WSET Winner Victoria Mason has written a report of her experience whilst attending the Academy Course in 2017. The report provides an insight into the lifetime opportunity of visiting our wonderful Champagne Houses and experiencing the course.
Darren Ball - The Ivy
Congratulations to Darren Ball of The Ivy who won the Champagne Academy Scholarship at the WSET Awards. He will now go on a study course in Champagne which takes place at the end of June and lasts one week.
Here is a brief synopsis of Darren's Career to date:
Bar Manager of The Ivy since February 2012, Darren Ball was born and raised in Birmingham. At the age of 15 – to earn a little extra money while still at school – he started working as a glass collector at The Ivy Leaf Sports & Social Club in Sheldon. From there he had various part-time jobs in hotels, pubs and bars before moving up north in 2003 to study Marketing at Manchester University. Whilst there, he worked evening shifts at The Palace Hotel as a bartender. Staying there throughout his four years at university, he revamped the cocktail menu and was promoted to Head Bartender before moving to Leicestershire in 2007.
Darren worked fleetingly for Key Parker Ltd as a Marketing Assistant in 2007, before realising he much preferred his evening shifts at the pub, working behind the bar; as a consequence, he moved back to Birmingham in 2008 to devote himself to a career in the hospitality industry. He began working as a bartender at the Hotel du Vin in 2008, before moving up the ranks to become Head Bartender in 2009. The turning point for Darren’s career was in 2011, when he was appointed Head Bartender at Hotel du Vin’s newest venture in London, Bistro du Vin on Dean Street.
He joined The Ivy in February 2012 and within four months was promoted to Bar Manager. Darren’s passion for the job shines through; he appreciates it’s not just about creating a particular drink, but allowing the customers to explore and enrich their drinking experience.