Misha updates on her recent trip to Singapore to visit customers and attend SAVOUR – the Singapore food and wine extravaganza.
Given we lived in Singapore for over 17 years, returning for business trips feels like returning home in many ways. Waiting at Auckland airport for my Singapore Airlines flight, I read the news about the passing of Lee Kuan Yew in the early hours of that day. Lee was the first Prime Minister of Singapore and known as the founding father of independent Singapore – a country which transitioned from a third world country to a first world country in a single generation under his leadership. So it was with sadness that I boarded the flight but also feeling a sense of consolation that I was at least going to be in Singapore during the week of mourning.
My Singapore work schedule started with an Indian themed trade dinner which, to be honest, I had been a little nervous about when I realised the wine pairing wasn’t a case of one wine with one dish but one wine with 3-6 dishes within each course! However my fears were allayed once we started this wine dinner at Tandoor Restaurant at the Holiday Inn as the team there were actually quite expert in matching food and wine flavours – and have won awards for doing so! The evening worked brilliantly and we had quite a large group of trade attending. Some of them admitted they came as they were curious as to how wines could match the diverse menu that had been published! What I learned from the evening is that Pinot Noir is a very versatile wine (actually I already knew that!) and that aromatic white wines with some residual sugar are wonderful food companions to spicy food – and to be honest I knew that too! Our Limelight Riesling really proved herself to be the most accommodating of all the wines with the foods we were served so my advice is, if you like Indian food, you absolutely need buy some Misha’s Vineyard Limelight Riesling!
I was able to meet some new accounts during some trade visits and am pleased to announce that Harry’s now carry our Limelight Riesling in Singapore thanks to a great tasting with Darren Mark Ee. And I’m also pleased to announce that the Grand Hyatt in Singapore now have our Sauvignon Blanc listed after a tasting with Chai – and a bit of pressure from long-term expat Phil Medway who’s a regular at the Grand Hyatt and very keen to be drinking our Sauvignon Blanc on a regular basis! I had a fabulous day visiting customers and potential new accounts with Ivy Lee, one of our distributor, Crystal Wines’ most experienced sales staff and who predominantly looks after the 5 star hotels.
The main reason for my visit to Singapore was to participate in the Savour event – a food and wine extravaganza which ran from the 26th to 29th March. Having participated at Savour before, I knew it was going to be tough going with 4 days of standing behind a counter serving wine. Fortunately the first two days only have evening sessions instead of all day sessions! The wine showcased at the event was all from Crystal Wines, so it was a wonderful selection of premium wine from around the world. To attend Savour, attendees pay SGD $60 to just in through the main gate and then to get into the wine area, there was an additional tasting ticket required (which was then refunded on purchase of two bottles of any wine). I must say, it was a pleasure serving wines and talking about our wines over the four days of the event as many people were pretty wine savvy and the rest were really keen to learn more! One of the big hits in terms of our wines, was ‘The Cadenza’ – our new late harvest Gewurztraminer which seemed to be something that everyone enjoyed. Thank goodness Crystal had ordered enough stock of this wine as it was a bottle that people were purchasing to take home with them!
I presented a Masterclass on Pinot Noir in the Wine Theatre on the second evening of the event entitled “Pinot Noirs of the World – New Zealand’s Place in the World”. We had a full attendance at the class where the first part of the class went through various aspects of growing and making Pinot Noir. We then poured 6 Pinot Noirs for the class and gave them a list of 6 Pinot Noir regions and some time to taste the wines and match the Pinots with a region. As we then went through each Pinot Noir and unveiled their origins, most people were surprised with very few able to select the correct region. Within the flight of Pinots there were two from New Zealand (Marlborough and Central Otago) and the other regions represented were Burgundy (France), Willamette Valley (Oregon, USA), Yarra Valley (Victoria, Australia) and Casablanca Valley (Chile). The class certainly showed the diversity of Pinot Noir but I think it also showed that New Zealand makes some fine examples of this variety!
The nice thing about being in Singapore for the Savour event was being able to spend a bit of time with Kimberley Judd from Greywacke and her son Alex. Greywacke and Misha’s Vineyard are on the same portfolio in New Zealand with Negociants and also in Singapore with Crystal Wines. So between sessions at Savour we shared a few coffees, a couple of lunches and the odd glass of something sparkling!