Wen Wei Chew and Philip Kleffel are passionate about wine. As Co-Presidents of the Les Roches Wine Club, they promote the numerous qualities of the drink through a range of exciting events. Their most recent one, Les Roches Got Taste, saw them host an interactive quiz with the help of world-renowned sommelier Paolo Basso.
The competition originally began in 2016, with Philip describing it as a chance to “bring young people a little bit closer to the fascinating world of wine.” Between them, the duo decided to create an event that was practical and engaging.
We wanted to take away the formalities of a blind tasting, and provide a practical platform for students,” said Wen Wei. “We created a quiz where students tasted wines and then answered questions around them.
The main goal of Les Roches Got Taste is to not only attract wine enthusiasts, but also to appeal to new students who are more unfamiliar. “Les Roches has brought a lot of support to the Wine Club, and both of us can see more students are engaging with it more than ever,” said Wen Wei. “With the school’s continued support, the level of expertise will only increase.”
There were a number of key points occurring at the event, with one of them being special guest Paolo Basso. Recently crowned the world’s best sommelier, Paolo has over 20 years of hospitality experience. “Paolo brought a lot of credibility to the event, as well as giving some great advice on how to pair food and wine. He also imparted to students his years of wisdom and experience,” said Wen Wei.
Another key factor of the competition was the use of digital technology. Attendees rated and evaluated wines on iPads, using the platform Moodle to judge in real time. Wen Wei says they used this method for a number of reasons.
Many industry leaders have turned to technology to streamline processes,” he explained. “This is something we wanted to uphold, as well as Les Roches’ reputation for both embracing technology and staying eco-friendly.
Les Roches Got Taste is just one of the interesting events the Wine Club arrange. “We have had a number of external guests, and last semester we did a field trip to Jean-Rene Germanier for dinner and a vineyard tour,” said Philip. The next big event is this winter’s WOWExpo, which Wen Wei highlights as one of the Club’s most important. “It’s a seminar-cum-wine festival held in school,” he explained. “We invite producers from around the world to showcase their wines and provide seminars for students.”
For the future, both Wen Wei and Philip are confident Les Roches Got Taste will be returning for many years to come. “Everybody I spoke to was very excited and happy about the event,” said Philip. Wein Wei agrees. “We’ve had amazing feedback. Les Roches Got Taste provides a great, practical-based learning of wine.”