A Queenstown hospo professional is the only Kiwi attending a New Zealand-hosted international sommelier summit this month.
Go To Collection’s Candice Chow, group beverage manager for the chain’s Rata, Madam Woo and Hawker & Roll restaurants, joins 17 sommeliers, or wine professionals, from around the world at New Zealand Winegrowers’ ‘Sommit’ in the Hawke’s Bay on January 25 and 26.
NZ Winegrowers has run its Sommelier Scholarship programme, designed to promote NZ wines, for five years.
Chow, who started as a sommelier in her native Hong Kong 15 years ago, has worked in high-end Queenstown restaurants for 10 years.
She’s also got a Wine & Spirit Education Trust diploma.
She considers herself “very lucky” to have been chosen for the Winegrowers’ ‘Sommit’, which will explore the depth and breadth of NZ’s wine regions.
Chow says NZ doesn’t have the same tradition of employing sommeliers as overseas, where it’s “a really high-paid job”.
“We have so many international customers who would really enjoy having someone able to tell them about the wine.
“When you have the knowledge, you can make bigger sales, and the restaurant owners benefit.”
At this month’s ‘Sommit’, Chow expects she’ll be spitting out most of her wine.
“You sort of have to spit it out to keep yourself alive and awake – it is a lot of wine to consume.”
At a Wine Australia event she attended two years ago, she estimates she tasted 200 wines over three or four days.
Following the Hawke’s Bay event, she’ll attend the three-day International Sauvignon Blanc Celebration in Marlborough.