Meet Alva who joined the iDealwine team in March 2019. She is based in our office in Hong Kong, where she takes care of our Asia-based clients. We asked Alva to tell us more about how her wine journey. In the following interview, Alva shares how she got into wine and her tastes when it comes to reading a wine menu.
Tell us more about yourself and your journey into wine.
I was born in Hong Kong and grew up here. I studied science around food and bacteria as the major of my diploma. Once I’d finished my studies, I went to Australia, where I lived for two years with a working holiday visa. I worked in bars and restaurants and travelled around Australia and New Zealand. It was in Australia that I first became interested in wine; in my family, it is not common for females to drink wine but here it was a common social activity. I was immediately fascinated after trying wine.
When I came back to Hong Kong in 2014, I decided to work in the wine industry. It was during those years that one of my clients – now a good friend – encouraged me to study for the WSET. I passed the WSET Level 3 and Level 4. In September 2023, I will start a 3-years masters degree in international wine management. I’m really excited to study again.
What do you like about working at iDealwine?
I enjoy working at iDealwine because it’s an open-minded company which welcomes ideas than can improve customer experiences and how the company functions. My expereince in the field helps my work and the company and allows me to continuously expand my horizons. I also like that this job has given me the opportunity to travel to other cities and countries for wine trade fairs. Up to now, I have been to China, Singapore and South Korea and I hope to visit other places in the future. Something else this job has given me is the chance to learn about French culture by visiting France every year to join team-building activites. I also enjoy meeting clients, who help me discover the world of wine from a different angle.
What bottle sparked your love of wine?
The first bottle of wine that sparked my interest was an Australian port. It was sweet with plentiful flavours, such as almond, orange peel, fig and liquorice. It was delicious and I’ve had a passion for wine since then.
Your most pleasant surprise in terms of wine?
My most pleasant surprise was a 1990 Comtes de Champagne from Taittinger; from the first sip I was absolutely stunned. I didn’t know old vintage Champagne could taste like that: it was still super fresh – so fresh, still with vibrant acidity, and energetic bubbles; I was surprised by how young it seemed.
I tasted it back in 2018, so the wine may have changed by now but this first experence was very beautiful.
Your favourite region?
After having tried so many wines during my career in the wine industry, my favourite region is Burgundy. The wines produced there differ village to village. There’s no other place that produces such a variety of wine styles within just one region, it’s unique. I fell in love with the delicious aromas of Burgundian Pinot Noir with a soft spot for the Chambolle-Musigny appellation. The expression of the terroir, which is so important in Burgundy, is what I’m adoring right now.
What is the style of wine you prefer the most?
I’m interested in red wines that have finesse and freshness. I particularly like wines that have been aged for around five years and so have matured for a period of time, to develop the flavours and soften the tannins and acidity.
Your favourite red wine?
I’ve always been fond of wines from Chambolle Musigny. However, there is a bottle of red wine from Volnay that I like very much. It is Volnay Premier Cru Taillepieds from Domaine de Montille. It is a wonderful bouquet of red fruits, a very balanced body and a mineral finish.
What is your favourite white wine?
My favourite white wine is the Meursault from Coche-Dury, one of the most reputed producers of Côte de Beaune Chardonnay. I like the complexity and purity of its aromas, its rich minerality and its refreshing acidity.
What are your drinking habits?
I enjoy drinking with my friends. Wine is a drink made for sharing with others and I definitely feel that it’s impossible to discover the full potential of a wine if you drink it alone.
Which wines do you dream of tasting?
A Romanee-Conti Grand Cru from Domaine de la Romanee-Conti, for sure! As a big fan of Burgundy, this is definitely a wine that I dream of tasting.
Domains which you’ve visited?
This year, I visited the Champagne house Leclerc Briant. The winery interested me because they have done a number of experiments with different ageing containers, sandstone, oak, and titanium. The way they take care of their wines is equally impressive. It was fascinating to see first-hand how biodynamic methods are used. I hope to learn more about this subject.