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No Wine Shall Be Poured Before Its Time: Shangri-La Sommeliers Train To Create Sublime Wine Experiences For Guests

New wine initiatives at Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts continue to flow.  The luxury hotel group will hold the first Shangri-La Wine Summit for its sommeliers from 29 August to 2 September 2013 at the newly opened Jing An Shangri-La, West Shanghai.

The Wine Summit is the latest in a series of professional development programmes for Shangri-La's sommeliers.  The group is one of the few hotel companies to work directly with the esteemed Court of Master Sommeliers and to have a tailor-made training environment and certification process to develop wine talents.  Shangri-La is seeking to grow the ranks of its Certified Sommeliers and further distinguish the luxury hotel group's service.

"The right wine can turn a good guest experience into a sublime one," said Lawrence McFadden, Shangri-La's group director of food and beverage.  "It is one thing to have a great wine list and another to have sommeliers with the expertise to pair wine and food seamlessly and to recommend the perfect wine for any occasion to guests."

The Shangri-La Wine Summit will include three events and kicks off with Shangri-La's first Best Sommelier Competition on 29 August.  The winner will be chosen from a field of 13 semi-finalists hailing from Shangri-La hotels in China, Maldives, Japan, Canada, Philippines and the United Arab Emirates.  They will compete in front of professional judges, including Master Judge Gerard Basset, who won Best Sommelier in the World in 2010.  Shangri-La Best Sommelier Competition will be judged in accordance with the international standards of sommelier competitions.                        

The next day sommeliers drawn from Shangri-La's 82 hotels around the world will spend "A Day with Gerard Basset" in a Master Wine Educational Seminar.  Basset, whose other titles include Master Sommelier, Master of Wine, Wine MBA, and Decanter Man of the Year 2013, will provide high-level tutoring on topics such as advanced wine tasting, current trends in the wine and hospitality industry and cellar management.

"The seminar will provide our sommeliers with new insights and tools so they have a deeper understanding of what it means to be a sommelier, said Yang Lu, Shangri-La's wine director.

Lu, who is spearheading Shangri-La's wine and sommelier training programmes, became the first person born in China to pass the Court of Master Sommeliers Advanced Sommelier examination last October.  He is also steering Shangri-La's new Wine Programme, which was launched in the group's mainland China and Hong Kong hotels in partnership with Kerry Wines, Limited.  The programme enhances wine-by-the-glass as well as cellar offerings and ensures a well-defined, structured and balanced wine programme is in place across the hotels.

The final activity on the schedule at the Wine Summit include a Court of Master Sommeliers training seminar followed by examination and certification.  The Court of Master Sommeliers (CMS) is the premier international examining body.  Since 2011, Shangri-La has been working in partnership with CMS and the Asia Wine Institute to help the company's wine talents become Certified Sommeliers. Currently Shangri-La has 15 Certified Sommeliers, two Advanced Sommeliers and 10 Introductory Sommeliers. 


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