Entries open for 2017 Cathay Pacific HKIWSC

The 2017 Cathay Pacific Hong Kong International Wine & Spirits Competition (HKIWSC) is now open for entries with gin and Vietnam the focus this year.

Now in its ninth year, the HKIWSC will have a particular focus on gin and Vietnamese food in 2017, while the judging panel has been bolstered by some leading bartenders and four masters of wine.

The VIP judges have also been announced with South African winemaker Johann Fourie, of Benguela Cove and Mannings Heath, stepping in as International Wine Judge and Desmond Payne, master distiller at Beefeater Gin taking up the mantle of International Judge of Spirits.

Debra Meiburg MW, Founding Director of the HKIWSC said: “Desmond Payne is the perfect choice for VIP International Spirits Judge this year, with the gin craze really gripping Hong Kong and further afield in Asia. Desmond has been involved in the wine and spirit industry since 1965, and has a wealth of knowledge and intel across the board, along with his gin expertise. We look forward to his acumen and insights during the action-packed judging week!”

Payne added: “I hope to bring an international perspective to the judging panel, as I travel across many countries. Asia is a hugely important region for international wines and spirits.  The issuing of HKIWSC awards recognises the importance of quality and prestige in these markets. Personally, I am especially interested to see how Asian spirits are developing and how they show local characteristics.”

Joining Fourie and Payne will be a number of Asia-based judges, including Sonal Holland MW from India, Ying Hsieh Tan MW from Singapore, Kenichi Ohashi MW from Japan. Alex Thinh from Vietnam and Agung Prabowo from Indonesia are the first judges from their respective countries to join the competition.

A Vietnamese dish has been added to the ever-popular food and wine pairing segment of the competition, Cua Lot Cuon (soft shell crab rice rolls), as have Lo-Hei Yu Sheng (raw fish salad) from Singapore/Malaysia; Prawn Vindaloo from India and Sea-Salt Grilled Red Snapper from Japan.

Meiburg continued: “Traditional celebrations in Asia are centred around food, yet with the growing interest in wine, many find themselves confused on what to choose, especially given Asia’s banquet-style dining. Wine can really enhance the dining experience – particularly in a celebration setting – which makes this year’s theme even more pertinent.”

Allen Gibbons, CEO of IWSC Group, said: “We can’t wait to taste the flood of entries – past and new – in the 2017 competition. The tastes and consumption patterns of Asian consumers have significantly evolved over the past two to three years, let alone the nine years of the competition. There is a growing thirst for premium, mid-market wines from around the world, along with everyday drinking wines, and top-of-the-market drops.”

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