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The week in pictures: Hong Kong

the drinks business editor-in-chief Patrick Schmitt MW gave an in-depth masterclass on Japanese wines on 9 November at Reinaissance Harbour View Hotel in Hong Kong. Having visited Japan’s major wine growing regions earlier this year including Yamanashi, Nagana and Hokkaido, Schmitt believes Japanese wine is “another emerging modern classic”. Drawing a parallel to the English wine industry, he explained that both countries’ wines are distinctive and have a strong domestic market.

With a new law introduced this October that allows only grapes grown in Japan be used for Japanese wine, the country’s wines are expected to get a further boost in quality and reach shores many thousands of miles away from where they are made.

More than 50 of Hong Kong’s top sommeliers, wine merchants and educators attended the masterclass, tasting a flight of 10 wines, which were Cuvée Misawa, Akeno Koshu 2017, Katsunuma Winery Aruga Branca ‘Issehara’ Koshu 2016, Katsunuma Winery Aruga Branca Pipa Koshu 2015, Lumière ‘Prestige Class’ Orangé Koshu 2017, Kusunoki Winery Riesling 2014, Château Mercian Hokushin RGC ‘Left Bank’ Chardonnay 2016,  Hokkaido Wine Company Otaru Gewurztraminer 2017, Tomi no Oka  ‘Tomi’ 2013, Château Mercian Kikyogahara Merlot Signature ‘Pont des Arts’ 2013, Lumière Sparkling Koshu.

Tsukasa Hirota, Deputy Consul General of Japan in Hong Kong, was among the guests at the Japanese masterclass.

The second-edition of The Drinks Business Asian Awards celebrated the recipients of 11 awards across categories that included marketing, branding and leadership from the Asian drinks trade. Prominent companies including Australian wine giant Treasury Wine Estates, drinks company Pernod Ricard, Greater China’s leading wine merchants such as Kerry Wines (Shanghai) and COFCO Wine & Wine were among some of the top winners at the awards ceremony. Key figures in China including the country’s first Chinese Master Sommelier Lu Yang and Judy Chan, the chairwoman of China’s Grace Vineyard, were among the personality awards winners. For full profiles of all winners, please click here.

Franck Mayaud from Champagne De Venoge was recently in Hong Kong to present his range of wines including De Venoge Cordon Blue Brut NV, De Venoge Princes Blanc De Noirs Brut NV, De Venoge Prince Extra Brut NV, De Venoge Louis XV Millesime Brut 2006 and De Venoge Louis XV Millesime Brut 2006. The Champagne brand reportedly is a favourite of R&B singer Usher.

An eclectic dinner marrying the best of Sardian ingredients and Sardinian wines from Argiolas Winery was hosted at Hong Kong Football Club. Two Italian chefs Alessandro Taras from Argiolas and Massimo Santovito from HKFC curated signature Sardinian dishes to pair with a refreshing white, Vermentino Costamolino, and reds such as Cannonau Costera, Bovale Sardo Korem and Argiolas’ flagship wine Turriga in two different vintages, 2013 and 2003.

Matt Deller MW, COO of TOR Wines, was proudly presenting the range of wines from TOR Wines from Napa Valley, a winery founded in 2001 by Tor Kenward, a veteran viticulturist who worked 27 years at Beringer.

Celebrating Castello Banfi’s 40 years of history, its local importer ASC Fine Wines invited Cristina Mariani-May, family proprietor of the Italian winery in Montalcino, to Hong Kong to kick off the celebrations. Over the years, Brunellos still remain among its flagship wines, but the Banfi wine empire has expanded beyond Montalcino with vineyard land in the Maremma, Piedmont, Bolgheri and Chianti Classico.

Presenting the latest releases of his namesake wines, Andrew Caillard MW was in Hong Kong to pour his Caillard Wine range, a Shiraz and a Mataro, produced in Barossa Valley, with labels painted by the Master of Wine himself. This year marks Caillard Wine’s 10th anniversary after the first release of 2008 Mataro or Mourvèdre in France, a grape known as ‘ the dog’s strangler’ in France for its harsh tannins. The 2014 Mataro with 3% addition of Shiraz, according to Caillard, was rather rounded.

Korean sommelier Hyisu Han saw off competitors from China, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and New Zealand to become the winner of the first Châteaux & Domaines Castel Asia-Oceania Cup in Hong Kong after an intense 2-day competition. Dion Wai from New Zealand was named the first runner-up, while Kibeom Song from Korea was named second runner-up.  

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