Misha talks about her recent trip to Japan and Singapore.
I spent two wonderful weeks in Singapore and Tokyo recently – both are markets which continue to prove that New Zealand wines are increasingly becoming popular.
First stop in Singapore were visits to some of Singapore’s most wonderful restaurants including the new Luke’s Oyster Bar and Chop House, run by Travis Masiero who hails from Boston. Travis sources amazingly fresh seafood from his home town and has it flown twice weekly to Singapore. We discovered how well Luke’s seafood matched our Misha’s Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc and Limelight Riesling – both of which are available by the glass at his restaurant, along with our Impromptu Pinot Noir! We also had a sensational trade lunch prepared by the expert chefs at Wild Rocket and revisited one of my favourite places, Flutes at the Fort, for staff training across our full range of wines and we also hosted a tasting for a private event whilst there. I also did two training sessions at the Marriott Hotel on our wines, and very excited to announce that the Marriott Hotel now has Misha’s Vineyard Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir available by-the-glass across all 5 outlets at the hotel including the popular Crossroads café.
Then it was off to Tokyo for a number of visits to quirky wine bars including Ame wine bar, and fabulous dining spots including Un Verre, who decided to make it a ‘Misha’s Vineyard” night at their restaurant so that’s all we served on the night. It was a pretty busy evening because the owners decided I should pour every glass of Misha’s Vineyard wine! We eventually found a few minutes to eat something at the end of the night but it was all worth it as we had a lot of fun and made many friends! And the great thing is that although it’s a French restaurant in terms of its food, they have a New Zealand map proudly displayed in the restaurant and are particularly enamoured with Central Otago wines! We love Yusuke-san and his enthusiasm for New Zealand.
In fact I find Japan has some of the most enthusiastic people I have ever encountered.
In one of our trade visits, we went to see Jun-san at Borracho wine bar and as we tasted and discussed our Gewurztraminer, we talked about ideal food matches. With a click of fingers, the chef started lightly pan frying some foie gras so we could check that our Gewürztraminer was the appropriate wine match! (And by the way, it was!). I also spent a lovely afternoon at Isetan in Shinjuku where Misha’s Vineyard wines were available for tasting. Isetan is one of Japan’s most venerable department stores with their basement food/wine floor being the most famous in Tokyo due to its spectacular selection. Just eight wines from New Zealand are offered at Isetan and we’re very proud that Misha’s Vineyard is one of the brands they selected.
It was then back to Singapore then to participate in the inaugural 3-day Savour event – Singapore’s new gastronomic event where the finest food and drink unite at a Gourmet Village where Master classes, live demonstrations, workshops and plenty of tasting was carried out. Crystal Wines, our Singapore distributor, was the primary wine partner at the event and had a beautiful wine lounge set up. So for 3 days (and nights), I poured wines for a range of visitors including members of the trade as well as very interested and knowledgeable consumers. I also conducted a Masterclass on New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc to a sell-out audience at 8pm on a Saturday night! I didn’t think we’d get such a big audience but it goes to prove how interested Singapore consumers are becoming in terms of wine. I think Singapore has really come of age with regards to food and wine and it was a pleasure to be part of this well-organsed event – which was staged by the expert team behind the Singapore Grand Prix event (and held at the venue that was created for the Grand Prix event).
I miss you Singapore and Japan – but will be back soon!