Three top sommeliers saw competition off from over 130 sommeliers from 11 Asian countries to win this year’s Wines of South Africa’s (WOSA) Sommelier Cup Asia semi-final, WOSA has announced.
The three winners are Taku Iguro, sommelier at L’Osier in Tokyo, representing Japan; Derek Li, Group Sommelier at JIA Group, Hong Kong representing Greater China and Chek Wong, Air Sommelier at Singapore Airlines, representing Singapore.
They will travel to South Africa later this year to represent Asia in the global final, held on September 21. They will join the winners from eight other key growth markets for South Africa: the UK, Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands, Canada, the USA, Zimbabwe and Kenya to compete to be the overall winner.
This year, over 130 sommeliers from 11 Asian countries entered the competition and the top ten candidates were selected by means of an online examination testing their South African wine knowledge.
Ten leading sommeliers from eight Asian countries/regions traveled to Hong Kong to compete in the semi final held on July 2 which consisted of a blind tasting examination, followed by an on-stage role play and service examination in front of an audience.
The judges were Darius Allyn MS, David Wong (Executive Director, Wynn Food & Beverage Academy, Macau), and Luc Bullen (General Manager, The Park Lane Hong Kong).
Commenting on the activity, Marcus Ford, Asia market manager for Wines of South Africa, said: “We were delighted by the interest in this year’s competition and we were very impressed with the knowledge and ability of the participants. The Asia round was a tough competition to win and these three young men are well-deserved winners. We wish Taku, Derek and Chek all the best for the next stage.
“The on-trade is a focus area for Wines of South Africa and we see the sommelier community as vital to developing the reputation of our wines in Asia. Through their experience of South Africa and its wines, we are confident they will guide more and more consumers to discover South Africa as one of the most exciting and innovative wine producing nations.”
Raymond Lacdang, Beverage Manager at Wooloomooloo Group, winner of Hong Kong Discover South Africa 2019 trade competition, and Tsuyoshi Hanashima, Sommelier at Kagaya, winner of Japan South African wine by the glass promotion 2018, will be attending WOSA Sommelier Cup final to cheer for these three Asian winners.
The 10 semi-finalists that competed in the Asia round this year represent Hong Kong, China, Macau, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.
- Aki Sudo, Bistro Yoshimichi, Japan
- Arneis Wu, Joel Robuchon China , China
- Chek Wong, Singapore Airlines, Singapore
- Derek Li, JIA Group, Hong Kong
- Hyisu Han, SPC Group, South Korea
- Justin Ho, Private Room TTDI, Malaysia
- Maggie Mak, Wynn Palace, Macau
- Taku Iguro, L’Osier, Japan
- Terence Wong, Arbor Restaurant, Hong Kong
- Yuthapichai Polnakoo, U Sathorn Bangkok, Thailand