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Drink Wines Made in Hong Kong?

Wines Made in Hong Kong?

Wines Made in Hong Kong?
By Hong Kong Tatler
December 02, 2009
Debra Meiburg gets a private tasting of The 8th Estate wines at Shang Palace

Behold the city's first homegrown wines from Hong Kong's only winery, The 8th Estate. Now this label is brewing in popularity stocked in some of the city's finest restaurants, including recently at Michelin-starred Shang Palace. The Chinese restaurant at the Kowloon Shangri-La hosted a tasting and dinner this month to showcase these bottles uniquely labelled with "Made in Hong Kong." Wine expert Debra Meiburg attended a more private tasting, and joined with the winery's Manager Director Lysanne Tusar, they tell us what to expect from such urban wines.

Established two years ago in an industrial building at Ap Lei Chau, The 8th Estate produces red, white and dessert varietals. So how on earth does this organization create vino in the city's densely populated urban landscape, hardly a wine-growing region? As the video reveals, the folks at the winery travel around the world, source grapes with a good growing year, harvest and freeze them, then bring them to Hong Kong where they are entirely produced.

Grapes are sourced from Washington State, USA and France, and once they arrive in the city, after being thawed, they go through the same process as any traditional winemaker goes through: pressing, punching, fermentation and aging. The results, judging from Meiburg's reaction in this clip, are clearly quite pleasing. The 8th Estate's 2007 bottles were uncorked and savoured here, including a Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, the former that went swimming well seafood while the latter, a drier and less sweet wine, paired fittingly with chicken dishes. "For our 2007's, we got our grapes from Washington State as we thought it was a good year. It's also a little obscure but it was a nice and familiar region to start with," says Tusar. They also sampled the 2007 Heritage blend plus a Shiraz.

Tusar says, "We only started selling commercially a few months ago so we're really just at the cusp of introducing ourselves. We just wanted to make sure our wines were ready to go, which can take some time." We can't help but agree that this is also the best time to come out of the cellar. The wine scene in Hong Kong is now booming in fine form, and the fact that we have a homegrown option is another sign of how far the local vino-culture has come.

8th Estate Winery, 3/F, Horizon Plaza, 10 Lee Hing St, Ap Lei Chau, 2518 0922; www.the8estatewinery.com. 

This video is supplied by Asiatatler.com; check out more of their stories here.

Debra Meiburg is the city's only Master of Wine. 

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