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Wine Studies at IFTM: an education from first sip to last drop

IFTM Lecturer Mr. Hugo Bandeira

中文摘要 / Summary in Chinese

Wine is an important element for many people when it comes to their overall experience of a restaurant meal or outing. Knowledge of wine is thus an essential tool for those wanting to build a career in either hospitality or culinary arts.

IFTM offers a Wine Studies course to equip undergraduates with a basic theoretical and practical command of the subject. The aim is that by the end, they should have confidence in differentiating between wines and talking about them. The 14-week course is compulsory for Year 2 students on either the Hotel Management programme or the Culinary Arts Management programme. The Wine Studies course is available on an elective basis to other undergraduates.

It introduces information about the cultural, social, and economic aspects of wine production. A major component of the curriculum is how to taste wine for professional purposes. Course participants get to experience and evaluate wine output covering a range of grape varieties, and the course itself explores the relationship between wines and food.

Lecturer Mr. Hugo Bandeira leads the course. He graduated from IFTM in 1998 and holds a master’s degree in International Wine Management from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

“Students will not only learn about wine, but actually experience” tasting it, Mr. Bandeira says, referring to the Wine Studies course. “They are not going to be a professional wine taster after 14 weeks, because wine requires a lifetime of study, but they will have some basic notion about the wine world.”

As part of the course, students learn about various wine-producing countries and regions, wine-production processes, how to serve wine, and the characteristics of different types of wine. That is complemented by the tasting segment.

“Macao is an excellent place to find different kinds of wine,” Mr. Bandeira says. The city does not impose duties on foreign wines, meaning there is a large variety of labels available locally. This contributes to the quality of the course, as students can taste wines from a range of geographies, made in a variety of styles.

Building a career on wine knowledge

Mr. Bandeira points out that, as Macao is an international tourism destination, wine is often a dining-table must for visitors. “It is a plus when people working in the hospitality industry know about wine,” he says.

The scholar stresses that serving wine professionally requires more than just knowing how to uncork a bottle. In-depth insight is needed, to assist patrons in making the right wine choice for a particular moment or meal, and to help them maximise the enjoyment wine can provide.

Mr. Bandeira says the Wine Studies course can be a stepping stone for undergraduates. Many go on to become members of IFTM’s Wine Appreciation Club, where they can advance their passion for wine with like-minded students.

“If students would like to gain in-depth knowledge of wine, we have an Advanced Wine Studies elective course as well,” Mr. Bandeira adds. As well as going deeper into topics introduced in the Wine Studies course, it elaborates on the business side of the wine industry, on things such as marketing, labelling, and packaging.

Mr. Bandeira highlights that advanced knowledge of wine can open doors to specialised careers within the hospitality industry, such as being a sommelier or wine director. “I do feel very proud that actually an alumnus from IFTM is now working as wine director in a large-scale resort in Macao,” Mr. Bandeira says.

He adds that there is demand locally for a greater number of professionals with specialised understanding of wine. “There are still opportunities for our students that enjoy wine studies.”

President’s Corner

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