The W . S . P . C . ( Wine & Spirit Professional Centre ) , the Greek branch of the global educational organization WSET ( Wine & Spirit Education Trust ) of wines and spirits, and the Sommelier professional education institution: Court of Master Sommeliers ( CMS ),based in Great Britain, awarded their degrees at an event attended by over 550 guests. This year's graduation rewarded the efforts of the student body, but also highlighted the importance of education for the development of Greek wine & spirits industry during the 10th year of their presence on the Greek market which the WSPC celebrated this year
The event took place at the KOKOTOS estate, the main sponsor of the event, which this year completed 40 years of wine-making activity. The Wine Wonders Company (wine Communication & Marketing Company ), la Chocolatière (Catering Company) & Music Vibes (Audio & Video Company) ensured that the organisation of the Graduation was impeccable.
Over 600 graduates, amongst them professionals and executives from the wider field of wine and spirits as well as simple consumers / wine lovers, received their titles in the graduation ceremony. The event culminated with the award giving to distinguished students and the awarding of 17 scholarships (the largest number to date) who, following the format of the parent organization WSET London, were designed with the educational and professional orientation of graduates in mind and funded by leading companies within the trade: THEOPETRA ESTATE , CELLIER , TSIPOURO APOSTOLAKI FAMILY, AIOLOS, DOMAINE Porto Carras, KATOGI - STROFILIA, TSIPOURO IDONIKI / Costa Lazaridis Estate, AVANTIS ESTATE, VOYATZI ESTATE, Rapsani Wine Adventure by TSANTALIS SA & WINES OF NORTHERN GREECE . The WSPC , to celebrate its 10 years of presence in Greece allocated scholarships worth over €5 .000 . The highlight of the ceremony was the award of an Honorary Scholarship in memory of Maria Charami.
The WSPC in any formal graduation of its students, awards the honorary title of the WSET Honour's Diploma to those personalities who ,with their vision and ethos, have contributed to the development of the Greek presence in wines and spirits, both in Greece and in international markets. The aim of the WSPC is that those holding the Honorary Honour's Diplomas (Hon AIWS) along with the students become members of the global educational community of the WSET.
A significant moment of this year's graduation was the awarding of the Hon AIWS to Mr. Pavlos C. Karakostas OBE , founder of GENKA COMMERCIAL SA, by Mr. Ian Harris AIWS , CEO of the WSET and by Mr. Konstantinos Lazarakis MW ( Master of Wine ), President of the W . S . P . C .
To date the personalities who have been honoured as Hon AIWS are:
- Ms. Roxane Matsa Hon AIWS.
- Dr. Stavroula Kourakou - Dragona Hon AIWS.
- Mr Paul C. Karakostas OBE, Hon AIWS.
On this very special occasion the cooperation of W . S . P . C .with the Greek Wikipedia ( Wikipedia ) was also announced..
The event was also attended by important representatives from the Ministries of Education and Tourism, representatives from the broader Greek areas of education, culture, wine and spirits, including representatives of the most important Greek wineries, wine and spirits import and distribution companies , members of the trade and the public media .
"Congratulations to our students!
It has been 10 years since we initiated the first Training Programme in Greece The vision of the WSPC® team was, right from the beginning, twofold. On the one hand, we wished to create a structure, a means by which our students could be helped to achieve their dreams - their wine-related ones at least! On the other hand, we wanted to help, or rather facilitate, the raising of the standards of the wine industry in Greece.
Our objectives are such that it can never be said that they are fully achieved, but I think that our first decade was full of important developments. Developments that many times went way beyond our initial vision. For example, our 2009 award as the best WSET® Centre worldwide, our ever increasing involvement with many other WSET® centres around the world, coupled, needless to say, with the excellent work of the Greek wine producers all helped to give a greater emphasis on Greek wine and to "get on the radar" of hundreds of thousands of WSET ® students in more than sixty countries for ten years.
The next decade, the second one, challenges us to set the bar even higher. In the years to come, the challenge is not only to upgrade the internal dynamics of the wine industry, but to make Greek wines even more important within the global environment as the tourist product of our country but also for exports. All that is certainly pretty ambitious. But that is what we said ten years ago ...
Thank you for everything!
Speech by the President of the W . S . P .C . Mr . Konstantinos Lazarakis MW