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Thierry’s announces 2010 WSET winner

Thierry’s, the UK’s leading wine importer and the Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) has announced the winner of the Thierry Cabanne Scholarship Award 2010 at the WSET Awards and Graduation Ceremony which took place at the Guildhall last night (Monday 18 January).

Andy Battman will spend a month working with the Thierry’s team and will be given the opportunity to experience all areas of the wine business including sales, marketing, PR and logistics, as well as producer visits and tastings. A management consultant, with extensive experience in change management, marketing and troubleshooting, Andy has worked across a wide range of industries, in both private and public sectors. He has spent the last ten years advising some of the world’s largest organisations on how to improve their business – Diageo, the FSA, Lloyds TSB, Kimberley Clark, Coca Cola, T-Mobile, Dixons, the Department for Transport and the Ministry of Justice.
Andy’s passion for wine started with an inspirational trip to Burgundy in 2004. Since then, he has spent most of his holidays and free time visiting wine regions in France, South Africa, New Zealand, Portugal, Spain and California and studying for his WSET Diploma, which he recently passed with merit, despite working outside the wine trade.
“For me, completing the WSET diploma is just the beginning of my journey into the world of wine,” says Andy. “Winning the Thierry Cabanne Scholarship Award is going to provide an excellent opportunity to learn how the industry works from the inside. I am really looking forward to gaining practical experience with the team at Thierry’s and I also hope to add some insights from my background working in other industries. I have a real passion for making wine more accessible to the public and I hope to use my time at Thierry’s to explore this topic further and to communicate about wine in a manner which helps consumers understand their own tastes.”
Andy has already been in touch with last year’s winner, Pieter Rosenthal, for some tips. Pieter is now working in the industry as a wine consultant and is also committed to developing his wine blog, “Being awarded the inaugural Thierry Cabanne Scholarship Award last year has been a major catalyst for a career change I had been considering for a while,” says Pieter. “I suppose I would describe the experience as being given a jump-start where it wasn’t just about knowledge being shared, but an opportunity to delve into a very valuable network. I found the experience greatly rewarding as well as refreshing. Everyone at Thierry’s approached it with great enthusiasm and I felt they got as much out of it as I did in the end. The experience has given me the confidence to find my own voice in the sometimes daunting world of wine.”
Matthew Dickinson, Thierry’s commercial director, comments, “We were delighted with how the inaugural Thierry Cabanne Scholarship Award went last year. Pieter’s stint at Thierry’s was a huge success; we set him some very challenging projects during his time at Thierry’s which he threw himself into and he came up with some very valuable insights.”
“I’m sure that Andy will make a valuable contribution to the company too. He is clearly passionate about wine and education and, more importantly, about making wine accessible to consumers. This will certainly stand him in good stead at Thierry’s, as it is something we feel strongly about too. We will ensure that he gains exposure to as many aspects of the wine business as possible and we’re looking forward to welcoming him as part of the Thierry’s team this summer.”
“We would like to pledge our ongoing support and commitment to the WSET as a corporate patron and sponsor of the Thierry Cabanne Scholarship Award, which we launched last year. The WSET is a highly successful organisation with global appeal. In addition to all the excellent work that it does, both at home and abroad, educating thousands of people about wine, the WSET also has a fantastic opportunity to play a wider role in helping the average consumer to understand more about wine and to help them make the right choices when selecting wine. As the latest recruit on the WSET board, I am committed to exploring further how best to empower more people and to give them more confidence to select and drink good wine.”
Thierry’s – the consumer’s championThe Thierry Cabanne Sponsorship Award, which is open to first or second year WSET students, stipulates that candidates should not currently be working in the wine trade.
 “The Thierry Cabanne Scholarship Award was created with the values of Thierry’s late founder firmly in mind,” says Dickinson. “Thierry himself was a firm believer in offering the customer great value for money. He put his money where his mouth was and was a real champion of the consumer. He was never a wine snob and believed in making wine as accessible as possible to a wider audience. He was one of the first to recognise the power of the supermarkets and had the foresight to realise that this was where most people would buy their wine. Thanks to his vision, Thierry’s now enjoys excellent, long-standing relationships with all major multiple retailers and specialists and we are fully committed to continuing his legacy. As the best independent route to market, Thierry’s is in a very good position to be able to do so.”

1 January 2010 - Felicity Murray