IWSC announces shortlist for inaugural Emerging Talent awards

IWSC news

Thu 1 Apr 2021

By Pip Mortimer

As spring comes round once again, bringing with it a new wave of productivity, the IWSC has been busy searching for fresh and upcoming talent within the drinks industry.

A new suite of awards has been created in 2020 to highlight, recognise and reward a range of people whose drive, ambition and hard work has shown them to be the superstars of the future. Sponsored by key drinks industry companies, these trophies were created as part of the IWSC’s aim to support and nourish talent and education throughout the world of wine and spirits.

The nominees for the Emerging Talent in Wine, Spirits, Hospitality and Bartending represent a wealth of ability and virtuosity. From creating new platforms to leading movements, educating the many and launching new lines – these are the people to watch in 2021.

Emerging Talent in Wine

The Emerging Talent in Wine sponsored by Waitrose aims to find an individual whose tenacity, hard work and beliefs have changed the face of the world of wine. Their achievements have shone out as refreshing, inventive and ground-breaking.

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The nominees are:

  • Fran Bridgewater, UK
Fran was nominated for her outstanding work in marketing and communications. Her founding of WineJobsGB has the aim to match talent and vacancies across the industry, helping the drinks and hospitality industry to get back on their feet again; with all profits going to The Drinks Trust.
  • Tommy Grimshaw, UK
This talented winemaker from Langham Estates has already achieved so much in his early twenties. He has set up Emerging Vines, with friends Tom Wedgery and Josh Beamish whose aim is to encourage young people to think of winemaking as a career whilst spreading the word of English wine in a fun and interesting way.
  • Icy Liu, France
Icy was driven by the recent social movements to create a new podcast and platform to represent minority groups in the drinks industry and highlight the threat of climate change and other social problems. Her podcast Ungrafted and the Asian Wine Professionals platform seek to focus the current conversations on these important topics and make a difference.
  • Jessica Marinzeck, Brazil
Breaking boundaries in her home country of Brazil, Jessica is turning the tide on traditionally held views about both wine and those who work with it. With intense social media presence, education and communication she is reaching huge audiences about wine.
  • Jamie Smith, UK
Jamie wanted to bring the joy and engagement of an urban winery to Hertfordshire. Despite the pandemic, he and business partner Alex launched an online wine tasting school, creating a brand new way of sending wine through the post and running, fun, informative and unpretentious online tasting courses to the masses with readily affordable prices.
  • Peter Yeung, USA
Using his management experience, Peter has delved into the world of marketing and managing luxury wine production, sales and promotion. He has written the definitive guide on this with Luxury Wine and created the podcast XChateau which looks in-depth at areas that affect the wine industry.

Emerging Talent in Spirits

The Emerging Talent in Spirits sponsored by Whyte & Mackay. This trophy aims to find a person who embodies the goals of both the IWSC and Whyte & Mackay. An individual who shows dedication and passion for their work in the field of spirits, curiosity, and creativity for what they are doing and where they wish to go, keeping a respect for the past in mind and yet informing the present with new ideas and talent.

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The nominees are:

  • Alice Pearson, UK
Youthful driven head of new product development for Cotswolds Distillery, Alice has shown dedication and passion to her progress in the industry. Her creativity shines through with new releases such as the Christmas Gin and Cotswolds Gin Essence.
  • Liam Scandrett, UK
Bringing spirits education to the masses, Liam is the face of the WSET spirits courses. The highlight was bringing together and teaching over two thousand hospitality workers, many furloughed or unemployed to receive training in WSET Level 1 Spirits to enable them to stay connected to the industry and continue their training.
  • Rachel Sutherland, UK
Rachel is currently the Flavour and Sensory Development Specialist at Warner’s, but is only a percentage of a wide ranging interest in spirits and flavours that has seen her work with some of the top brands in the UK. Her work is breaking new ground in product development, quality and sensory evaluation.
  • Mitch Wilson, UK
Taking on the mammoth task of uniting varying rum brands, Mitch has started to build a global platform for the promotion, education and understanding of rum as a category; uniting producers, brands and the rum buying public.


Emerging Talent in Hospitality

The Emerging Talent in Hospitality sponsored by Consorzio Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore aims to recognise the dedication and innovation of an individual in the hospitality industry towards helping it maintain fantastic customer service, looking after the employees within and finding new ways and means to draw people in to once again going out!

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The nominees are:
  • Amber Gardner, UK
A multi-facetated approach to the wine conversation, Amber promotes English wine, runs a wine shop and pushes for sustainability, equality, fairness and visibility within the wine trade for both customers and those who work in the industry.
  • Luke Harbour, UK
Luke’s journey into hospitality shows the value of hard work and determination. Rising through the ranks with the Pig Hotel group, he now is on a mission to change the way the hospitality industry approaches sustainability, recruitment and healthier eating in Britain.
  • Matteo Montone, UK
Giving a 360 degree view to the role of a sommelier, Matteo is passionate about having a conversation with customers to educate and entertain them. Coupled with a drive to change the perception of the role of a sommelier both from within and outside the industry, he advocates for education and awareness in the hospitality industry.

Bartender Award

The Bartender Award wishes to highlight the contribution an individual has made to the world of bar tending, not just be serving the perfect cocktail, but through their creativity, altruism, aim and achievements to change the face of the world behind the bar from more then a night out, to one of the pillars of the drinks world.

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The nominees are:
  • Nate Brown, UK
Restaurateur, barman, journalist and distiller, Nate is on a mission to change the face of how we consume cocktails and drinks and the industry that serves them.
  • Lucas Groglio, Argentina
Lucas is an Argentine entrepreneur who has used his passion for cocktails and spirits to spread the message of sustainability across the spirits industry and provide free education to hospitality workers.
  • Matthias Soberon, Belgium
Highlighting the importance of communication in the bar scene, Matthias is the force behind Served by Soberon, uniting and informing cocktail lovers from all across the world.


We'll be announcing the winner on our social media channels at 12:00 GMT on Tuesday 13 April 2021. Follow us on Twitter to be the first to know.