67 Pall Mall launches en primeur membership in Hong Kong
On the express path to expansion, 67 Pall Mall has launched a new category of membership in cities where it has no physical presence, beginning in Hong Kong.
“We’ve called it en primeur because of the ability to buy a non-physical product ahead of the physical product being available,” says 67 Pall Mall founder Grant Ashton.
The plan is to expand en primeur into other cities with vibrant wine communities, like Dubai, Tokyo, Shanghai and potentially, Bangkok (given the recent drop in wine taxes) in the coming months.
However, as Ashton makes clear, the membership programme is not a guaranteed precursor to a physical club in the future. “It’s a marker that we are interested in that market,” he says.
Although, in the case of Hong Kong, he is openly and actively exploring club sites. If and when a physical club materialises, the en primeur members can easily transfer to a full membership model.
67 Pall Mall’s new membership programme debuts in Hong Kong today with its venue partner — Upper House in Admiralty — where the club is hosting a series of high-profile launch events attended by masters of wine Jasper Morris, Debra Meiburg and Jennifer Docherty and key wine and F&B figures of the city.
The Hong Kong outpost’s en primeur membership is priced lower than Singapore club membership, at HK$15,000 (£1,510) annually and is likely to cap at 1000 members.
En primeur members will have access to all of 67 Pall Mall’s physical clubs worldwide, and the membership will offer a series of workshops, dinners, masterclasses and WSET education, as well as sommelier concierge service.
The year’s calendar starts with a masterclass with Jane Anson in March, who will lead a Year of the Dragon vertical masterclass of Bordeaux from 2012, 2000 and 1988 and will continue to offer tailored sessions run by Head of wine, Richard Hemming, and the city’s top talent like Debra Meiburg MW.
Hong Kong is home to 52 private member lifestyle clubs which mainly offer sports, dining, followed by wine programmes.
Last week, Burgundy specialist The Fine Wine Experience announced the launch of its three-level private member wine club Bâtard, which is due to open this summer on Pedder Street.
Clubs like the Ladies Recreational Club offers robust wine selection and masterclasses to long-term members. In addition, organisations like The Wine Society and Commanderie de Bordeaux are fairly active in the Hong Kong market as are the distributors in promoting their portfolio winemakers for dinners and masterclasses.
Given Hong Kong’s sophisticated and mature wine consumers – saturated with high-end dinners and masterclasses – newly appointed head of en primeur for 67 Pall Mall Genavieve Alexander says that future events will be devised keeping Hong Kong fine wine consumers in mind. “Our experiences need to be relevant to the city we are launching in. It needs to be contemporary and have an element of the unexpected.”
The club’s aim is to promote the rising stars, the up-and-comers, the people in the industry, says Ashton. “What we would aim to do is to create a focus for the industry in Hong Kong because we’re not linked to a distributor, merchant, or a wine shop.”