In 2015, from November 4 to 7, Hong Kong hosted the ASI Contest of the Best Sommelier of Asia & Oceania. A superb competition won by Hiroshi Ishida and a memorable stay concocted by the Hong Kong Association chaired by Nelson Chow. Michèle Aström Chantôme asked him to talk about it.
“Being HKSA’s President since 1997, I have witnessed the dynamic growth of the HKSA in Hong Kong and China different provinces and the increasing popularity of wine appreciation in HK & China. I am thankful to our committee members who volunteer to run the HKSA with dedication and determination. We demonstrated the ability to obtain recognition internationally by hosting the Contest of the Best Sommelier of Asia & Oceania, ASI in 2015.
Hong Kong Sommelier Association (HKSA) is well acclaimed as the only official Sommelier Association in the Greater China regions. HKSA is commissioned to set up a well governed sommelier accreditation system across the region, with a main objective of further upgrading the expertise of local sommeliers and wine industry players. We are also committed to developing Hong Kong into a flourishing wine hub in the Asia Pacific region.
On the welcoming day, our airport team worked extremely hard to welcome all participants from all around the world and to ensure all were well transported to the hotel. We had arranged a wonderful cultural Chinese dinner in the Hotel close to the venue to let all participants know the venue and enjoy a relax evening.
The competition started with all the candidates, while presidents and guests joined the opening ceremony of the HK Wine and Spirit Fair; followed by a wonderful Peking Duck luncheon which Chinese liquor and spirits for sampling. In the evening was a highlight of the day as we occupied a historical place to host our special dinner ‘Pun Cuisine’ with loin dance in the night, with a hot weather we did not expect for November.
For the grand final and the gala night, everything went smooth and all congratulated the Japanese Hiroshi Ishida, ASI 2015 Best Sommelier of Asia & Oceania, as well as the Chinese Ho Pong Wallace Lo (2nd) and the Australian Banjo Harris-Plane (3rd). Warm congratulations from Gérard Basset, director of the ASI Sommelier Contests Commission, surrounded by other Best Sommeliers of the World, Serge Dubs, Shinya Tasaki, Andreas Larsson…
The Gala took place in the best hotel ballroom in Hong Kong, the Grand Hyatt ballroom; with over 500 guests and also, cultural experience… followed by, a non-stop drinking party with strong music in a hotel penthouse.
On the last day, all participants could relax. No more competition or works. Then we leaded everyone to the biggest seating Buddha outdoor in the world. The longest crystal cable car, which took 31 minutes long, was a real challenge. Then the closing dinner with Austrian wines was arranged in our fishing village Lee Yu Moon, a unique local seafood dinner with lots of fresh live seafood and which was a perfect match with those white wines from Austria”.