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The finalists of The International Gaggenau Sommelier Awards 2018

Gaggenau Sommelier Awards 2018

Ancient and modern Chinese architecture

Beijing, a wine destination

The exponential rise of viniculture in China has been underscored by the choice of Beijing as the venue for The Gaggenau Sommelier Awards 2018.

Winemaking in China stretches back millennia, the country is currently one of the top five markets and most tellingly, Hong Kong has long since overtaken New York and London as the largest market for fine wines. China could be said to represent the past, present and future of viniculture.

The announcement of the winner at the Gala Dinner

A space for change

The Sommelier final was held during a Gala Dinner at Beijing’s Red Brick Art Museum. Guests enjoyed a six course menu created by the esteemed Michelin starred chef, André Chiang.

The Red Brick Art Museum is a venue that subtly exemplifies monumental transition. Traditional shapes and materials are dynamically manipulated and reinterpreted for a futuristic, yet involving, aesthetic. Created by Architect Dong Yugen, the museum is widely regarded in China as a piece of art in itself.

The grand final

Following a series of national heats, six sommeliers progressed to the final in Beijing. Competitors from France, the Greater Region of China, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK, joined Gaggenau in Beijing to vie for the opportunity to be named winner of The International Gaggenau Sommelier Awards 2018.

These final six candidates endured a series of tasks and tests agreed upon by our illustrious judging panel: Annemarie Foidl, the President of the Austrian Sommelier Association and judge of ‘Best Sommelier in the World’ for the Association de la Sommellerie Internationale (ASI); Sarah Abbott, Master of Wine, internationally recognised wine consultant, judge, writer, and speaker; Mr Yang Lu, the world’s first and only Chinese Master Sommelier, Corporate Director of Wine for Shangri-La Group, and founder of Grapea & Co Institute and last but not least; Sven Schnee, Head of Global Brand Gaggenau.

Kai Wen Lu, in Shanghai having won the Region Greater China contest

Kai Wen Lu, in Shanghai having won the Region Greater China contest

Mikaël Grou, winner of the French heat

Mikaël Grou, winner of the French heat

Emma Ziemann of Sweden, the first of the national winners

Emma Ziemann of Sweden, the first of the national winners

The Swiss champion, Davide Dellago

The Swiss champion, Davide Dellago

Winner of the competition in London, Zareh Mesrobyan

Winner of the competition in London, Zareh Mesrobyan

Joakim Blackadder, victorious in Cape Town

Joakim Blackadder, victorious in Cape Town

The judges: Yang Lu, Annemarie Foidl, Sarah Abbott and Sven Schnee

The judges: Yang Lu, Annemarie Foidl, Sarah Abbott and Sven Schnee

View of the the Forbidden City

View of the the Forbidden City

Chef André Chiang

Chef André Chiang

Sven Schnee commented:

“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.”

And the winner is...

Mikaël Grou of France won The International Gaggenau Sommelier Awards 2018 in Beijing. In a thrilling final at the imposing Red Brick Museum, Mikaël fought off challenges from the five other national champions.

While the Judges were treated to six exceptional performances, Mikaël’s was simply flawless. Emma Ziemann of Sweden came second and won the coveted People’s Choice Award, as voted for by the audience of influencers and industry luminaries, while Davide Dellago won bronze.