After a few years of inactivity, the IFTM Wine Appreciation Club is again recruiting members. The new leaders of the club say they hope to promote knowledge and appreciation of wine and wine culture among IFTM students.
The club is an affiliate of the IFTM Student Union, and was formally revived in the middle of January, when the union’s new management team was inducted.
One of the driving forces behind the club’s revival is IFTM Lecturer Mr. Oscar Ho Man Cheng. Last September, Mr. Ho began giving lectures to students taking the IFTM course in Wine Studies. All students pursuing bachelor’s degrees can opt to take the course, which covers several aspects of the wine business, particularly those with a bearing on the hospitality industry. “I thought we could re-form this club and give students greater knowledge of wine,” Mr. Ho says.
The IFTM Wine Appreciation Club is open to all students at the Institute with an interest in studying wine. Its purpose is to arrange activities for novices, to teach them the basics of wine culture. The club also intends to stage advanced tutorials on specific facets of wine culture for its more knowledgeable members.
IFTM Wine Appreciation Club President Gavin Mak Chon Wan is a Year 2 student of the Culinary Arts Management Bachelor Degree Programme. Gavin decided to join the club when he began learning about wine in Mr. Ho’s lectures. “I want to learn more about wine, as well as meet new friends that are also interested in wine,” he says.
Damon Liu Boyang, the vice-president of the club, and Tracy Zhang Yue, its secretary-general, are Year 2 students of the Hotel Management Bachelor Degree Programme. They share Gavin’s interest in wine-related matters.
Before signing up for Mr. Ho’s Wine Studies course, Damon had taken the Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) Level 2 course. WSET qualifications are among the most widely recognised in the world.
“I am happy to be part of this club,” Damon says. “I find that wine is a way to share happiness with friends, and I expect to learn more by joining the club.”
Damon is particularly keen on helping arrange advanced instruction in wine knowledge. “Tutorials are very focussed and target-oriented, so students can obtain more information about the wine industry, as well as how the hotel and restaurant industries are working with wine businesses,” he says.
Tracy discovered her interest in wine by taking Mr. Ho’s course. “Every class, we would taste different wines, so we built an interest and a habit of tasting wine,” she says.
Mr. Ho praises the students that are helping to revive the Wine Appreciation Club. He says reviving the club is more than just a matter of showing an interest in wine studies. It is also a matter of shouldering new responsibilities, he points out. “They need to plan and carry out the events. My role is only to provide them with assistance and share my knowledge from my past working experience,” he explains.
Mr. Ho says membership of the Wine Appreciation Club can be a stepping stone to a career in a wine-related business. “Many of our graduates work in the wine industry, as wine buyers or handling wine management in restaurants,” he says. “We hope that through this club, we can build a network with wine suppliers, hotels and other related businesses, to show students what the possibilities are in the sector, either for a 6-month curricular internship or for a career after graduation.”