The first tasting session of the 26th Concours Mondial de Bruxelles started today in a true competition spirit with the 340 judges surrounded by a 200-meter indoor cycling track of the UCI World Cycling Centre in Aigle, which houses the headquarters of the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI). From May 2-5, the 63 panels will each evaluate up to 50 wines per day. The entries are divided into consistent flights, taking into account criteria such as origin, grape variety, alcohol level, residual sugar content and retail price for each entry.
9,150 wines from 46 producer countries are competing this year in Switzerland. The host country entered nearly 600 wines in the competition – two and half times more than in 2018 – and moved up to the number 5 spot for entries, preceded only by France, Spain, Italy and Portugal. By way of a comparison, Switzerland has been taking part in the competition since its inception in 1994, with only 8 wines entered in the first edition.
“After China, the competition has returned to its European origins, to a country with a history of viticulture dating back to the Roman Empire. Its impressive diversity of grape varieties and 95% of wines labeled AOP make the focus on quality clear”,says Thomas Costenoble, director of the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles. “Our hosts have plenty of trump cards up their sleeves to make this edition unforgettable and ensure us experiences that will remain in our memories for a long time.”
The official opening ceremony of took place on May 1 in the halls of a former traditional Swiss palace – the home of the Swiss Hotel Management School in Leysin, member of the Swiss Education Group. The impressive program, designed to indulge all the senses, took the guests of the competition on a journey through Switzerland. To complete the night, a myriad of traditional performances and virtual reality animations delighted the audience and finally, a chocolate workshop and an exquisite buffet of local specialties offered a real taste of Switzerland.
“The Concours Mondial de Bruxelles in Aigle is a nationwide event, so we wanted it to reflect our country’s primary unique features,” explains Frédéric Borloz, chairman of the CMB Aigle 2019 organising committee. “The close connections between the city and the Alps, the quality of public transport, traditions and our respectful relationship with nature, to name a few, are showcased”.
“Hosting the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles in the heart of Switzerland’s largest wine region offers a setting that reflects the extreme finesse of Chasselas, the ultimate grape variety in French-speaking Switzerland,” says Philippe Leuba, Councillor of State for Vaud. “This treasure of Swiss wine growing still lacks recognition outside the country. The competition is also an exceptional showcase honoring the work of winegrowers from around the world”.
The host country has contributed wines from more than 50 of the 300 different grape varieties entered in the competition this year.
Although only 20thworldwide in terms of area under vine, Switzerland grows nearly 240 different grape varieties in its 148 km2 of vineyards. The indigenous varieties represent 36% of the Swiss crop.
The Concours Mondial de Bruxelles’ panel had the chance to learn more about the Swiss grape varieties during masterclasses presented by renowned speakers such as Paolo Basso, the World’s Best Sommelier 2013, and Dr José Vouillamoz, one of the world’s leading authorities on the origin and parentage of grape varieties through DNA profiling.
Besides the masterclasses and tasting sessions, the four-day event program includes visits to numerous wine estates in Switzerland’s largest wine regions Valais and Vaud, accounting for 58% of Swiss wine production. Offbeat locations, from the Alpine peaks to Aigle castle, will offer the panel members a true and authentic Swiss experience.
About Swiss Hotel Management School
Established in 1992, the Swiss Hotel Management School (SHMS) has earned a distinct reputation for offering education based on traditional Swiss hospitality expertise combined with international management competencies. Housed in two beautiful former place hotels in the mountains, in Caux and Leysin, students can choose from several Bachelor and Master courses accredited by the University of Derby (UK).
Swiss Hotel Management School is the first hospitality school in the world to receive the prestigious Apple Distinguished School recognition, seamlessly blending 21st century learning in innovative ways to support learning goals. It is also benchmarked as one of the top three school worldwide in student support and number one worldwide for personal tutors by i-graduate 2018.
About Swiss Education Group
With five schools based across seven campuses throughout Switzerland, Swiss Education Group is Switzerland’s largest private hospitality educator. In total, the Group has over 6,000 students from over 110 countries and the campuses are beautifully located in the French and German speaking regions of Switzerland. Partnerships with the University of Derby (UK), Northwood University (USA) and Washington State University (USA) ensure that students’ qualifications are internationally transferable. Courses are conducted in English and all schools offer Diploma, Bachelor and Master programmes, with a variety of subjects and specialisations. As a worldwide ambassador of best practices in Switzerland, Swiss Education Group enjoys the benefit of being highly esteemed by tourism and hospitality industry professionals. Locally, the group is an esteemed economic player, bringing many international students and visitors to the regions where the schools operate.