Misha talks about the Singapore leg of our recent Asia tour..
I will be honest with you – I would prefer to go on a business trip with Andy (my husband) and Olly (our winemaker) than go on a vacation – I’m serious! The only downside is I come back exhausted rather than rested, but I actually quite enjoy the frantic pace and the amazing restaurants and hotels we visit when it’s a business trip. It’s a complete contrast to our quiet lifestyle in the sparsely-populated area of Cromwell, Central Otago! I figure as long as you have the two extremes then one’s life should be balanced, right?
Singapore is a wonderful market for Misha’s Vineyard wines and that’s largely due to the incredible effort of our distributor Crystal Wines – who do an amazing job servicing the top hotels and restaurants in Singapore. They have one of the most experienced and knowledgeable sales and marketing teams in the wine business.
Our activities started with some updated wine training on the new Misha’s Vineyard releases for the Crystal team and then we held our first big event – a Pinot Noir Masterclass, led by Olly Masters, our winemaker, along with invited panelists Lim Hwee Peng, one of Singapore’s best regarded wine educators and Gerald Lu who won Sommelier of the Year in 2010. Held at the Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel, the 47 people that attended were a combination of keen consumers and F&B trade. Our line-up of seven wines were from the best Pinot Noir regions in the world (and included three regions in New Zealand) and all the wines were presented blind. Attendees had the opportunity to hear about Pinot Noir from Olly, Hwee Peng and Gerald then spend 10 minutes tasting and writing notes on the various wines. We had some fun with attendees trying to match each wine with the regions but no-one managed to get them all right – in fact most had just one or two correct regions!
We also caught up with Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW whilst there and Olly took her through our new vintages and then we all had a lovely lunch at Flutes – one of our favourite restaurants which has recently relocated to a stunning location in the Singapore Museum. On Monday night had an informal tasting and dinner for 30 trade folks at Fern & Kiwi – yes there’s a little piece of New Zealand in Singapore these days – a great location to meet up with many of our current customers to show them the new vintages of wine! Fern & Kiwi is part of the Lone Star restaurant group, and has a bar and dining area downstairs and restaurant upstairs – all featuring New Zealand food, beer and of course wine.
And all of that was just in our first day!
The Prime Society was the location for our Misha’s Vineyard wine dinner – it’s one of Singapore’s premier restaurants located in the popular Dempsey area, and it’s always great to go there with such amazing staff and wonderful food! We had a very innovative start to our wine dinner thanks to Chef Dallas Cuddy, as we paired Misha’s Vineyard ‘The Gallery’ Gewurztraminer with truffle chicken liver parfait which was wrapped in a light crispy wafer ‘cigar’ and served to guests as they arrived in a cigar box – amazing! We also held a wine tasting evening at Andrew Tan’s new shop “World of Wine” at the Novena Shopping Centre. Lots of Andrews regular customers dropped in to sample the range of Misha’s Vineyard wines and pair with some local delicacies. Meeting his customers and talking to them about New Zealand wines was a lot of fun. Andy, Olly and I also did a weekend wine tasting at Brewerkz – the boutique beer brewery and restaurant on the waterfront at Clarke Quay. One of the highlights for Olly was the opportunity to taste through the range of craft beers produced by Scott – the resident brewer – and talk about the impact of different hops, yeasts and processes that make craft beers such a popular beverage.
Much of the rest of our time in Singapore was visiting customers and doing training with restaurant teams that serve our wines.
We can’t wait for our next visit to Singapore. We’re planning to do more wine education and Masterclasses on our next trip in this amazing island nation that has an insatiable thirst for knowledge – and New Zealand wines… (And I’m planning another dose of Pepper crab – my absolute favourite food in the world!)