A wine waiter from the Green Tangerine Restaurant in Hanoi won the national French wine waiter championships at Sheraton Saigon Hotel and Towers on Friday.
The winner, Tran Trong Hai Ha from Hanoi, will join second place-getter, Mai Tran Hanh, from The Deck Restaurant in HCMC to represent Vietnam in the Southeast Asia sommelier competition for French wines in Thailand in November. Ha also won a trip to tour the vineyards of France.
The contest was organized by Sopexa, which is the French food and wines PR and communications agency, with Saigontourist Hospitality College and Saigon Bartender Sommelier Guild (SBSG).
Ha and Hanh beat five others in the national finals which had sections including - identifying names and characters of French wines; serving champagne and wines for a five-person table; and consulting suitable menus for diners. Some members of the judging board were from international bartender and sommelier clubs.
Vo Tan Si, chairman of SBSG, said the competition in its second year is organized annually for Vietnamese wine waiters to improve their skills and experience.
Si said the contest would also aid the development of Vietnam’s hospitality industry and food and beverages sector as more foreign players enter the industry
“In the near future when we have built on our experience, we will add some Vietnamese wines to the competition,” he said. “This is the best way to promote both our wines and sommeliers to the world.”
According to To Viet – a wine expert, the job as sommelier that is popular in Europe only recently developed in Vietnam when restaurants and hotels began to recognize the important role that wine waiters play. He added that it is necessary to have a long-term strategy to develop the job in Vietnam besides the competition.
The winners of the South East Asia finals in November will go through to the Asian contest in Japan.