45th Champagne Competition of the German hotel management schools in Berlin
Germany’s five leading hotel management schools - Berlin, Dortmund, Hamburg, Hannover, Heidelberg, all of them members of EUHOFA International - have been cooperating for many many years in the best tradition of business schools. They have different profiles, but share the same idea of quality in the way they prepare their students for management positions.
The title of “State Certified Business Economist - Hospitality” is internationally recognized as the best possible qualification for future leaders and entrepreneurs in hospitality. The 45th anniversary of the Champagne Competition showed how well these five schools cooperate. This year it was organized by Berlin Hotel Management School, and the students’ task was to develop ideas around the topic “The perfect glasses for Champagne”.
This year’s winning team consisted of five students, one from every schools that took part: Manuel Gossner (Berlin), Fabian Lepper (Dortmund), Kathrin Weissner (Hamburg), Sonja Dörger (Hannover) and Susanne Renelt (Heidelberg). The competition was held in Berlin on 20 and 21 September, in cooperation between Berlin Hotel Management School and the French „Comité Champagne”. This competition has been carried out by the Champagne Promotion Committee since 1973. It was the second time that mixed teams of five students (one from every school) competed against each other. The students had to develop a concept for perfect Champagne glasses, and they also had to prove their theoretical and practical knowledge of Champagne.
More pleasure with the perfect glasses for Champagne was this year’s main topic. The overall objective of the Champagne competition is to increase the students’ competencies on Champagne and also their interpersonal skills. On the first day the students developed the concept of a restaurant that uses Champagne as its USP, to stand out from other high quality competitors. The students had four hours time for this task. Their concept for the restaurant itself and for the marketing concept had to include Champagne as the number one premium sparkling wine as well as special glasses to highlight the guests’ unique pleasure when enjoying it. The students also did a blind Champagne tasting and had to recommend various types of Champagne along with a three-course menu. The jury was made up of three food and beverage experts.
This year’s jury
On the second day of the Champagne competition in Berlin the three teams presented their concepts to the jury. Their knowledge of Champagne, their tasting skills and the way they recommended the right Champagne with every course, all this really impressed the jury: Tim Hansen, owner of the restaurant “Neumond” in Berlin; Hagen Hoppenstedt, maître d’hôtel in the Adlon Kempinski Hotel, Berlin; and finally Christian Josephi from Stuttgart, the Champagne Promotion Committee’s responsible for Germany and Austria.
Networking and real-life challenges
Christiane Schöner, principal of Berlin Hotel Management School, summarized the main results of this year’s Champagne Competition as follows: “It was a challenge to cooperate in a team of five students who did not know each other before, and to develop a concept that in the end convinced the jury. The combination of professional and personal skills fascinated the students who participated, the jury and also the guests. This is how people should cooperate in the hospitality industry, and it shows how successfully the five leading German hotel management schools have been cooperating since 1979”.
The prize awarding ceremony was held during a gala night dinner at Berlin Hotel Management School. Many teachers and students from various courses participated. Students from the State School of Media, IT and Communication took photos and produced a short film. 90 guests enjoyed the festive dinner that ended this year’s Champagne Competition with a five-course menu and corresponding Champagne wines.
The winning team of five students will be travelling to Champagne in Eastern France in April 2018, together with the members of the jury and IT teacher Michael Musch, Berlin’s Champagne Competition project manager. They will visit wineries and talk to Champagne producers. Since 2015 the Champagne region and its production sites have been listed as World Heritage Sites.