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Tersina Shieh   February 2021
Keep Positive, Drink Wine!
What a 2020 and what a start of 2021.

2020 saw a big change in the wine landscape. It is sad to see the F&B industry took the hardest hit but at least both wine retailers and online shops reported sales increase on the mid-price range, despite the drop in sales of trophy wines.

As we are aware, Hong Kong wine consumption concentrates on a small core group of people and the majority only drinks occasionally, usually when they dine out and seldom at home. The work-from-home policy, social distancing measure and dine-in ban in the evening all prompt occasional drinkers to enjoy a glass or two of wine at home more often, either with dinners or happy hours with friends on What’s App or Zoom. High flying financiers who normally drink at restaurants realise wine can be that much cheaper and more delicious now that they are drinking at home. All my friends outside the wine trade said they bought more wine in 2020. 

Consumers now have one year getting used to drinking at home and I guess some of them will continue this new found habit when the pandemic is over. This means they will be more willing to have a glass of wine with casual dinners both at home and eating out. They will also work out that good quality wine doesn’t only mean French or cost HK$500 and up. This is certainly good news for the wine industry in long term as it will be more sustainable and resilient. Let’s hope this is the silver lining.

2020 also disrupted most wine events but some managed to replace conventional tasting events with  pretty creative activities including Californian Wine Sip of Summer pop-up store in mid July in Causeway Bay, Provence Rosé in a spa room in November, and 逸品館 IPPINKAN by The Time Sommelier that will ends on 8th February at LCX. I am particularly proud of the South African Cap Classique Challenge in the midst of the third wave covid-19. 30 professionals including sommeliers, educators and writers - two at a time of course - blind tasted two sparkling wines and guessed which one was a champagne. Just 52% of guests got the right answer. The challenge was fun, educational and we did convince guests that Cap Classique is something they should not overlook.

We will not be in smooth sailing for a while but hopefully the Year of Ox will bring more bullishness. We just have to stay positive and keep enjoying wine! 🥂🍷

What’s on in 2021
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Despite the challenges at home, South African wine seemed to be a winner in Hong Kong. Last year, the value of import South African wine grew by 16.5% while volume was up by 2.6% comparing to 2019. We are excited to see six new importers, all dedicated to South Africa wines, setting up here. They are Cellar to Door WinesKork WinesLekker LaaProgeny WinesSpringbok Wines and Wine Impala. Together with existing importers, they brought over 40 new South African wine brands to the market, including both classic and young guns, some only have limited production. Check out the full South African wine suppliers here.
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Cap Classique is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. The first Cap Classique was made in 1971 by Simonsig and released in 1973. As the Cap Classique Challenge indicated, this South African bubbly rivals champagnes. @Sommeliers and beverage managers, put on your thinking hats and introduce this lovely bubbly to your customers. How about Cap Classique brunch, Cap Classique happy hour or design your own Cap Classique Challenge? The Cap Classiques available in the market include Bartho Eksteen, Boschendal, Cederberg, Colmant, De Grendel, De Morgenzon, Graham Beck, Ken Forrester, Klein Constantia, Krone, Longridge, Louisvale, Miss Molly, Simonsig, Spier, Stony Brook and VillieraLet me know if you want to be introduced to their importers.

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Yes, SPECTACULAR South Africa is coming back in April. This annual, market-wide campaign is to celebrate South Africa’s Freedom Day on 27th April. We welcome F&B outlets and retailers to devise their Spectacular South Africa offers to impress their customers. From blends to Chenin Blanc, Pinotage to Pinot Noir, classic producers to young winemakers, South African wine is creative and exciting. Talk to your importers and check out the new brands in town.

And stay tuned for the annual tasting in a new format with even more fun, creativity, and delicious wines. Details to come soon. Enquiries here.

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Don’t forget these key South African events: 

18th June: #DrinkChenin Day

1st September: #CapClassiqueDay

24th September: Braai Day

9th October: #PinotageDay

Follow WOSA Hong Kong on Facebook and Instagram

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Riesling Weeks Hong Kong has a new logo and a website! In addition to Riesling Week events, we included hyperlinks to German grape varieties and wine regions, plus a whole new site on German wine x Asian cuisines with Chinese and Japanese recipes to inspire home chefs! Check it out. 

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Though a pity that the 71st German Queen, Angelina Vogt, could not visit Hong Kong last year, our Riesling Weeks participants spared no effort to make sure Riesling Weeks did not lose its sparkles. Chefs at Brasserie on the EighthGolden Leaf 金葉庭Dynasty 滿福樓Mirage Bar & RestaurantSueño and The Chef Table created mouth-watering asparagus menus to pair with a diverse range of German wine. 

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Angelina shared a few videos with us including her favourite Soy marinated salmon with Japanese hollandaise and green asparagus with Sparkling Riesling (sekt) or dry Riesling recipe. We also ran the Asparagus x Wine online cooking competition where three creative winners, Lily Miller, Florence Li and Josh Greenwood won dining vouchers at Riesling Weeks’ participating outlets.

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Wines of Germany runs the Best Campaign Award to recognise the effort of the best 10 participants. The 2020 top three winners were Conrad Hong Kong, Cordis Hong Kong and The Murray Hong Kong. Their prizes were a Germany Sommelier Class trip, Marie Claire Hong Kong one page advertisement and Liebherr 168 bottles wine cabinet respectively. The other winners, Madame Fù, The Mira Hong Kong, Watson’s Wine, Wine Palace, Galaxy Macau, Bachmair Wines and Monopole & Co each received a Schott Zwiesel decanter. Well done all winners!

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We are planning for Riesling Weeks 20201 campaign. F&B and retailers: please get in touch with your German wine suppliers. Hopefully, the 72nd German Wine Queen or her princesses can celebrate with us in person. Please refer to German wine suppliers here, and contact me for more information.

Follow Riesling Weeks Hong Kong on Facebook and Instagram

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Although the Vintage Port Academy workshops could not go ahead last year due to travel restriction, Euan Mackay and Nicolas Heath from the Academy had discussions with two of the Douro's most experienced winemakers, David Guimaraens, Head Winemaker of The Fladgate Partnership, and Charles Symington, Head Winemaker of Symington Family Estates in two webinars in October.

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The first one was 'Reflections on the Harvest and Winemaking” where the two winemakers shared  the challenges and rewards of 2020 harvest. The heatwave in August caused all grapes ripening at the same time, making the very rare of co-fermenting early ripener Touriga Franca and late ripener Touriga Nacional possible. We will find out next year if the 2020 vintage will be another declared year.

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The second series of the webinar was on ‘Ageing and Blending of Port’. David and Charles also shared with us the port they are particularly proud of - Croft 2003 and Graham Stone Terraces 2011 respectively. Find out why from the webinar.

We are optimistic that the VPA workshops, open to F&B trade and front line service staff, held in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou later this year, can resume. Please get in touch if you would like to attend. 

Follow Vintage Port Academy on Facebook. VPA alumni can join the Facebook VPA Alumni group or WeChat group.

Stay tuned
I’m contributing to these publications and websites, hope you will find the readings interesting. 
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Cru Magazine, Hong Kong
Foodie, Hong Kong
OpenRice, Hong Kong
Global Gourmet, China
And Facebook is always the platform for the latest news.

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