Wine in China: What are the benefit of taking part in sommelier competitions?
Gerard Basset：These competitions are part of the practice for sommeliers. They can take advantage of these opportunities to examine themselves, learn more skills and make progress. Besides, that they have learned during the competition can be applied to daily wine service，which will also benefit the clients.
Wine in China: Are there any changes between the competition of this year compared with earlier years?
Gerard Basset: This year we have put more emphasis on the concept of “ Sommelier Business”. The work of a sommelier is not confined to the purchase of wines, management and wine service. They should also pay attention to how to manage a business. Because an excellent sommelier will not make a “short-sighted deal”. Consumers in nowadays prefer those sommeliers who is able to better understand their needs and provide assistance accordingly. Only if the sommeliers exhibit the appropriate business concept, can make clients feel comfortable.
Wine in China: Which professional skill is the most critical for a sommelier?
Gerard Basset：Wine knowledge itself is very important. A good sommelier has to have a good master of wine knowledge, know wine tasting, and good at selling their products. However, wine is not the main role. The most essential skill is the communication and interactive capabilities. No-one will like a sommelier who only knows to instill wine knowledge in the clients and tries to make his consumers spend a lot of money on wines.
Wine in China: What are Chinese sommeliers like in your eyes?
Gerard Basset：In China, a sommelier is still a new occupation, just like in other newly developed wine consuming countries such as Russia, India and South Africa. The market is not mature, but I don’t think there is a big difference between Chinese sommeliers and sommeliers in Europe or America. I have come into contact with a lot of Chinese sommeliers, I can tell that they all like wines, and they are learning very hard, which has impressed me deeply.
Wine in China: Would you please give some advice to the beginners of sommeliers?
Gerard Basset： To become a professional sommelier, you have to be prepared to invest, learn step by step, repeat tasting wines, and exchange experience with others. Even if you are already a sommelier, you also have to improve yourself all the time, instead of being stagnant. Finding a good tutor is very important; Besides, trying to communicate with more professionals in this field will help a lot.