Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts, the Asia-based luxury hotel group,
has appointed one of the most esteemed professionals in wine, Gerard Basset OBE,
as the group's first wine ambassador. The U.K.-based French native won the 2010
Best Sommelier in the World title and is the only person ever to simultaneously
hold the Master of Wine, Master Sommelier and MBA Wine honours. Basset will
work alongside Yang Lu, Shangri-La's corporate wine director on enhancing the
group's wine programme and nurturing its talented hotel sommeliers.
are excited to partner with Gerard Basset, one of the most respected sommeliers
in the industry, to elevate our brand's cellar offerings and enrich guests' wine
experiences at our properties," said Peter Finnegan, Shangri-La's group director
of food and beverage. "At the same time, our sommeliers will spend dedicated
tutorial and training sessions with Gerard to enhance their beverage
Basset is known throughout the industry for inspiring and
mentoring a generation of young sommeliers as well as for sharing his expert
knowledge with professional and amateur wine enthusiasts.
In his role as
Shangri-La Wine Ambassador, Basset will attend the group's second Wine Summit in
July, where he will pace sommeliers through a two-day seminar encompassing
theory, practical skills and blind tasting and be among the judges for
Shangri-La’s Best Sommelier Competition. In the same month, a premium event
will allow wine connoisseurs and amateurs to join Basset and top sommeliers from
the group to discover and compare wine styles and test their palates over a
wine-paired dinner at Shangri-La Hotel, Beijing.
Shangri-La began working
with Basset last year, when he was invited to judge the group's first sommelier
competition as well as lead a series of professional development programmes for
its sommeliers. Shangri-La invests heavily in training and 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 internal wine talents.
"To work with such a highly prestigious
and notable hotel group as Shangri-La enables me to be continuously involved in
luxury hospitality at the highest level," said Basset. "It’s a great privilege
to share my years of experience with budding sommeliers and to help develop both
their careers and sense of curiosity."
Shangri-La has been focused on
expanding and enhancing its wine offerings, in particular in mainland China
where Shangri-La is the most recognised luxury hotel brand and where wine
appreciation and consumption continues to rise. In 2013, Shangri-La launched a
Wine Programme that enhanced its wine-by-the-glass as well as cellar offerings
in hotels in China and Hong Kong.
This year, working with the company's
corporate wine director, Basset will review Shangri-La's extensive wine
selections to ensure they are well structured, balanced and showcase established
wine estates worldwide, as well as artisanal and exciting wines from boutique
Basset understands how the many nuances and complex
characteristics of wine can often be overwhelming for consumers, and is well
versed to share educational information such as buying tips, market trends and
wine pairing advice with followers on Shangri-La’s Facebook and
Along with many professional honours to his name, Basset is also
Honorary President of the Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET), as well as
President of the Court of Master Sommeliers. He was nominated "Man of the Year"
in 2013 by Decanter