June 2009 - Posts
Interesting Insight Not many people pay attention to the glass that holds their drinks. And those who do, they know that the shape and size of a glass could bring a lot of difference to taste of the drink. This is especially true in case of wine, says, Celia Cheng. Intelligence of Wine Glass Celia Cheng
As per Chinese wisdom, whenever you want to get something done with the best result, you have to adopt the most effective tool for your target. This is absolutely right to our topic this month – Intelligence of Wine Glass! Actually, most wine lovers and sophisticated drinkers put their focus on wine tasting and great wine selections from the very beginning till they understand and experience wine as time goes by. However, they easily miss out the importance of choosing wine glasses which is a very crucial element for enjoyment of wine.
Remarkable marriage of “elegance, functionality and durability”
It’s a known phenomenon that people are generally interested in colour, bouquet, taste and hardly about wine glasses which is a crucial instrument that conveys message of wine. I got an opportunity to interview Gigi Wong, Catering Division Manager of Inhesion Industrial Company, Limited, the sole Agent & Distributor for China, Hong Kong & Macau. It was fantastic learning about viewpoints, wine glass and professional knowledge indeed.
Gigi shared with me the long standing history behind the world-famous wine glass company “Spiegelau” which was well established since 1521. Moreover, Spiegelau is owned by Riedel Glass Work, the one that is well-known by wine lovers all over the world. Over five centuries of hand craftsmanship and innovative modern glass making technologies, Spiegelau specializes to produce superb glasses for wine lovers. The company is proud of high performance of wine glass production in remarkable marriage of “elegance, functionality and durability”.
Handmade & Machinery Glass:
How many of us are really aware about handmade glass and machinery glass? Gigi said it only takes 45 minutes to produce a brilliant handmade glass by traditional method of “mouth blown” including four to five craftsmen as a team. Professional craftsman have over ten years of skills and techniques in mouth blown. In case of machinery made, 30-40 pieces of glass can be strictly produced at the same time.
Technological innovation and its implementation help produce high quality wine glass. Apart from the handmade glass, the outstanding machinery glasses are also getting more popular among wine and food industries and wine lovers in terms of high performance and competitive prices.
Intelligence of Wine Glass:
It is time to go into the details of wine glass. So what is intelligence of wine glass, how about a relaxing lesson then? First of all, we are talking about the size of wine glass. The size of a glass is very important which affects quality and intensity and aroma of wine. To be direct, this is breathing space for the wine. In simple principle, red wines require large glass, white wine
Shape of a glass influences bouquet and taste of wine. Hence, design of wine glass is actually made to fit character of various types of wines require medium sized glass, champagne emphasizes fruit character, elegance of bubbles rather than purely alcohol so its served in a flute glass.
Secondly, shape of a glass influences bouquet and taste of wine. Hence, design of wine glass is actually made to fit character of various types of wines. Let’s have some typical examples, Burgundy wine glass is generous pear-shaped bowl allows more mature, high quality, low-tannin aromatic wines to breathe openly, allowing the drinker to appreciate the nuanced differences among more complex aromatic red wines. On the other hand, Bordeaux wine glass is ideal for large complex wines; special shape of elegant full-sized bowl reveals rich aromas of full highly tannic red wine. White wine small is great to enjoy fresh and light wine.
Elegant shape is well suited for light and medium bodied white wines and light-bodied red wines. When we talk about sparkling wine, Champagne Flute is definitely designed and functioned to highlight delicate aromas and subtle flavours of champagne. The narrow flute shaped bowl captures the pearl-like bubbles, revealing their delicate notes as they explore wine surface.
Don’t forget great Decanter!
It was interesting to ask Gigi about the number of wine glasses that she has at home, to which, she smiled and said interestingly. “This is a popular question asked by friends always. Well, there are one dozen of wine glasses in kitchen shelf. It is quite common in countries overseas for dining and parties at home. Certainly, a perfect enjoyment to great wine is hidden in the outstanding glass, its shape, transparency, elegance and craftsmanship etc…” While concluding Gigi made a friendly reminder to great decanter! She said, “To decant wines is a sign of respect for old wines and a sign of confidence in young wines.
