Saturday, 7 September 2013

Jessica Chong, Certified Sommelier at Gastrolution

Photo Credit: Stephanie Choy

I've been a casual wine drinker for a long, long time but never really knew how to appreciate it correctly. Of course, I picked up some tips here and there from drinking kakis but it just got me more confused.

Photo Credit: Jessica Chong

So, I recently signed up for the introductory Wine Appreciation Workshop conducted in JB by Jessica, who is a Certified Sommelier of the Court of Master Sommelier and a partner at Gastrolution.

Jessica and I are good friends now. I am fascinated by her passion and knowledge about wines.

Jessica's expertise and international experience is much sought after by hotels, wineries, wine suppliers and related industries. So, I am curious why she left her well paying job at her prime to become a wine appreciation teacher in JB, especially at a time when wine drinking is booming in Asian countries like China.

Over coffee (not wine LOL :) ), I found that Jessica chose this path because she has made it her mission to promote the budding wine culture in Johor Bahru.

Born and bred in Johor Bahru, Jessica has come full circle after a career that has taken her around the world.

It all start quite by accident back in 1999.


Fresh out of SHATEC (Singapore Hotel and Tourism Education Centre), Jessica was working in Four Seasons Hotel Singapore. Two of her customers celebrating clinching a big deal, ordered a bottle French Chateau Margaux 82. At that time, a bottle of Chateau Margaux 82 retails at over SGD5,000. "Three times my salary then!" Jessica exclaimed, still incredulous about that episode. 

The jubilant gentlemen offered Jessica a generous glass of Chateau Margaux 82. One sip of this heaven's nectar got Jessica smitten for life. "How could something tastes so good?" From that moment on, Jessica began her lifelong journey to find out all about wines. That journey that has taken her on adventures in many countries and today, Jessica is back in JB doing what she loves most - to share her passion.

After Four Seasons Singapore, Jessica went into the wine supply business, organising wine events and providing wine consultancy services in Singapore.

Photo Credit: Jessica Chong

During this time, Jessica did a stint in the vineyards of Adelaide, South Australia. Starting with the back breaking work of a grape picker, this first hand, on the ground experience gave Jessica insights into wines that could not be gotten any other way.

Jessica's next stop was Beijing and Shanghai where she stayed for 3 years in wine retail and as a Sommelier before coming back to Singapore wine retail again.

From Singapore, Jessica moved to be the Sommelier at Ritz Carlton's luxurious Al Bustan Palace in Oman.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

After Oman, Jessica returned as the Chief Sommelier in the newly opened Hilton Hotel Kuala Lumpur and then the Resident Sommelier at Renoma Café Gallery in KL.


And, now Jessica is back in her hometown JB to make a difference.

Photo Credit: Jessica Chong

Jessica agrees with people who say that there is no wine culture in Johor Bahru yet. Big difference is, she takes it upon herself to change that. Jessica envisions a vibrant wine culture in JB and people whom she has taught thriving in this emerging industry here. 

When I asked Jessica what is in the future, she said she sees herself running her own wine bar to share her passion with wine lovers.

Photo Credit: Jessica Chong

Wine culture is bound to grow in JB. If you like to be at the head of the trend and want to learn from the best, Jessica's coming wine appreciation workshops (in English) are on:

28 Sep 2013 (Saturday, 4:00pm to 7:00pm, RM190 fee with dinner included) at Menu Please restaurant.

If you are interested to attend these wine appreciation workshops by Jessica, send a private message to Jessica's Facebook account.

Note: Johor Kaki has no affiliation with Gastrolution and did not receive any fees for this post (or for that matter, any post in this blog).


  1. There is a wine club Chateau Wine Club in Johor Bahru since 1990's. Club president Ooi Kao Yang has long been well known in JB wine scene. He has a diploma in Wine from France and Master in Astronomy from Australia. Try pairing wine with night stars.

    1. Thank you for the information. It will be interesting and an honour to meet with Mr Ooi.

  2. I cant find the map or address for gastrolution. Can somebody help me? Thank you


I share hoping that everyone will have a good time but your experience may differ from mine. I love to know how you enjoyed yourself or if you didn't.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...