Meet the 10 most powerful women in Hong Kong’s multi-billion wine industry, whose influence shapes local wine scene and far beyond.
Jeannie Cho Lee MW
Wine critic, writer and educator
Founder of Asian Palate
Jeannie Cho Lee is a formidable force in Hong Kong’s tight-knit wine market and beyond. A wine critic, writer and educator, Lee firmly stamped her mark in the wine world when she became the first ethically Asian Master of Wine in 2008.
Born in Seoul, South Korea, Lee came to Hong Kong in 1994 where she first started as a publisher for financial publications, but her affinity to wine started as early as 1992 when she was scribbling wine notes in her diaries.
An award-winning writer, her writings are seen in some of the most prestigious wine publications such as Decanter, Wine Spectator, The World of Fine Wine, Wine and Dine. She has also published three books on Asian food and wine pairing, and her favourite wines – Burgundy.
Aside from wine writing and review, Lee is also credited for her role in promoting wine education in Hong Kong and Asia. Having founded one of the earliest wine institutes in Hong Kong, the Fine Wine School, with British merchant Berry Bros. & Rudd, Lee now teaches at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University’s School of Hotel and Tourism Management.
Her influence in wine in Hong Kong and beyond has earned her the prestigious Knight in the National Order of the Legion of Honour in 2021, the highest French decoration established by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802 and given out by French presidents to eminent individuals.
The honor rightfully extols her “exceptional merits and her remarkable contribution to the promotion of French wines across the world,” according to the French government. The only other wine writer and critic who has ever received the medal is Robert Parker in 1999.
Lee also sits on the wine selection panel for Singapore Airlines along with Michael Hill Smith MW and British wine writer Oz Clarke.
Scroll through the pages below to read them all. Ranking is in no particular order.