The winners of the inaugural ‘Belt and Road Sommelier Challenge (Asia)’ have been announced with Hong Kong sommelier Reeze Choi taking home the championship.

Choi saw off tough competitions from top sommeliers from Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Philippines, Indonesia, South Korea, Vietnam and Cambodia, Taiwan, mainland China and Hong Kong after a round of written test, blind tasting and service test.

This is another win for Choi, who finished with a No.16 ranking at this year’s World’s Best Sommelier Competition in Belgium earlier in March, a new record for Hong Kong’s sommelier community.

Joel Lim from Singapore working at Mandarin Oriental hotel came out as first runner up, followed by Derek Li, group sommelier at JIA Group in Hong Kong that owns Duddell’s and and 22 Ships.

Orgnaised by Tommy Lam, president of Asia Wine Institute, the competition was judged by a panel of experts including three Master Sommeliers and sommelier association presidents and among others.

The judges are Andres Rosberg, president of ASL in Argentina; João Pires MS; Mathias Camillerri MS; Giuseppe Vaccarini MS, founder of ASPI; Lella Salimbeni, chief editor of Spirito di Vino;Maggie Wang, general manager of MHK Group Germany; John Hung, founding president of Taiwan Sommelier Association; Joe Sriwarin, president of Thailand Sommelier Association; and Eric Wang, president of Philippines Sommelier Association.

The competition was part of this year’s Belt and Road International Food Expo Hong Kong, which aims to provide a trading and sourcing platform for agri-food business and industries among and beyond the Belt and Road project, China’s ambitious global infrastructure initiative linking more than 150 countries around the world.

The article first appeared in To read more news and analysis on China’s wine market, please sign-up for newsletter here