WSET chief exec Ian Harris gets MBE

The Wine & Spirit Education Trust’s chief executive, Ian Harris, received the MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) from Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace this week.

Harris received the commendable honour in recognition of his services to the wine and spirit industry. 

He 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 opened Harris’s eyes to the world of wine. 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 Ian’s original passion for teaching brought him full circle when he joined the WSET as chief executive. 

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. 

In 2015 the WSET received the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in International Trade - the highest accolade for business in the UK.