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Wine experts compete to be Korea’s top sommelier

Apr 29,2017
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Han Wook-Tae, the winner of the Korea Sommelier of the Year, pours champagne during the competition. [WINEVISION]
With more attention being paid to the culinary scene in Korea and a growing general interest in dining experiences, many have started to focus on how to best match their food with drinks when dining out. To better cater to the growing interest from diners, many in the service sector have chose to become a sommelier and even aim to become a globally known expert.

Seeing the increasing number of people interested in educating themselves on the latest wine trends, local wine academy Winevision partnered with international beverage and service experts to judge the performance of local sommeliers for the Korea Sommelier of the Year.

The third edition of the annual competition has brought in experts with titles such as Master of Wine and Master Sommelier from Hong Kong, London, the United States and more.

Sommelier Han Wook-tae of two-Michelin-star restaurant Kwon Sook Soo won the competition on Thursday held at the JW Marriott Dongdaemun Square Seoul. Han, who came in second at last year’s event, will get to go on a tour sponsored by Champagne maker Duval-Leroy and glass maker Riedel.

The final round of the competition had the three finalists - made up of Han, Kyung Min-seok of Jung Sik Dang, and Cho Hyun-cheol of The Kitchen Salvatore Kuomo - execute requests from judges posing as guests in a restaurant, and provide answers to questions on beverages and service.

The competition was open to aspiring students who want to make their career in the service industry.

The competition also set up seminars on restaurant management, Portuguese wine and natural wines to offer locals a chance to gain more in-depth knowledge from global talent.

BY LEE SUN-MIN [summerlee@joongang.co.kr]