Team Wong / Yang
Winner of the “best young team” Award
Open Château Piron 2016
(Team INSEEC N°29 WONG/YANG during the Open Château Piron 2016 on May 28)
After Team LI / WANG that won the « Best Young Team » award in 2014 it is another chinese team WONG / YANG that brings back home this award in 2016. A classification much more challenging this year as 13 young teams were entering the competition. All from the Bordeaux wine business schools : 9 From the INSEEC, 2 from the IPC and 2 from KEDGE.
We met Ikwan WONG and Qing Qing YANG in early july to get their feelings about the Open Château Piron.
[Open Château Piron] Ikwan, Qing Qing, you made your way in this competition to reach the 12th position in the general classification (among 41 teams competing) and the 1st place in the Young Teams classification. It’s astonishing to have this level of knowledge of French wines when coming from China. How did you learn so well about French wines ?
[Ikwan WONG] It’s a matter of studies but also of passion ! I did my graduation in hotel management in Hong Kong, including sommelier courses. And I’m here in France to improve my knowledge !
[OCP] You joined the INSEEC this year, why did you choose to go for it, in Bordeaux, so far away from your homeland ?
[QQY] I first graduated in the Civil Engineering & Construction area. In my city of Ninjxia near Inner Mongolia. Civil Engineering is doing well in China. But it’s already a mature industry. Then I discovered that wine is a very very promising product in China. Because It’s starting and because Chinese people are very keen about foreign products. They adopt them easily when the image is strong and positive… just like wine ! It was a shock for my family and relations when I changed my way… but they understood it and supported me to go and study for wine business right in the heart of world wine business : Bordeaux.
[IW] I am from Hong Kong and I want to become a brand ambassador for a French brand in China… My dream ? To be the ambassador of a Champagne brand ! To achieve this I must be a good marketing person but also have a deep knowledge of the product itself. I’d like to become a Master Sommelier in the future for the people to have full confidence in me when talking about the products.
[OCP] What about the competition ? How was it for you ?
[IW] The qualification phase was good. We were ranked 1st in our group of 14 amateur teams ! And we were directly qualified for semi-final stage ! Then it became more difficult for us as the wines were from smaller, more specific, origins. Some origins (“AOC”) were less knowned to us.
[OCP] Should the wine selection be more “simple” in semi-final stage ? [Madiran, Minervois, Gaillac or Bonnezeaux for example were in the wine list for semi-finals as Bordeaux, Burgundy, Beaujolais or Alsace were to be found in the Qualifications stage]
[IW] No ! That’s very interesting ! We learned a lot ! Please keep that !
[QQY] That’s the challenge : we have to learn about these more specific small wine regions for next year competition and get a better score ! We were 1st among the youngs this year we target to be 1st among amateurs in 2017 !
[OCP] The 1st amateur team was in the TOP 5 just behind 4 professional teams this year… that’s a good challenge !
What about the organization and the scenario of the Open Château Piron ?
[IW] We liked a lot to have such a variety of wines. We were expecting a Bordeaux-centered competition. But it is not the case and it is very very good to be so opened !
[QQY] The final stages, the “Barrages” and the “Grande Finale” are very competitive. The elimination of teams one by one at each wine tasting round creates a tension and a real competition spirit. We would love to reach this stage next year
[OCP] You lived the competition intensely… Do you have improvements to propose from the competitor side for next year ?
[QQY] The competition went alright and the organization was fine. Probably you should think about improving the process before the Open starts. Arrange the flux of teams arriving to make up the “administrative part” faster …
[OCP] Yes you are right. We already have ideas about how to be quicker and more comfortable for the teams when arriving at registration desk !
[IW] For foreign teams like us, some keywords should be explained in English. Either by the speaker or directly on the sheets where answers are to be made.
[OCP] You are absolutely right and this will be done ! There are more and more international teams entering the competition and we will adapt to this for sure.
Let me ask you what you would say to anyone who hesitates to join the 2017 competition … ?
[Ikwan WONG] First “Enjoy the game !” because it’s really a game that was created in Château Piron. It’s original, intense, and great.
[Qing Qing YANG] I would add “come to learn” as it’s a great opportunity to learn about wines. And a last bonus is for people like us who want to become professionals : “you will know really what is your level”. And that’s good to know if you wish to improve your knowledge !
[Open Château Piron] Merci for your time and passion !
Interview made on June 30 in the CIVB winebar in Bordeaux by Xavier Boyreau