Compared to Wine & Dine, where visitors were mainly interested in food—long queues at the food counters but not at the wine booths—Wine HK was certainly more wine focused. Yet it managed to avoid the stiffness and time constraints of some wine tasting events. Consumers wandered around the semi-outdoor venue and tasted wine at their own pace, pausing for a bite at one of the eight food booths serving round-the-globe delicacies from yakitori chicken to steak sandwiches, before tasting more wine, all the while listening to festive music—although I have to admit the music bit could have been improved.
|Courtesy Wine HK
Wine Times HK and Mumm, the official media and champagne partners respectively, ran a sabrage challenge where visitors learnt the trick of how to open a bottle of champagne with a blade. It attracted a crowd of eager triers, mostly ladies (somewhat surprisingly) including myself, surrounded by male-dominated onlookers. The best part of this challenge was drinking the champagne afterwards—12 bottles on Saturday! In addition, there was a Tasting Championship and Information wine sessions where visitors could do blind tastings and learn more about wine in general. Visitors could also vote for their favourite wines.
Jeremy Oliver, Australian wine writer, Mr Tang seemed to approve of the event.
What’s more, all wines carried about a 20% discount off retail price and most were within the HK$100 to $300 bracket. Even wines in the VIP Lounge were affordable with most between HK$300 and $500 per bottle. I particular liked the concept of consolidated shopping and delivery. Instead of having to buy a minimum amount from one importer (usually about $1,200) in order to enjoy free delivery, visitors could pick as little as one wine from any given importer then pay a $90 delivery charge for a combined delivery of all their purchases. This encouraged purchases without jeopardising the sales of any importer. I bought over 30 wines from 12 importers! The organiser has yet to release the statistics but I could see there was quite a number of keen buyers.
|Courtesy Wine HK
Anyway, despite the flaws, Wine HK is definitely a worthwhile consumer event that I hope will become a signature over time. I’m looking forward to its third running.
Note: According to the organiser's Facebook post on 23rd December, there were 3,500 customers who together bought 24,000 bottles from 89 booths, an increase of 300% from the previous year. There were delivery hiccups (I experienced it myself) but nevertheless an encouraging result.