The Future 50 is a joint venture of the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) and the IWSC. Both organisations are celebrating their 50th anniversaries this year.
To commemorate this milestone, they have chosen 50 wine and spirit professionals from around the world who represent the future of the industry.
The key criteria were that nominees had to be under 40 years of age, and working in any profession which contributes directly to the industry.
There were over 600 nominations for the first round, a longlist of professionals working as winemakers and distillers, in product development, design and distribution, marketing, journalism, hospitality and everything in between. This longlist was whittled down to 200 in the second round, then to a final shortlist of 82 names.
The judging panel for the first round included Joe Fattorini (presenter of The Wine Show and head of London sales at Fields, Morris & Verdin), Stephanie Macleod (Master Blender, Dewar’s), Christine Parkinson (Group Head of Wine, Hakkasan), Richard Paterson (Master Blender, Whyte & MacKay), Xavier Rousset MS (restaurateur), Ian Harris (CEO WSET) and Allen Gibbons (CEO IWSC).
A global regional advisory panel covering 17 countries included Debra Meiburg MW (Hong Kong), Ian Dai (China), James Tidwell MS (USA) and Pedro Ballesteros MW (Spain).
The final judging panel, chaired by Club Oenologique editor Adam Lechmere, consisted of Gibbons, Fattorini, Rousset, Paterson and MacLeod.
Paterson, one of the most internationally renowned figures in the whisky world, said “This was an memorable day to witness the outstanding global talent we have in the wine and spirit industry today. Selecting the Future 50 was no easy task especially when there was such a large list of potential candidates to draw from around the world. Those talented winners over the next few years will, I am sure be making the their mark and shaping our vibrant industry. Watch this space!”
Lechmere added, “It was incredibly difficult to find the final 50 – every entrant had a wealth of experience, knowhow and entrepreneurial sass. But what is certain is that the future of wine and spirits worldwide is in good hands.”
The judging took place at WSET headquarters in Bermondsey, London. The final result will be announced at the IWSC Awards Banquet at Guildhall, London, on 28 November 2019.