Following the premature departure of the much-admired sommelier Gerard Basset two weeks ago, the Basset family has successfully crowdfunded a campaign to publish his memoir and is considering investing the surplus in a scholarship.
The crowdfunding campaign reached its target of £14k in a matter of four days after its official launch on 21 January, and it’s now 70% over-funded.
Basset started writing the book in 2017, when he was diagnosed with cancer and had to stop working to receive medical treatments. The copy was then edited by Felicity Carter, editor of Meininger’s Wine Business International.
The book, temporarily titled Tasting Victory – The Life & Wines of the World’s Favourite Sommelier, is a tribute to Basset's resilience, perseverance and drive to succeed. It culminates with Basset receiving the International Sommelier Association's Best Sommelier of the World award at the age of 53, on his seventh attempt.
‘Among the many exercises I did was to sit down and reproduce all the wine maps, complete with all the facts,’ wrote Basset in his memoirs. ‘When I checked my attempts against the original, I would re-do it all over again if I made a single mistake. I got up early every day to practice memory drills and, eventually, I was so exhausted that either my eyes would begin weeping, or I would fall asleep at my desk. But I didn’t stop.’
While the scholarship is still in its infancy stage and details are yet to be outlined, the book is due to be published later this year. The crowdfunding campaign is still open on Unbound, with pledges starting at £25.