Andrew_Wong_Alumni_Blog

Life after Les Roches – Alumni acquires a taste – and qualification – for luxury, as a certified sommelier

2 Sep 2019 | by Les Roches

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Name: Andrew Wong
Graduation year: 2012
Nationality: Chinese
Program: Bachelor Degree of Hotel Management 
Current position: Head Sommelier at Wynn Palace Macau

Ever since discovering a passion for wine while studying at Les Roches, class of 2012 graduate Andrew Wong has been driven by a pursuit of oenological excellence. We caught up with him to talk about his career journey, responsibilities, professional development and the importance of ‘the story’. Because wine, just like hospitality as a whole, needs to deliver an experience.

“After graduating from Les Roches, I started my career on a Food and Beverage Management Program at JW Marriott, Indianapolis. While I was doing my program, I completed the Certified Sommelier exam, which is recognized by The Court of Master Sommelier Association.”

 

Discovering a passion

Andrew is clear on how his Les Roches education has helped him excel in his current role. “If you like wine, Valais is the best wine region in Switzerland. While I was studying in Les Roches, I had many opportunities to visit the vineyard, taste the grape, and understand terroir”, Andrew said. “I still remember Mr. La Sala and Mr. Patrice de Vulpillières providing me with lots of guidance, such as how to taste wine, wine pairing, and giving me a strong interest in this field.”

 

Bringing it home

After just over a year in the US, Andrew headed back home to Macau as a newly certified Sommelier. “In 2014 I came back to Macau and joined Melco Crown Entertainment company as a Sommelier in one of their Italian restaurants”, he said. “I was continuously working and studying wine when I found Wynn was recruiting for a Head Sommelier position. I researched and discovered that they were one of the strongest properties in town, with a Forbes 5-Star rating.”

 

Tell – and sell – the story

Like all true professionals, Andrew knows his products intimately, allowing him to ensure the very best quality levels and user experience. “’The Sommelier is a bridge between winemaker and guest (João Pires MS). I always remember from this quote from my mentor, he is a Master Sommelier”, Andrew commented. 

“He said to me, being a sommelier you need to understand the philosophy, the story behind the wine before you serve it to the guest. Therefore, before I purchase any new item for my company, I meet the supplier, or even the winemaker, in order to understand the wine and make the decision whether it is suitable for my restaurant.”

 

A walking encyclopedia

Andrew is responsible for using his expertise to bring value to both his employers and guests, always ensuring he is working with colleagues to enhance the service. “A sommelier needs to communicate with the chef in order to understand what ingredients they have put into the dishes, to try to create a special and unique pairing for our customer.”

“Furthermore, a sommelier needs to understand the history and the vintage of every wine region. You could say that a sommelier is a walking encyclopedia. Everyday, new things happen in terms of beverages, such as molecular cocktails, a new vermouth or spirit, therefore a sommelier needs to follow the trends, understand what is happening everywhere, and choose a good product for their hotel and customer.”

If you don’t try, you will regret it

Andrew had compelling advice for anyone starting out on their career journey. “Follow your dream and work seriously to make your dream come true. You never know whether the decision that you make today is correct or not, but if you don’t try, you will regret it.”

 

Thanks to Andrew for taking the time to share his insight and speak to us about his role as Head Sommelier at Wynn Palace Macau. We wish him continued success. 

Keep your professional development going – read more alumni stories:

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