UB40 take ‘Red Red Wine’ to HKBy Natalie Wang
Several of the founding members of British reggae group UB40 have released the latest 2015 vintage of their ‘Red Red Wine’, named after their eponymous 1983 hit single, as they look at releasing the wine in Hong Kong and China.
The wine is a collaboration between Eminent Life, a company which creates limited edition products connected to the arts, and the original UB40 band members Ali Campbell, Astro and Mickey Virtue, known for their chart-topping singles such as Red Red Wine, I Got You Babe and (I Can’t Help) Falling in Love with You.
Following their first release of the 2014 vintage last year, the latest 2015 vintage is a blend of 82% Merlot and 18% Cabernet Franc, sourced from vineyards in St. Emilion, located “10 minutes away from Petrus”, according to Jerome Jacober, founder and CEO of Eminent Life.
Described as a “very quaffable” Bordeaux Supérieur by the band’s lead singer Ali Campbell, the wine is “a homage” to its hit song Red Red Wine, which topped the UK singles chart in 1983 and US chart in 1988, as well as “an advert for French wine,” said the singer while chatting to dbHK.
Campbell, born and raised in Scotland in a working class family, actually had his first introduction to Bordeaux wines when he worked as a grape picker in Bordeaux with his mother and brother, an experience that he still fondly recalls today.
But growing up as a working class child from Scotland, as he says, wine was not always accessible, and “only posh people drink wine”.
Born “on the wrong side of the tracks,” Campbell recalled that wine drinking in Britain did not catch on until late 1980s. “It was a joke in fact in ’70s and ’80s that the whole population drink very very cheap German wine, Black Tower or Blue Nun. It was a terrible wine. It was very bad.”
“Now you got people like us bringing the wine to the world. Funny world,” the singer mused, while joking it only took them “30 years of research” before launching the wine now.
Asked about how involved the band was with the wine, Campbell replied, “it would be a lie if we say we went and picked the grapes now, but we were very involved all the way through. Jerome kept us informed and we sample the wines.”
Eminent Life is also in talks with a few local wine merchants to bring the wine to the Hong Kong market and possibly mainland China as well.
“I hope to bring the wine to China and Hong Kong. I hope people will enjoy it as much as we do. It’s a fabulous wine. It goes with every meal you have. I am just happy it’s expanding and reaching out. World domination and this is the beginning,” Astro added.
The wine can be purchased through www.eminent-life.com/ub40 for £28.5 a bottle.