Jeannie Cho Lee

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Jeannie Cho Lee
Jeannie bw.JPG
Jeannie Cho Lee
Born 1968
Occupation Wine critic, journalist, educator and consultant
Notable works 'Asian Palate, Mastering Wine for the Asian Palate

Jeannie Cho Lee (born 1968)is a Hong Kong-based, Korean-American wine critic, author, journalist, consultant, wine educator and Master of Wine, the first ethnic Asian to achieve this accreditation.[1][2][3][4][5] She was 25th on Decanter's Power List 2013.[6]


Jeannie Cho Lee is the first ethnically Asian Master of Wine (MW),[7] a title she received in 2008.[1][2][3][4] She is also an award-winning author, television host, editor, wine critic, judge and educator.

Lee was born in Seoul, Korea and shortly thereafter moved to the United States[8] where she later received her undergraduate degree from Smith College and a Masters in public policy from Harvard University.[4][8] Since 1994, Lee has been based in Hong Kong initially pursuing a career in business journalism in Asia,[4] writing for publications such as Asia Inc., Far Eastern Economic Review and The Asset, before contributing to international wine publications such as Wine Spectator, The World of Fine Wine, Wine and Dine, Wine Business International and La Revue du vin de France.[2][7] Later, in November 2010, she joined Decanter.[9] as a contributing editor for Asia. She is also the Co-Chair of Decanter Asia Wine Awards, a sister competition to the Decanter World Wine Awards launched in 2004.[10]

Lee is also the creator and designer of the Jeannie Cho Lee Signature Wine Glass Collection, which she launched in 2014 at the Vinexpo. The collection includes five unique shapes handmade in Italy and a set of machine-made versions distributed worldwide by Spiegelau. Later that year, she co-hosted the wine program 'In Vino Veritas', which aired on the Hong Kong broadcasting network channel TVB Pearl from October to December.[11] In 2015 the weekly show started its second season with Lee retaining a co-host role.

Lee is a frequent judge at international wine competitions such as the International Wine Challenge, Decanter World Wine Awards,[12] Royal Adelaide Wine Show, Mundus Vini and Wines of the Pacific Rim. She has also been teaching Wine and Spirit Education Trust courses since 2004 and in 2008 helped establish The Fine Wine School in Hong Kong. In 2009, she received Vinitaly's International Award,[13] and also became a wine consultant to Singapore Airlines[14][15] and Galaxy Macau.[16]

Lee's first book, Asian Palate, which explores wine and Asian food pairings, was launched in November 2009.[1][17] In February 2010, at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards, Asian Palate was awarded the 'Best Food and Wine Pairing Book in the World'.[18] In June 2011, at the International Association of Culinary Professionals Cookbook Awards 2011, Asian Palate won under the category of 'Wine, Beer or Spirits' category[19] Same month, Asian Palate won under the category of 'Wines and Gastronomy' category at the 2011 OIV Awards.[20] Lee launched her website in May 2010.[21]

Lee's second book, Mastering Wine for the Asian Palate (2011), provides a fresh Asian perspective, introducing a new set of Asian wine descriptors. Both books are in their second reprint and are available in English, Korean and simplified Chinese.

Lee is currently a professor at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) where she helped to launch the Master of Science (MSc) in International Wine Management program offered by the School of Hotel and Tourism Management (SHTM). She is also a Visiting Professor at the Chinese Culinary Institute and the International Culinary Institute. She is the former Publisher and CEO of LE PAN, a wine lifestyle publication.

Lee was selected as one of the top 100 most influential people in Hong Kong by the South China Morning Post and Debrett’s in November 2015. She was named the 25th most powerful person in wine by Decanter magazine (UK) and was listed among the top 60 most influential people in wine by La Revue du Vin (France) in 2015.

Lee holds a Certificat de Cuisine from Cordon Bleu and trained as a Master Sake Sommelier at Japan’s Sake Service Institute. She is a Certified Wine Educator with both the UK’s Wine & Spirits Education Trust and the US Society of Wine Educators. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Smith College as well as a Master’s degree from Harvard University.

Personal life[edit]

With her husband, Joseph Lee, she has a daughter. Lee has lived in Hong Kong with her family since 1994.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Pilling, David, Financial Times (March 05, 2010). Asia’s first Master of Wine
  2. ^ a b c Robinson, Jancis, (September 6, 2008) Asia's first Master of Wine
  3. ^ a b Weekes, Claire, Harpers Wine & Spirit (November 10, 2008). New Masters of Wine receive IMW awards
  4. ^ a b c d Nerenberg, Jenara, Fast Company (July 29, 2010). Jeannie Cho Lee Is the Asian Wine Market's Own Julia Child
  5. ^ Yeh, Ken, Christie's Features (May 10, 2010). The Asian Palate: An Interview with Jeannie Cho Lee
  6. ^ Decanter's Power List 2013 Decanter July 2, 2013
  7. ^ a b "Jeannie Cho Lee profile". Masters of Wine. Archived from the original on 2014-08-15. 
  8. ^ a b Le-Min, Lim, (April 28, 2010). Harvard Woman Defies Skeptics as Wine Master
  9. ^ (November 2, 2010). Jeannie Cho Lee MW joins Decanter as contributing editor Asia
  10. ^ (March 21, 2012). Decanter Asia Wine Awards to launch in May
  11. ^ Miller, Rupart (September 24, 2014). "New Wine Show To Air In Hong Kong". The Drinks Business. 
  12. ^ Abbott, John, (26/04/2010). Judges defy delays to kick off DWWA judging week
  13. ^ Verona, Vinitaly International Wine & Spirits Exhibition (31/3/2009) Castello Banfi, Jeannie Cho Lee and Lidia Bastianich Vinitaly International Awards 2009
  14. ^ ASIA Travel (13/5/2009) Singapore Airlines adds Master of Wine - Jeannie Cho Lee - to Wine Panel
  15. ^ Singapore (12/3/2009) New Wine Consultant Adds Asian Flair To Singapore Airlines' Wine Panel
  16. ^ Luxury Hospitality Daily (3/3/2011) Leading wine expert Jeannie Cho Lee appointed as Galaxy Macau's Master of Wine (China)[1]
  17. ^ Christine Salins Reviews Asian Palate (03/04/2010)
  18. ^ Cookbook (20/02/2010)
  19. ^ IACP: IACP Announces 2011 Award Winners
  20. ^ OIV: OIV announces 2011 Award Winners
  21. ^ Lechmere, Adam, (May 28, 2010). Jeannie Cho Lee launches major website

External links[edit]