Fifteen years after his latest performance as a finalist (3rd place) in the A.S.I. Contest of the Best Sommelier of the World in Montreal, Hiroshi Ishida is awarded the title of Best Sommelier of Asia & Oceania 2015. A winning come-back…
Aged 46, Hiroshi Ishida, sommelier consultant, won a great final, fighting the talent and spontaneity of both the very young (26) Chinese Ho Pong Wallace Lo and the still young (31) Australian Banjo Harris-Plane, thanks to his skills and his experience which proved to be a big asset for him. Thanks also to the goal he had set to himself : “When you reach once the 3rd place in a world championship, you must win a continental competition ! I definitely had to get the title so that an additional Japanese candidate would also participate in the next A.S.I. Contest of the Best Sommelier of the World in Argentina, in April 2016.”
Now following the Rules of the A.S.I. contest, we know that Japan with Hiroshi Ishida, Sweden with Arvid Rosengren as Best Sommelier of Europe 2013 and Argentina with Paz Levinson, Best Sommelier of the Americas 2015 will each get an additional chance of winning the world title in 2016.
In Hong Kong, during the two days of the contest, the eighteen candidates representing ten countries showed how much the sommeliers of this area have been improving since 2012 when the French/Australian Franck Moreau won the title. Not only have their skills reached a high level but also their knowledge. Which confirms that they are training really hard and they are personally motivated to face a competition with optimum assets. That’s what the Sommeliers Contests Committee led by Gerard Basset, Best Sommelier of the World 2013, and comprising Best Sommeliers of the World such as Serge Dubs (1989), Shinya Tasaki (1995) and Andreas Larsson (2007) was very pleased to notice.
So high was the level that nine candidates were selected instead of the eight previously forecast. Let’s point out that for those tests, a special Technical Committee had been formed adding Andrés Rosberg, APAS president and vice president of A.S.I. for the Americas to the regular members of the SCC.
The other semifinalists were : Yang Lu (China), Jung Hoon Lee (South Korea), Akihiko Nosaka (Japan), Yew Kong Han (Malaysia), Michael Bancks (New Zealand), Alvin Gho Weijie (Singapore).
The A.S.I. Contest of the Best Sommelier of Asia & Oceania was organized regarding the logistics by the Hong Kong Sommeliers Association-China presided by Nelson Chow who is also the vice president of A.S.I. for Asia & Oceania and co-presided by Edwin Chan, in charge of the organizing committee. It was supported by the international partners of A.S.I and local sponsors of the HKSA.
A big Thank You to Moët & Chandon, Chef&Sommelier, Nespresso, Vinexpo, SommelierS International, Wines of Austria, SanPellegrino & Acqua Panna, Suntory, lAlsace Wines and ViniPortugal.
The next contest of A.S.I. will take place in Mendoza, Argentina, from 15th to 19th April 2016 attracting near sixty candidates from all over the world.