Stellenbosch sommelier Joakim-Hansi Blackadder recently participated in the Gaggenau Sommelier Awards 2018 held in Beijing. He competed against the regional winners from China, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom for the coveted international title.
Mikaël Grou from France was crowned winner of the third biennial international Gaggenau Sommelier Awards. The contestants were judged on their knowledge, skill, ability and flare. In the evening, a celebratory gala dinner at the Red Brick Art Museum, hosted by the acclaimed Michelin-starred Taiwanese chef André Chiang, was attended by more than 150 industry influencers from across the world.
The judging panel monitored and appraised the sommeliers throughout a series of demanding tasks, including a wine tasting, service and food pairing exercise, identifying mistakes in a wine list test, and placing wines at their correct temperature into the newly launched Gaggenau Vario wine climate cabinet 400 series.
The panel consisted of the President of the Austrian Sommelier Association, Annemarie Foidl; Master of Wine, Sarah Abbott; China’s first and only Master Sommelier and Corporate Director of Wine for Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts, Yang Lu, and Head of Global Brand Gaggenau, Sven Schnee. All of them agreed that this year’s competition included the highest calibre of young sommeliers in the event’s history.
Sven Schnee, Head of Global Brand Gaggenau, commented:“We began the journey of the Gaggenau Sommelier Awards with a view to celebrating the art of viniculture and to provide a platform for rising stars to truly showcase their talent. Every year that we have hosted these awards Gaggenau has absorbed and shared so much knowledge and understanding of culinary culture, not only that of wine but also the sensorial journey one takes throughout the experience available to those who know its value. As this knowledge has evolved over time, so too have we, as a contributor to the future landscape of viniculture.
“We are proud of our contestants and their achievements so far and we are especially delighted to have been given the opportunity to showcase these great talents here in China – a country which lays claim to an opulent history in the art of wine making.”
Emma Ziemann of Sweden came second in the coveted awards with Davide Dellago, representing Switzerland, taking third place.
The winner and runners-up of the Gaggenau Sommelier Awards 2018 take home trophies created by leading Chinese designer, Jamy Yang. The winner will, in addition, receive a special sommelier training and master class at one of Europe’s top wine establishments and the title of Global Brand Ambassador for Gaggenau.
Gaggenau hosted its Sommelier Awards final in Beijing to celebrate the city’s more than 3000 years of cultural heritage and China’s rapid progression as an established wine producing country. Business in the region has grown exponentially in recent years. Since 2008 the brand has opened four flagship showrooms in Beijing, Chengdu, Guangzhou and Shanghai. Forthcoming landmark projects include several superior apartment complexes: The One Park; The Yunjin Oriental; The Star River; The Huangpu bay building in cooperation with Fulai; the East Oriental Star River and Green Town developments. These apartments boast over 2000 luxury apartments fitted with Gaggenau appliances.