Hong Kong, June 19, 2014 – Following the success of Shangri-La’s first Wine Summit in 2013, initiated as a series of professional programs to nurture the group’s gifted sommeliers, the Asian-based hotel group will organize its second Wine Summit led by newly appointed wine ambassador Gerard Basset OBE and Shangri-La’s corporate wine director Yang Lu from July 8-10, 2014 at Shangri-La Hotel, Beijing.
The entire summit is committed to advancing internal wine talents and providing them customized training over a series of events, including tutorials, the Best Sommelier Competition and a prestigious wine dinner. By raising the sommeliers’ expertise, they will in turn redefine service levels to enrich guest experience encompassing wine selection and value for money.
One of the conference highlights is the sommelier competition based on the Silver Service Standard developed by the Court of Master Sommeliers. The high standards will see 12 sommeliers – representing Shangri-La properties in Beijing, Hong Kong, London, Maldives, Paris, Shanghai, Sydney, Toronto and Tokyo – challenged by theory and oral tests, beverage and wine service, food and wine pairing, and blind tasting to attain the coveted title of Best Sommelier (won last year by Mark Moffatt of Shangri-La Hotel, Toronto).
Appraising the competitors will be a panel of judges including Gerard Basset, the only person ever to simultaneously hold the Master of Wine, Master Sommelier and Wine MBA honors; Yohann Jousselin, hotel sommelier at Island Shangri-La, Hong Kong, winner of Best Sommelier U.K. 2011 and the only Master Sommelier in Asia; as well as various leading wine personalities and media in China.
While the group’s Best Sommelier will be announced at a media reception on July 10, Gerard Basset and Yang Lu will share enhanced developments and initiatives since Shangri-La’s Wine Program was launched in 2013. From its initiation and objective to focus on enhancing wine offerings in hotels in China and Hong Kong, the program has since heightened wine consistency, diversity and quality across the properties.
To conclude the Wine Summit, a dinner at S.T.A.Y – the acclaimed restaurant by French Chef Yannick Alléno – will be held at Shangri-La Hotel, Beijing.
Co-hosted by Gerard Basset and Yang Lu and supported by the top sommeliers, the event is open to the public and intends to immerse wine aficionados and world-renowned producers, namely Pierre Montegut from AXA to present Château Suduiraut, Château Pichon-Longueville and Château Petit-Village, in a special evening of fine food and prized pours. For enquiries or reservations, please contact Shangri-La Hotel, Beijing via email: [email protected] or telephone (86 10) 6841 2211.
Wine Summit Backgrounder 2014
The Shangri-La Wine Summit returns with a sophisticated twist this year: a bigger, better and more entertaining event than ever. The wine-loving, connoisseur hotel group has always taken an approachable stance on delicious bottles of fermented grapes and has consistently been at the forefront of wine culture in China.
With competitive prices and an erudite selection of vintages and producers, Shangri-La boasts one of the most well-composed collections of wine in the market with top bottles sourced from boutique producers and artisan wineries. The group only offers wines with exceptional drinkability served up by passionate professionals who provide expert advice and personal, detailed service to guests.
With familiarity and an emphasis on China’s wine market, as well as a clear awareness of international trends, Shangri-La is a pioneer in the scene, with a vibrant understanding of the tastes, lifestyles and inclinations of the industry. Throughout the year, Shangri-La has also been arranging distinctive and creative events, such as the “Great Wines of Italy” at Jing An Shangri-La, West Shanghai and the “La Paulee de Chine” at Pudong Shangri-La, East Shanghai and Shangri-La Hotel, Qingdao.
This commitment to quality will continue with the 2014 Wine Summit. Following the huge success of the Shangri-La Wine Summit 2013 at Jing An Shangri-La, West Shanghai, which gained great exposure and education for the sommeliers and all those involved, Shangri-La will pull out all the stops for the Wine Summit in July 2014 with a much more extensive program. This year’s summit will be based around the theme, ‘Business Mind of a Successful Sommelier’. It is set to be held at Shangri-La Hotel, Beijing from July 8 to 10, 2014.
“It’s a great company that put this [wine summit] on,” said Mark Moffatt, champion of Shangri-La Best Sommelier Competition 2013. “I have been doing this for 20 years and I have never been in a company that has taken so much pride and effort in promoting what we do.” Moffatt will be back this year, alongside many other great talents who will be in attendance, competing and revelling in the event and the great celebration of wine that it is.
Newly appointed “Shangri-La Wine Ambassador” Gerard Basset OBE will also be present. Basset will put sommeliers through a three-day seminar about enhancing the customer experience, which will cover storytelling, creativity and how to read clientele. He will be the master judge for Shangri-La’s Best Sommelier Competition, leading a panel of adjudicators comprising media and other wine experts. He will also co-host a wine dinner with Yang Lu, Shangri-La’s corporate wine director, at S.T.A.Y. on July 10, 2014 featuring top wine makers.
Different media events will also take place during the three action-packed days. On July 9, 2014, the second day of the summit, S.T.A.Y. will host an intimate wine pairing lunch. It will be followed by a special tasting session for media friends, during which Basset and Lu will share pairing insight and erudition. During this lunch and throughout the three-day event, media friends will have the unique opportunity to get up close with the wine ambassador and corporate wine director. Moreover, a special press reception will take place after the Best Sommelier Competition on the final day.
