Demand for local wine courses reflects growing Chinese interest
Wine educator WSET opens office in Hong Kong, its first outside the UK, to cater to growing interest in courses and programmes in the region
Given the growth of wine culture in Asia, it should come as no surprise that wine courses are in huge demand. Education is highly valued in the region, especially Hong Kong.
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Ian Harris, WSET chief executive, said, “We have provided WSET qualifications through providers in Hong Kong since the turn of the millennium, and the expansion into and across mainland China over the past 10 years has been phenomenal.”
The vast number of participants is not China’s only impressive statistic the level of knowledge and commitment of the students is also remarkable. The last six winners of the Vintners’ Cup, which is awarded to the graduate who achieves the highest overall marks in its Diploma, were women, and three were from Asia. Move over Caucasian men!
Despite increasing numbers of eager wine students, many people still feel intimidated to approach wine. My ethos is that a mix of education and experience is the key to unlocking your enjoyment. Wine lovers looking to elevate their interest to the next level should first seek some education to develop their confidence and skills, then taste, taste, taste! Classes will give you a wonderful appreciation for wine, but nobody knows your taste like you do. At the end of May, my own venture opens in Hong Kong’s Southern district – the first wine school in the area.
And I am thrilled to see the rising number of Asian-based students in the Masters of Wine programme. In the past few years we’ve seen the first Masters of Wine in India (Sonal Holland), mainland China (Fongyee Walker), Japan (Kenichi Ohashi), and Taiwan (Mark Pygott), with many more students studying hard for this highly-sought after qualification. Having locally-based experts will further encourage the level of wine knowledge and passion throughout Asia.