Sommelier showdown: Park Hyatt Beijing takes the China wine services title

By Jim Boyce

The finals of the recent National Wine Services Team Competition in Shanghai saw the Park Hyatt Beijing, led by captain Lee Meiyue, take top honors against dozens of teams from across the nation. The trio of Niki Hui 惠金凤, Honey Jia 贾晓林 and Kerry Qin 秦莉 topped the competition in an all English-language finale that included decanting, Champagne pouring, and food and wine pairing — any ideas what goes with duck tongue?

The winners get a trip to the wine regions of Ningxia while the runners-up get trips to Yantai in Shandong and to Grace Vineyard in Shanxi respectively.

The judges were master sommeliers Gerard Basset, Darius Allyn and Cameron Douglas, and Frank Yuen of the Food and Beverage Manager’s Association in Singapore. Tommy Lam, who started both the China National Sommelier Competition and Sommelier Wine Challenge in 2009, organized the event.

Nine teams competed in the finals during FHC China in Shanghai after excelling at regionals, with flight, tickets and meals all covered by the organizers. The nine teams and their captains:

  • North China
    • Park Hyatt Beijing, Lee Meiyue
    • Fairmont Beijing, Faisal Majeeth
    • China World Beijing, Eric Wu
  • East China
    • Le Royal Meridien Shanghai, Richard Liu
    • Jean Georges Shanghai, Tommy Ying
    • Kerry Hotel Shanghai, Donald Yan
  • South China
    • Shangri-la Guangzhou, Minos Kwok
    • Grand Hyatt Guangzhou, Andrew Ho
    • Shangri-la Shenzhen, Daniel Zhang

The finals featured plenty of concentration and intensity by contestants, judges and spectators alike. Things lightened up substantially a few hours later when all of the sommeliers headed to The Bund for a night on the town.

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