Corinthia continues to develop sommelier training program


CHI Hotels & Resorts, exclusive operator of the Corinthia Hotels brand, in collaboration with the Academy of Food & Wine Service (AFWS), the UK’s professional body for front-line food and beverage servers, continues to develop further its Corinthia Sommelier training program.

Last year, over 300 Corinthia food and beverage team members were trained in basic wine and upselling service skills at the foundation level. The delegates came from 12 hotel properties managed by CHI Hotels & Resorts in various locations around Europe including Malta, Lisbon, Tunisia, Prague, Budapest, and St. Petersburg.

The second step, taken this year, saw 14 of the best “level one” 2010 candidates take up further training for levels “two” and “three” of the sommelier program. Teaming up with the renowned Court of Master Sommeliers Worldwide (COMS), the candidates were introduced to the advanced wines skills training required for them to achieve the Court’s Introductory Sommelier Certificate and to eventually sit for the Certified Sommelier examination.

The course was lead by Brian Julyan, chief executive of the Court of Master Sommeliers Worldwide, who, together with Academy chairman Nick Scade and CHI Hotels & Resorts training and development manager Petra Ellul-Mercer, welcomed the delegates to Malta and took them through the three-day event at the Corinthia Hotel St. George’s Bay.

The 14 candidates from CHI Hotels & Resorts in Malta, Budapest, Prague, Lisbon, and St. Petersburg did exceedingly well, managing to pass the very testing three-day theoretical and practical course with flying colors. Candidates who eventually made it to “level three” then underwent further advanced theory, “tasting” and practical tests.

This ongoing Sommelier program was instigated by CHI Hotels & Resorts’ chief executive officer Tony Potter, who commented: “I am extremely happy to see so many of our food and beverage operators qualify to an internationally-recognized standard of food and wine service. The company’s stated aim of taking the Corinthia brand to the major cities around the world, starting with the newly-opened Corinthia Hotel London, means that we have to be up to the challenge not only in terms of product quality in our hotels, but more importantly in terms of taking our employees service skills to a higher ‘craftsmanship of care’ level.”

The course curriculum covered vineyard and wine-making procedures including grape varieties, origins, specific wine making procedures, and classifications for all the major wines of the world. Other subjects included the production of spirits and liqueurs, technical skills of wine service, social skills, matching of wines with food, and an introduction to the skills of wine tasting.

Complimenting the candidates, AFWS chairman Nick Scade said: “We are absolutely delighted that this Europe-wide project has resulted in some really excellent candidates who will no doubt develop their wine skills and service knowledge much further, and with some clearly having the potential to move on to the Advanced Sommelier Certificate and possibly even the coveted Master Sommelier Award. These advanced accolades will require many more hours of dedicated study by the selected candidates.”


Based in Malta, CHI Hotels & Resorts is a hotel management company that provides the full range of technical assistance and management services to hotel owners worldwide. CHI is the exclusive operator of the luxury Corinthia Hotels brand, as well as the Wyndham and Ramada Plaza brands in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. CHI draws on a heritage of over 48 years in delivering high-quality services to hotel guests and an optimum rate of return to owners and investors in diverse business environments. CHI’s experience extends to management of luxury and upscale properties in city and resort locations and products ranging from boutique to conference and spa hotels. CHI is owned by International Hotel Investments plc (70%) and Wyndham Hotel Group (30%).


The Academy of Food and Wine Service (AFWS), established in 1988, is the professional body for front-of-house service. It is dedicated to improving the status and awareness of food and beverage service as a viable career choice, raising standards across the industry, and encouraging teamwork with other colleagues. AFWS can offer advice and training to anyone following, or considering, a career as a sommelier, wine waiter, waiter, bar manager, or restaurant manager.