Decanting young wines, just a few moments before it’s served helps to ensure the wines clarity and brilliance. On the contrary, decanting old wines take several hours to bloom and attain stage of development that normally requires years of aging.” Now, looking at my kitchen cabinet, I think it is time to select some quality wine glasses. What I have to choosehandmade glasses or machinery made, well, that’s still an interesting question. So, what is your intelligent quotient then?
(Special thanks: Gigi Wong, Catering Division Manager, Inhesion Industrial Co., Ltd. Sole Agent & Distributor for China,Hong Kong & Macau)
What do you think about genius or well-educated wine experts? Two years ago, I met an Italian senior Sommelier in Florence, Dr. Francisco, who gave lessons in a famous wine and food school. It was interesting to know that he got the first taste of wine when he was six years old. Of course, it was not encouraging to little child or teenager under eighteen years old to drink wine.
However, with long history of a wine family, he enjoyed aroma of plum and blackberry of wines since he was just a little child. Dr. Francisco made a joke, “My grandpa said that DNA of wine was well built inside my body of this family tree!” Recently I was glad to meet another wine professional, Johnny Leung, who is not just a Sommelier. In fact, he is the first and the only Chinese Winemaker in New Zealand. He is the youngest Chinese winemaker as well. From his interesting story, we might get some idea regarding the relation between inborn talent, interest exploration and wine education. Johnny was born in Hong Kong and migrated with parents to New Zealand when he was twelve years old. He first came in contact with wine during his university education on Hotel Management in Switzerland. After university education Johnny went to Hawke’s Bay for further study and developed wine knowledge. As we all know, Hawke’s Bay is a well-known wine region in New Zealand. He specially put effort to study vineyard plantation, technique adoption and management. His talent and interest was deeply explored and developed!
Just after three months of study at the university, his talent and capability was recognized with a Silver Award in a students’ competition. For sure, this award had made strong encouragement to Johnny’s effort in wine industry. Taking brilliant records of success, Johnny has the first and only Chinese winemaker in New Zealand, Johnny puts progressive footsteps to Hong Kong market and international aspects.
Being the youngest, talented and first Chinese winemaker in New Zealand, Johnny is decisive to make plans of marketing and sales strategies. When I met him first time in Vinexpo in Hong Kong this year, actually this was the first time Twilight Vineyard was exhibiting and promoting its wines in Hong Kong. Given an international insight of Johnny, he places higher priority on potential and international edge of Hong Kong market over competitors in Asia region.
What he introduced signature wines to customer in Vinexpo and evaluated encouraging feedback afterwards. He is more confident to concentrate resources and effort on Hong Kong as a progressive starting point. On the one hand, Johnny liaised with New Zealand Trade Association of Hong Kong for wine tasting event and consignment sales to reach wine lovers directly. In additions to media exposure of the first Chinese winemaker return from New Zealand, he negotiates with potential importers to Twilight signature wines such as 2005 Sunset Red, Diamonds and Pearls Sparkling Muscat, 2005-2007 Pinot Gris etc. On the other hand, Johnny is innovative to write up free and regular newsletter in Chinese and English versions to wine lovers who register to their customer base. In the first issue of newsletter, Johnny briefly introduced his short but sparkling background being a professional winemaker within several years, explained plantation process and grapes of Twilight Vineyards in details.
Not only to frontline marketing and sales strategies, Johnny understands importance of wine quality than any of marketing or public relations programs. He stresses on development in next stage and quality assurance of Twilight Vineyards after operation by Bruce and Joy. Johnny investigates best way of grape plantation, harvest and production of fantastic wines. He deeply believes responsibility and difference among great winemakers from others. Rather than original footprint, Johnny has a worldwide dream, after Twilight Vineyards, to invest Kauri Peninsula as new and great land to premium grapes. In consideration of three sides of ocean climate and steeply land, beautiful view and fertile soil are advantages to conditions of premium grapes. Johnny has dream of competing with first grade of international wines by producing outstanding wines in New Zealand. Nevertheless, dream of Kauri Peninsula have to be kept along with continuous commitment until the first bottle in market after five years as minimum of investment.
It was a delightful moment to learn wine philosophy from the youngest, first and only Chinese winemaker in New Zealand. Though we could not tell whether Johnny is inborn great winemaker, however, interest exploration, knowledge, learning and experience development are attributes of a successful winemaker. Also, worldwide insight is even more crucial to a brilliant winemaker indeed!