Adolphus Foo is the founder and President of the Macau Sommelier Association. A winner of the Australian Wine Competition and a finalist of Sopexa Sommelier, he is also Certified Sommelier from the Master Court Sommelier (UK), Certified Specialist of Wine from the Society of Wine Educators (USA) and a recipient of the Advance Wine and Spirit Education Trust with Distinction. He is also an accredited lecturer for L’Ecole du Vin de Bordeaux (CIVB).
What is the Macau Sommelier Association?
The Macau Sommelier Association was planned about five years ago. At that time, it was not official yet and there were only less than five sommeliers active here.
The association was registered finally about two years ago. Now the association is about 100+ members including sommeliers and F&B people. A lot of new sommeliers arriving now are invited to join. The objective is to get the sommeliers connected and being recognized internationally. Also, the association will help to develop local talent while organizing master classes and tastings.
What do you think about the wine drinking evolution in Macau?
The Macau market is still very new but it’s developing fast. I have been here for eight years. I see a lot of changes on two sides. The first experience is working in a hotel. Customers were looking at a specific region, mainly Bordeaux at that time. It was not easy to introduce different regions and even white wine was not popular back then. Now customers are more receptive to changes and recommendation made by sommeliers. I have now left the sommelier side and I am an F&B manager more overlooking daily operations. Presently we can feel the change, the customers open up and are more adventurous.
On the other side, outside of the hotel, I will say that back then we used to find always kind of the same wines in the retail shops. I will say that people are trying to explore now and it’s not easy to find some “exciting” wines in Macau. But you can always ask your wine suppliers for recommendations.
What is the path to becoming a sommelier in Macau?
When I started I was lucky to be in a great hotel in Singapore. They offered me the position of sommelier, as I was dedicated to learning and participating in many tastings and events. After I took some courses on my own, I learned the theatrical side. How to become a sommelier? Both are important. The experience on the floor where we are involved in a daily restaurant service and interact with customers and practice our skills. Also, education is important too, so we get the theory and study and maintain our knowledge. This is what we can get at IFT with wine courses, WSET (Wine and Spirit Education Trust) and the Portuguese wine academy.
Follow Adolpus Foo on Twitter: @AdolphusFoo
A global directory of WSET course offerings: www.wsetglobal.com