17 June 2016 – After pre-selection rounds contested in the four corners of the planet by students from the most prestigious schools and universities, eight wine clubs succeeded in winning a place for the final phase of the 15th edition of the Left Bank Bordeaux Cup:
– Ecole Polytechnique de Lausanne (Switzerland),
– EM Lyon (France),
– Sciences Po Paris (France),
– Hong Kong Baptist University (China),
– Huaiyin Normal University (China),
– Wharton School (United States),
– Yale School (United States),
– Oxford (United Kingdom).
Welcomed at Château Lafite Rothschild for the grand finale, the students met the jury of the Commanderie du Bontemps, the wine brotherhood behind the creation of this competition. Dressed in velvet gown and medieval hat to honour tradition, Baron Eric de Rothschild, the master of the house, and Emmanuel Cruse, Grand Master of the Commanderie, were among its members.
The students, three per team, took their places in the impressive circular chai of the château at eight round tables arranged at the centre for the occasion, facing the jury. The competition took place by the light of candles placed on the barrels right in front of the spectators’ eyes. Silence and concentration reigned.
For nearly two hours, the members of the jury questioned the students. The competition began with multiple choice questions and continued with the dreaded blind tasting test: identifying appellations, vintages . . . some extremely difficult questions.
Finally, the winner was announced: The French school EM Lyon came top, followed by Oxford and Hong Kong Baptist University. Cries of joy, of course, and faces marked by disappointment, but this was only of short duration: everyone knows that to reach the final of this great competition is already an achievement.
Admiration for the younger generation and the passing on of a passion were the values that dominated the speech given by Baron Eric de Rothschild at the prize giving ceremony.
Quickly the ceremonial aspect of the finale gave way to a great celebration: a dinner bringing together students, grand masters, directors and journalists, accompanied by very fine wines and bawdy singing, all in the best tradition of Bordeaux!