Weijie Shi, Jay in short, is from Shanghai, China, and is currently working as head sommelier at Jingcaixuan (晶采轩). He is in charge of the wine programs in all six restaurants, which feature classic Cantonese food mixed with some local style. Being in the industry for less than two years, he knows what he is aiming for at each step of his career: 6 months at Bellagio Shanghai to have a primary idea what hospitality is; 6 months at Hakkasan Shanghai to experience the quick pace working as a Sommelier; and now being a head sommelier helping to launch the new wine program. He was studying chemistry when he was in the US but eventually experienced a huge shift and ended up being a Sommelier thanks to his enormous passion for wine. He sees himself as very lucky and successful during his whole journey so far, but he shares that the challenges are real since it's not easy to maintain a wine program in a Chinese restaurant group for the long run because the background of wine drinking culture is just not quite there yet.
Delectable: What sparked your passion for wine?
Weijie Shi: Frankly speaking, I don’t know lol. There’s not a particular moment or a wine that sparked my passion for wine. I would say it’s a long and gradual process. I started learning from jug wines, Yellow Tails, and Barefoot out of curiosity, then to $20 range to $100 range Bordeaux Grand Cru Classe, and finally some prestige wines like Burgundy Grand Cru and Napa Cults. Each stage is so fun and dragging me deeper into the world of wine.
D: What wine region are you wild about right now?
WS: I am currently into Burgundy wines, especially white Burgundy like Meursault and Corton-Charlemagne . It is so fascinating that the acidity, the freshness and the richness can coexist as a harmony in these great wines.
D: What is the most unusual wine you’ve ever tried?
WS: J’ai Soif Vin Petillant by Jean Francois Ganevat , which is a blend of Pinot Noir , Trousseau , Gamay and Poulsard .
D: What is your golden rule for wine?
WS: I love wines that are made by hands and enthusiasm. Biodynamic, low production, geeky wines are all in my comfort zone.
D: Say you’re not allowed to have wine, what is your second option?
WS: Single Malt Whisky , Cognac or Armagnac .
D: Choose a movie, book, quote, or song and pair it with a wine
WS: Queen with a bottle of 1961 Clair Dau Chambertin-Clos de Beze . Technically speaking, not existing any more for both but still being remembered, respected, honored and shone in most people’s heart. They are two legends that are not possible to replicate.
D: If you were a wine, what wine would you be?
WS: I will say I would be Barolo or Barbaresco . Quite silent or even hard to approach at the beginning, but as time goes, starts to bloom and shows the potentials and charm. Slow pace is my thing and I love to enjoy the great things in my life leisurely, like enjoying a Barolo/Barbaresco.