LU Yang and Wallace Lo to compete for Best Sommelier of Asia & Oceania title

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LU Yang from Mainland China and Wallace Lo from Hong Kong have won the right to represent Greater China in the Best Sommelier contest of Asia & Oceania later this year.

Image: LU Yang (left) and Wallace Lo (right)

LU Yang, who won the Best Sommelier Greater China competition in 2014, and Wallace Lo, the 2nd runner-up, beat champions and runners-up from the previous two years, as well as the 1st runner-up of the 2014 competition, to earn their place in the regional final to be held in Hong Kong this November, according to the Hong Kong Sommelier Association (HKSA).

Victory for LU Yang in the Greater China contest represented a milestone for Mainland Chinese sommeliers. This year’s Asia-wide final will be an opportunity to test those skills at a higher level.

‘The biggest challenge I will face in the Asia & Oceania competition is that I have never participated in competitions of an international level,’ LU Yang, corporate wine director at Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts, told DecanterChina.com.

‘I don’t have the experience, and there will be more excellent competitors [compared to Greater China competitions]. Australia and Japan both have world-class sommeliers. There are also brilliant contestants from Korea, Singapore and Malaysia.’

Lo said it could be an advantage to have Hong Kong as the host city for the final, to be held between 5 and 8 November. He already works there as sommelier at French restaurant Bibo in Sheung Wan.

He said he would have liked more time to prepare, but added that at least Hong Kong allows him access to a wide variety of wines. ‘I am glad that I am working in such a sophisticated wine market,’ he said. ‘We have almost every wine region on the market for us to taste.’

Sommelier competitions include blind tasting, service and theory elements, and Nelson Chow, chairman of HKSA, told DecanterChina.com that his organisation will help both candidates to prepare for the regional finals.

‘We will have previous candidates sharing details of the competition, and each month they will have practical skills training with me.’

Chow added that an executive committee will score the performances of LU Yang and Wallace Lo in both training and in the Asia & Oceania competition. In December, the committee will decide who shall represent Greater China at the Best Sommelier in the World contest to be held in Mendoza, Argentina, in April 2016.

Read also:Greater China sommeliers: the route to international competitions >>>

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