2 wine stewards to represent China at the Asian sommelier competition in Singapore

Ke Jiayun
Kong Weihe won The Best Sommelier Competition in French Wine, the 14th finale on the Chinese mainland.
Ke Jiayun
SSI ļʱ

If drinking French wine is a joy in life, then a sommelier is a guide for diners on the path of discovering good wine.

"If you keep thinking about it, echoes will respond to you," remarked Kong Weihe, who won The Best Sommelier Competition in French Wine,the 14th finale on the Chinese mainland recently. "If you persist, there will always be gains."

This year, six sommeliers were shortlisted for the finals. Kong and the runner-up, Wu Yaoheng, will subsequently represent China in Singapore at the Asia Best Sommelier Competition in French Wines.

"I hope one day I can stand on the international stage, communicating and learning from sommeliers from all over the world," Kong told City News Service.

2 wine stewards to represent China at the Asian sommelier competition in Singapore
Ti Gong

Kong Weihe (middle) won The Best Sommelier Competition in French Wine, the 14th finale on the Chinese mainland.

While wine consumption in China continues to rise, the sommelier has emerged as a new occupation, having been included in the country's occupational classification encyclopedia last year.

This is China's first high-standard professional competition that serves as a benchmark for the industry.

It serves as a stage for Chinese contestants to showcase their talent, helping to produce exceptional sommeliers in the country.

The 14th China's Best Sommelier Competition of French Wine was sponsored by Taste France, a brand of the French Ministry of Agriculture and Food, and presented by Hopscotch Sopexa, a food and drink advertising firm, with City News Service and Shanghai Daily as its media partner.

"This year's competitors possess strong strength, being excellent in terms of the platform they work on, their years of experience in the industry, and their understanding and knowledge of wine," said Loic Brunot, Managing Director, Northeast Asia, of Hopscotch Sopexa, which has organized the competition for many years.

"With the difficulty of the competition increasing year by year, the competition focuses on the overall quality of the participants and their ability to adapt to random service."

This year's finals included six sessions that focused on pre-dinner wine, sparkling wine, red wine, cheese, wine service, blind tasting, and knowledge in Q&A.

2 wine stewards to represent China at the Asian sommelier competition in Singapore
Ti Gong

Kong Weihe performs during the wine service contest.

2 wine stewards to represent China at the Asian sommelier competition in Singapore
Ti Gong

Wu Yaoheng does blind tasting.

The competition not only promotes French wine culture but also demonstrates French winemakers' support for the Chinese catering business.

According to Joan Valadou, Consul General of France in Shanghai, wine is an important aspect of French culture and exports to China.

France values its wine culture, and all trained sommeliers have become advocates for it, Valadou said.

2 wine stewards to represent China at the Asian sommelier competition in Singapore
Ti Gong

Joan Valadou, Consul General of France in Shanghai

According to Brunot, this year's Sommelier Competition not only allows them to promote French wine culture but also reflects French wine's trust and support in China's wine sector as well as China's food and beverage industry.

"The French have a special fondness for wine," he said. "Wine is the quintessential product of French culture, with which it has been inextricably linked since 2,500 years ago," he remarked.

"Whether in literature, art, or everyday life, wine is associated with all pivotal moments. Every vineyard, estate, location, and bottle of wine has its own story."

He believes that sommeliers are crucial in promoting this because they are the first recommenders for consumers who can learn about a rich wine world through them.

2 wine stewards to represent China at the Asian sommelier competition in Singapore
Ti Gong

Loic Brunot, Managing Director, Northeast Asia, of Hopscotch Sopexa

"This competition is also the occasion for major wine brands such as Domaine D'Aussières, which is an excellent wine estate in Languedoc, to present themselves and to support Chinese sommeliers," he said.

They hope that in the future, with the help of Chinese wine professionals and sommeliers, more and more Chinese friends will learn about and enjoy wine, enhancing the allure of French wine in China.

"Aside from efforts for the French Ministry of Agriculture, we are extremely glad to assist several renowned Bordeaux Wine Estates such as Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou, Chateau Pavie, and Chateau Troplong-Mondot with their PR and social media strategy in China," he stated.

"And we also promote French wine regions, such as Cotes du Rhône and Alsace, both emblematic of the French know-how, respectively for red and white wines."

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