Photo for: Interviewing a Sommelier: Yulia Zhu, The Langham


Interviewing a Sommelier: Yulia Zhu, The Langham


In an interview with CWC, Yulia Zhu, Sommelier at The Langham Luxury Hotel, speaks about food and wine trends, buying wines, wine lists and much more.

The Langham Hotels and Resorts is a collection of luxury hotels in the prime destination. Yulia Zhu, a sommelier at the Langham, speaks about the hotel, wine trends, wine list and much more.

What really drives you when it comes to wine?

Actually, the real reason for it is my university major is wine enologist. Then why I choose this special-interest major? Hahaha, which because I think fewer competitors can make me happier compared with other majors like finance business which has numerous person in this field.

What food and wine trends are you seeing at the moment?

I usually read some wine magazines like The Drinks Business and Just-Drinks to know what happens in the market and what customer like to drink and eat recently.

What you look for when you plan to buy wine for your business?

This question has a lot of points need to be mentioned.

First I need to know the restaurant style, which will decide the structure of the wine list. Then, I will look for some wine has good quality, at a reasonable price and can be sold in the restaurant. I will take care of the percentage of different functional wine like market wine, special-interest wine and fine wine.

What are some challenges you face as a sommelier?

A lot of challenges like innumerable wine knowledge need to research, but it still is the most interesting part. And the numerous dishes need to know to pair the wine.

What do you think is the most important element of a good wine list?

I think is the excellent quality of the wines.

How has the role of the sommelier evolved in the last 20years?

The role of the sommelier has a booming development at the same step of GDP and hotel restaurant development in the last 20 years.

Which varietals or countries are in demand these days for your business?

My flag restaurant is a traditional Cantonese restaurant, so the pale and delicate Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from Bourgogne is in most demand.

How you define a good sommelier?

I think a good sommelier can exactly get what customer wants and provide it to guests make them happy, at the same time, can make great revenue for the restaurant.

What does your typical day really look like?

My typical day is chatting with customers and service wine for them in a tidy suit