As the IWSC opens the Emerging Talent Awards for another year, we catch up with some of our 2022 winners to find out what they’ve been up to and for them to share a bit of advice for aspiring Emerging Talent winners.
First up we hear from Irem Eren. Last year Irem was awarded the award for Emerging Talent in Wine.
What was it that attracted you to working in the wine industry?
Being from Turkey, one of the geographic centres of viticulture and winemaking, wine has always been part of our family traditions, and was always the protagonist at our family gatherings. It became a passion as I travelled wine regions and learned more before it turned into profession and lately became a goal in my life. I see wine as a form of an art, connecting like-minded people.
During your career, have you received any mentorship or guidance from anyone and if so, can you share some of the advice they gave you?
I strongly believe in the importance of mentorship and guidance as knowledge and skills grow from sharing, interacting and learning from other people’s experiences. Therefore, as part of my 30-day plan in any employment, one of my goals is having a mentor and as well as having a mentee.
One of my very first mentors when I started in the wine industry in NYC, was Robin Kelly O´Connor, wine educator and communicator, advised me to savour every single moment of interaction and try to learn while communicating with others in the industry.
Another valuable learning during my journey is “being modest” while believing in yourself. The more I learn, I realise there is much more to learn, and I do appreciate every single experience and the people I meet in the wine industry.
I´m looking forward to passing these legacies and more to the future Emerging Talents in Wine and Spirits, and anyone keen to enter to our industry.
Irem with Daniel Stojcic, Hemil Haria, Sophia Longhi as well as our host Ortis Deley and 2022 President, Johann Krigg at our 2022 Awards Celebration.
What inspired you to start your current role in no & low alcohol wines?
Innovation and diversity have been my inspiration throughout my journey. During my career in different areas of the producer to consumer chain, I always have had an urge to understand the consumers´ needs and market demand. I have been continuously monitoring market trends, and as Business Development Director in dealcoholisation technology for BevZero, my role is to find ways to help the wine sector to adapt to the market evolution.The Covid-19 pandemic accelerated evolution of the wine industry. As consumer needs changed during this time, category lines became more blurred and were accompanied by an evolution of moderation, supporting growth in no and low, which has rapidly become a key category.
In comparison to beer and spirits, the wine industry is still traditional, however, with the emerging younger consumer there is a thirst for innovation. No and low-alcohol wines are a real opportunity for wine category, a chance to innovate and reinvent itself, which is an inspiration to me, and I am very happy to be part of.
The prize for this award is £2,500 travel bursary. Please explain how you intend to use the prize money.
My main aim when entering this award was to grow recognition for the innovation and diversity in the wine industry through the no and low alcohol sector. Additionally, the award included an bursary which was a great opportunity to help further my wine education and development. I am using the bursary towards my Master of Wine Studies which involves travelling to several wine regions and trade tastings which are great source oflearning.
I also recently launched an online wine journal called Winescape with my MW study partner, a portion of the bursary will be allocated to travel to various wine regions and share my learnings with our audience.
Finally, would you have any advice for the future nominees of Emerging Talents Award in Wine?
During my journey, I have had a few challenges which helped me grow more than anything. For me, it has mostly been about being a minority; an immigrant, Muslim woman in the industry. And lately pursuing my passion of wine through the no and low alcoholic wine production and combining it with Master of Wine studies always raises questions that need a response. However, I believe I have turned my challenges into opportunities, accomplishing my goals and engaging with other wine professionals about innovation and diversity in wine industry. Every challenge brings an opportunity, and I believe you should embrace these challenges. My Emerging Talent Award meant my dedication, commitment and passion was recognised. I feel very honoured and happy to be awarded with this trophy, as it shows I have been on a right path during my career. Moreover, it is a motivation to keep doing what I have been doing so far and even more.
The IWSC Emerging Talent Awards are open until 27 January. Discover more here.