undergoing treatment Gerard wrote his memoirs, which detail the “life and wines of the world’s favourite sommelier”, his 30-year career in the hospitality industry and rise to the very top of his field.

    Called Tasting Victory, the book is being published by Unbound – a website that employs crowd funding to bring books to the market. Please click here to make a donation, which includes a copy of the book when published

    Winchester Cathedral was chosen for the memorial service because the city held a special place in Gerard’s heart, as it was here that Gerard opened the inaugural Hotel du Vin, the hugely successful wine-focused chain of hotels he founded with hotelier Robin Hutson.

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    A truly global audience gathered for the service of thanksgiving

    After days of rain, the first rays of sun appeared just in time for the service



  • The Association de la Sommellerie Internationale was founded in Reims (France) on June 3rd 1969

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    The Association de la Sommellerie Internationale was founded in Reims (France) on June 3rd 1969 – 50 years ago today!

    Since that day, it has had the following aims:
    – To bring together the national sommelier associations (just one member association per country) and to promote their founding where they do not yet exist
    – To co-ordinate actions aimed at developing and advancing the profession by various means (training courses, etc.)
    – To enhance the sommelier’s profession and educate consumers
    – To defend the ethics of the profession.

    Let’s all raise our glass to the official International Sommelier day!

  • AGM 2019


    Notice is hereby given that the annual general meeting of members of the Irish Guild of Sommeliers will be held in the Upstairs Lounge of the Palace Bar 21, Fleet Street, Dublin, 2, on Tuesday 18th June, 2019, at 12 noon

    Andrew O’ Gorman, Company Secretary,  Irish Guild of Sommeliers

  • Alex Findlater dies following riding accident in India

    Irish businessman Alex Findlater dies following riding accident in India

    Findlater was last of family to lead the wine merchants and retailing business founded in 1823

    Alex Findlater, who will be buried at Mount Jerome Cemetery, Harold’s Cross,  following a funeral in St Brigid’s church, Stillorgan, next Thursday

    Alex Findlater, who will be buried at Mount Jerome Cemetery, Harold’s Cross, following a funeral in St Brigid’s church, Stillorgan, next Thursday

    The former chairman of Findlater Wine MerchantsAlex Findlater, has died following a horse-riding accident in India.

    Mr Findlater was the last family member to lead a wine merchants and retailing business that had been established in Dublin in 1823.

    Mr Findlater (81) had lived most recently in CongCo Mayo, where he married his wife, Patricia (Trish), in 2011.

    William Alexander Findlater was born the second of five children to Dermot and Dorothea Findlater. The family home, Abilene on Newtownpark Avenue, in Foxrock, Co Dublin, was sold only last month following the death of his mother in 2017. She had briefly been the oldest living person in Ireland.

    Mr Findlater followed his father, Dermot, into the family business in May 1956 as an apprentice while studying at Trinity College.

    He was made a company director at 21 and, following the death of his father in 1962, became the senior family member in the business. Following a difficult trading period in the 1960s, the Findlater retail business was sold in 1968 to Galen Weston.

    The family retained the wine business and continued to trade independently until 2001 which it was sold to C&C, which merged it with its own Grants wine business. The merged business was sold to DCC in 2008 and later to Valeo Foods in 2014.

    Mr Findlater will be buried at Mount Jerome Cemetery in Harold’s Cross following a funeral in St Brigid’s church, Stillorgan, next Thursday.