Yvonne Chiong

Flashback from France: A look at Vinexpo 2009

August 18, 2009 // 0 Comments

By Yvonne Chiong Life and wine move in tandem: When you have lots of money, you can find the best wines to drink, and when you are down on your luck, you can look for the best value. As a sommelier and a consultant, it has taken me more than 10 years of ups and downs, of tasting and learning, to be the wine drinker I am today. But while there are sommeliers of all kinds in the world, they have one thing in common – a desire to share the joy of wine with the people they meet. Thus, […]

Palette Vino in Beijing: Cozy confines, good wines, superb prices

May 21, 2009 // 0 Comments

By Jim Boyce As I am a fan of the Palette Wines portfolio and of enjoying a few bottles with friends in cozy hutong surroundings, the combination of the two is bound to be a winner. Since writing last October about the Dongsishitiao branch of Palette Vino, in Beijing, I have returned four times to enjoy the reasonably priced wines and relaxed atmosphere. Palette Vino scores on several fronts. The prices are slightly above retail and thus about as low as you can find in the city, with wines on the by-the-glass menu from RMB30 and many of the several […]

Vintage tasting: City Weekend surveys Beijing’s wine scene… in 1998

October 26, 2008 // 0 Comments

By Jim Boyce A few weeks ago, I popped into Jenny Lou’s gourmet shop near Chaoyang Park and counted around 100 different sparkling wines. One hundred! Choice in Beijing, in terms of shops, tastings, and restaurant, bar, and hotel wine lists, is incredibly diverse when compared to a few years back. Case in point: this 1998 City Weekend story about a tasting of four local and four imported wines. Author Anne Stevenson-Yang noted the difficulty of finding imported wine, particularly at a reasonable price, and posited: “So when you’re thinking of uncorking a red to go with dinner, you may […]

Lessons learned: Training 2,000 restaurant workers in China

April 10, 2008 // 0 Comments

By Yvonne Chiong   Since my last post, I have completed more than 30 two-hour training sessions with restaurant employees in China – all over Shanghai as well as in Beijing and Hong Kong. The idea was to give them a basic understanding of wine.   I find it interesting that even I, someone who works in wine, can find the topic boring if it is poorly presented. My job, then, was to train more than 2,000 local Chinese restaurant employees something about wine, and not just showmanship, that is, how to open a bottle with grace and skill.   […]

New to town: Getting started as a Shanghai sommelier II

January 7, 2008 // 0 Comments

By Yvonne Chiong This is the second of two posts by Yvonne Chiong about her move to China to be a sommelier and her early experiences on the job. Last time, I explained about how I came to Shanghai from my native Singapore to become a restaurant sommelier on the Bund. What were the first lessons I learned in my job? Let’s start with my very first experience: “Would you please put the red wine on ice? I would like it COLD,” said the customer. And it was a bottle of Carruades de Lafite. What would I do? I thought […]

New to town: Getting started as a Shanghai sommelier

January 4, 2008 // 2 Comments

By Yvonne Chiong This is the first of two posts by Yvonne Chiong about her move to China to be a sommelier and her early experiences on the job. I came to Shanghai in 2003 from my native Singapore for an interview to be a restaurant sommelier. I was unaware of and unprepared for what to expect. Amazed by the vibrancy of this cosmopolitan city, I wondered, “Why do so few people here only appear to be interested in wine? There is some curiosity, but no broad wine scene, only isolated pioneers.” I heard comments that caused me to think […]

Joining the bunch: Yvonne Chiong

December 11, 2007 // 0 Comments

Yet another wine lover is joining our group of contributors at Grape Wall of China, a nonprofit site that provides info and opinions about the country’s growing wine scene. Yvonne Chiong, wine director, WHM Group Key focus: Sommelier insights “Yvonne Chiong was chief sommelier at Jean Georges restaurant (Three on the Bund) in Shanghai, 2003 to 2007, and now works as a wine director for WHM Group. She has done interviews about wine for radio and for print publications in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and the United States, has been a wine judge in competitions in New York, and has earned […]