Sommelier Windy Zhang saw off tough competition to win the accolade.

Sommelier Windy Zhang from Chengdu’s Ritz-Carlton hotel has seen off tough competition to win the 2020 China’s Best Sommelier Competition of French Wine.

The competition, 11th edition in running, was able to host physical tasting and practical examinations after China successfully contained covid-19.

The six finalists were tested on their practical skills when serving sparkling wine, aperitif, white wine, as well as their wine knowledge through written exam and blind tasting. This year the competition added one additional test of cheese and wine pairing.

Windy Zhang (middle) won China’s Best Sommelier Competition of French Wine 2020 hosted in Shanghai on September 15

Zhang was the only female finalist and impressed the judges with professional services. The runner-up went to Brian Fan from three-Michelin starred restaurant Xin Rong Ji in Beijing.

Sol Yang from Wine Universe by Little Somm won third-place this year.

The competition was organized by French Ministry of Agriculture, Agrifood and Forestry and Sopexa. It aims to boost Chinese sommelier’s knowledge on wines particularly French wines.

For years France ranked as China’s biggest supplier for imported wines before it was overtaken by Australia. French wine exports to China has been dropping since 2018, partly due to smaller crop and softening demand in China amid slowing economy and trade war.

Its wine and spirits exports to China tumbled 14.4% in 2018 to €1 billion after growing 24.5% a year earlier, according to data released by FEVS.

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