WSET‘s Ian Harris gets MBE

02 January, 2018

Wine & Spirit Education Trust chief executive Ian Harris has been appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the New Year’s Honours List 2018.

Harris receives the commendation in recognition of his services to the wine and spirits industry.

Harris said: “After 25 years in the mainstream, commercial side of the industry, I have enjoyed the last (and the best) 15 years of my career at the Wine & Spirit Education Trust.

“Education is the foundation for any successful industry and I am privileged to lead an organisation that nurtures future generations of wine and spirits professionals and enthusiasts. I am very proud of what the team at WSET have achieved over the past few years and we will continue to work to build a fruitful future for this great industry, which I love.”

Having gone to university with the intention of becoming a teacher, a life-changing year in Bordeaux soon opened Harris’s eyes to the world of wine, ultimately kick-starting what would become a lifelong career in the wine and spirit industry.

Following a career in sales and marketing, including 10 years with Waverley Vintners followed by 15 years with the Seagram Spirits and Wine Group in the UK and France, in 2002 his original passion for teaching brought him full circle when he joined the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) as chief executive.

In his time at the helm, Harris has overseen the transformation of WSET into the largest global organisation of its kind, with annual candidate numbers growing from 10,000 in 2002 to more than 85,000 in 2017. WSET now offers nine qualifications in wine, spirits and sake across four levels of progressive study, in 19 languages through over 700 Approved Programme Providers in more than 70 countries.

In 2015 with WSET receiving the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in International Trade - the highest accolade for business in the UK. In 2016 he was also presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Drinks Retailing Awards.

Harris is married with two children and holds the WSET Level 4 Diploma in Wines and Spirits. He also occasionally teachies, particularly on the WSET’s Business and Commercial Knowledge (BACK) course held annually in the UK.

Keywords: WSET, ian harris

Digital Edition

Drinks International digital edition is available ahead of the printed magazine. Don’t miss out, make sure you subscribe today to access the digital edition and all archived editions of Drinks International as part of your subscription.


La'Mel Clarke

Service isn’t servitude: the skill of hosting

La’Mel Clarke, front of house at London’s Seed Library, looks at the forgotten art of hosting and why it deserves the same respect as bartending.