Shangri-La appoints Gerard Basset OBE as Wine Ambassador
Friday, 18 April 2014 04:07
Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts has appointed one of the most esteemed professionals in wine, Gerard Basset OBE, as the group’s first wine ambassador.
The UK-based French native won the 2010 Best Sommelier in the World title and is the only person ever to simultaneously hold the Master of Wine, Master Sommelier and MBA Wine honours.
Basset will work alongside Yang Lu, Shangri-La’s corporate wine director on enhancing the group’s wine program and nurturing its talented hotel sommeliers.
“We are excited to partner with Gerard Basset, one of the most respected sommeliers in the industry, to elevate our brand’s cellar offerings and enrich guests’ wine experiences at our properties,” said Shangri-La’s group director of food and beverage Peter Finnegan. “At the same time, our sommeliers will spend dedicated tutorial and training sessions with Gerard to enhance their beverage knowledge.”
Basset is known throughout the industry for inspiring and mentoring a generation of young sommeliers as well as for sharing his expert knowledge with professional and amateur wine enthusiasts.
In his role as Shangri-La Wine Ambassador, Basset will attend the group’s second Wine Summit in July, where he will pace sommeliers through a two-day seminar encompassing theory, practical skills and blind tasting and be among the judges for Shangri-La’s Best Sommelier Competition.
In the same month, a premium event will allow wine connoisseurs and amateurs to join Basset and top sommeliers from the group to discover and compare wine styles and test their palates over a wine-paired dinner at Shangri-La Hotel, Beijing.
Shangri-La began working with Basset last year, when he was invited to judge the group’s first sommelier competition as well as lead a series of professional development programs for its sommeliers.
The hotel company invests heavily in training and is one of the few hotel companies to work directly with the esteemed Court of Master Sommeliers and to have a tailor-made training environment and certification process to develop internal wine talents.
“To work with such a highly prestigious and notable hotel group as Shangri-La enables me to be continuously involved in luxury hospitality at the highest level,” said Basset. “It’s a great privilege to share my years of experience with budding sommeliers and to help develop both their careers and sense of curiosity.”
Along with many professional honours to his name, Basset is also Honorary President of the Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET), as well as President of the Court of Master Sommeliers. He was nominated ‘Man of the Year’ in 2013 by Decanter Magazine.