Leadership in Wine #19 - Candice Chow

  • Alexis Robin

Candice is one the best known female sommeliers in New Zealand. She was the only Kiwi attending Sommit 2019 in the Hawke’s Bay, a New Zealand-hosted international sommelier event. She joined 17 sommeliers or wine professionals from around the world to taste and discover the best wines of New Zealand. New Zealand Winegrowers has run its Sommelier Scholarship programme, designed to promote New Zealand wines, for five years.

Candice, who started as a sommelier in her native Hong Kong 15 years ago, has worked in high-end Queenstown restaurants for 10 years. She is also in the process of gaining the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) diploma. She is well established in the New Zealand wine trade.


How do you define leadership?

Lead by example and sharing knowledge, that’s a good leader. A great leader inspires, shares passion and encourages others to seek knowledge.


What are the main challenges of being a leader in the wine industry today?

Staff turnover is one of the hardest challenges, high living wage and immigration etc. It’s an investment in staff training, retaining staff and their knowledge is one of the biggest jobs and is also one of the hardest.


What are your major breakthroughs in your career to become the leader you are now?

Curiosity and eager to learn. Keep asking questions and keep looking for answers, be driven and keep on progressing. Learn from professionals and be amongst them.


If you were starting your career in 2019 in the wine industry, what advice would you give to yourself to become successful and content?

Be humble and learn as much as you can. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Seek professional education as well as self-education. Set a high standard!

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