Shangri-La is one of the few hotel groups to work directly with the esteemed Court of Master Sommeliers and to have a tailor-made training environment and certification process to develop wine talents. Basset and Lu have been specially appointed to enhance their wine program and nurture their practised, certified sommeliers. To date, the group has a total of 32 sommeliers, of which 18 are certified by the Court of Master Sommeliers – with one master sommelier, three advanced sommeliers and 14 certified sommeliers.
The group has always placed emphasis on the development of internal wine talents, with a key focus on the local masterminds who understand their neighboring market and customers, with the intention of bettering the guest’s experience. Shangri-La has put forward many resources not only to train its sommeliers in wine knowledge, but also to nurture their creative mindset. Every year, the group sponsors the sommeliers on winery trips to different regions to study the wines in terms of viticulture and oenology.
In August this year, Shangri-La will send selected sommeliers from its China hotels to the Skyline Winery in Xinjiang Province for a harvest trip to learn about viticulture and vinification with renowned Professor Demei Li. This educational trip will not only equip the sommeliers with hands-on winery experience, but also help them have a better understanding of wine from the fundamental level, thus enhancing the guest experience and giving them personal stories to recount.
With such passion and focus on making its collection and group knowledge more worldly, Shangri-La recently revamped its wine program in China to be more comprehensive and adventurous. It has already raised the bar of its wine programs across its China properties and taken them to another level, whilst bringing about a clearer philosophy and consistency in quality.
With Basset’s appointment as the group’s wine ambassador, he will work alongside Lu to review Shangri-La’s extensive wine selections further. They will continuously make certain that the group’s selections showcases established wine estates worldwide and ensure that the wines are well-structured and balanced with exciting artisanal wines from boutique producers. The group makes no compromises between price and quality, and this guarantees that guests will enjoy attractively priced and fine wines by the glass or by the bottle.
Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts Best Sommelier Competition – 12 Semi-finalists
Kelvin Cheng, Aberdeen Marina Club
Kobe Hou, Kerry Hotel Pudong, Shanghai
Ringo Lam, Kowloon Shangri-La, Hong Kong
Oni Zhou, Shangri-La Hotel, Beijing
Jerry Liao, Jing An Shangri-La, West Shanghai
Anne Lomas, Shangri-La Hotel, At The Shard, London
Winnie Toh, Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort & Spa, Maldives
Cedric Maupoint, Shangri-La Hotel, Paris
David Shoemaker, Pudong Shangri-La, East Shanghai
John Mackinnon, Shangri-La Hotel, Sydney
Mark Moffatt, Shangri-La Hotel, Toronto
Yukio Tsuchita, Shangri-La Hotel, Tokyo
Bio of Gerard Basset
Arguably one of the greatest wine professionals of his generation, Gerard Basset is the Sommelier‘s Sommelier; he is a former World Champion Sommelier and the only person ever to simultaneously hold the Master of Wine, Master Sommelier and MBA Wine honors.
Parallel to this has been his business success, first with co-founding the hugely successful Hotel du Vin Group and latterly with his award-winning New Forest boutique wine hotel, Hotel TerraVina. As a business figure, Basset has been responsible for inspiring and mentoring a generation of young sommeliers, and his innovative approach to training has led many to competition and business success in their own rights.
In June 2011 Basset was appointed OBE – Officer of the Order of the British Empire – acknowledging his extraordinary contribution to the British hospitality industry and the crowning glory of a remarkable career that has seen him become one of the most credible, approachable and respected figures of the wine world.
Bio of Yang Lu
Yang Lu is the corporate wine director for Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts, overseeing the wine program and sommelier team for the entire group. Previously he spent three years as sommelier for the Peninsula Shanghai, where he raised the status of local sommeliers profoundly and became the most important and influential sommelier in China. He is the only Advanced Sommelier in Greater China and holds a W.S.E.T. Level 4 Diploma (Merit). He also graduated in Viticulture and Winemaking from Niagara College in Canada. He was the champion for all three major sommelier competitions in China, and has received many awards and recognitions over the years. He also writes, teaches, judges and speaks about wine regularly.
Bio of Yohann Jousselin
Yohann Jousselin is the hotel sommelier at Island Shangri-La, Hong Kong. Aside from enhancing the hotel’s wine list with fine vintages from around the world, Jousselin is also responsible for training his service colleagues on wine knowledge and aims to elevate the high standard of dining experience that Island Shangri-La has been offering its guests.
Jousselin’s career in wine spans over 14 years. He has worked at some of the most prestigious restaurants in Europe and has attained the ultimate professional credential in wine service – Master Sommelier (the only Master Sommelier in Asia), which can only be accomplished through various levels of certification, as well as stringent and accurate career assessment that requires at least ten years of professional experience. In 2011, Joussselin won U.K. Sommelier of the Year before moving to Macau to assume the role of head sommelier at Robuchon au Dôme at the Grand Lisboa.
Hong Kong-based Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts, one of the world’s premier hotel companies, currently owns and/or manages more than 80 hotels under the Shangri-La brand with a room inventory of over 34,000. Over four decades the group has established its brand hallmark of ‘hospitality from the heart.’ The group has a substantial development pipeline with upcoming projects in mainland China, India, Indonesia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Philippines, Qatar and Sri Lanka. For more information and reservations, please contact a travel professional or access the website at www.shangri-la.com.