Following our last visit to Shanghai in March for the Grand Tasting, we’re back in Asia with Alexandra to promote iDealwine at the first edition of ProWine Singapore. Unlike in Shanghai, where the attendees we met were individual wine lovers, the Singapore event was open to professionals only. More than 8,000 delegates came from the region’s main countries – including Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia – to discover wines from nearly 250 exhibitors, producers, importers and distributors.
The market is still a small one, with a population of just over 5 million, but has a very strong concentration of wealth, plus dynamic growth in the wine sector. The vibrancy of the market is boosted by low import costs and relatively simple customs protocols in comparison to neighbouring countries. Singapore is becoming a real hub for the whole of Southeast Asia.
According to IWSR, consumption is expected to rise by 40% between 2008 and 2017, a rate 4.6 times greater than the worldwide increase in wine consumption – creating attractive prospects which underline our interest in the region. Of course, we aren’t the only ones to be taking an interest in Singapore, and the city-state continues to attract droves of newcomers. In addition, the market is dominated by a hundred or so local distributors, accompanied by a host of big-name English merchants with long-standing ties to Singapore.
The auction market, however, remains underdeveloped, and iDealwine’s offering gives individuals and professionals a unique, simple means of obtaining rare wines at reasonable prices. Our clients’ satisfaction with our service is evidence of our excellent growth prospects. Furthermore, consolidating our position in Singapore enables us to diversify our presence in Asia – which is currently focused strongly on Hong Kong, where we opened our representative office in 2013.
We have identified three main categories of wine consumer in Singapore:
– locals, including a number of major collectors such as Dr NK Yong, who we met last year
– expatriates, more than 15,000 of whom are French, including a number of long-standing iDealwine customers
– travellers, business tourists and individuals stopping over in Singapore and visiting major restaurants and hotels, where they are eager to sample the finest wines.
Often referred to as the « Culinary Capital of Southeast Asia », Singapore offers the best cooking traditions from around the world: Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese… and of course French too.
We’ve been able to try out a number of these bistrots and brasseries, such as Nicolas and L’Angélus. At every visit, we’ve been amazed by the ever-present bottles of fine wine on the neighbouring tables: the best vintages of Petrus, Jayer and Romanée-Conti. And of course, we weren’t just looking – at Nicolas, one of our clients invited us to experience the power of a 1990 Gruaud-Larose and the suave elegance of a 1996 Conseillante. Superb!
The show also gave us the opportunity to discover and share a wonderful selection of wines:
On the red front, a now-mature 1988 Giscours with great structure, velvety tannins and spicy tobacco notes. An iDealwine stalwart, the 2013 Cuvée des Hospices de Beaune from Louis Latour, a premier cru from Beaune’s Cuvées des Dames Hospitalières, with excellent potential for development, with cherry notes and a beautiful freshness in the mouth. Looking further south, we opened a Chateauneuf du Pape from the Domaine de Saint-Préfert – remarkably accessible for a 2012.
Turning to the whites, we opened a fantastic 2001 Chassagne-Montrachet from Olivier Leflaive: very rich, with buttery, candied fruit notes, now at its peak and with a few fine Champagne bubbles; and one of our direct sales classics, Les Murgiers from Francis Boulard, finely balanced between a distinct acidity and elegant floral notes.
As always, we couldn’t pass up the chance of a blind taste test on a few bottles, and were suitably impressed with the accuracy of a number of tasters, such as the wine lover who confidently identified the vintage and appellation of Dominique Laurent’s 1994 Gevrey-Chambertin.
The wine show season just seems to keep going, so come and meet us at the London Wine Fair from 3 to 5 May (professionals only), and at the Revue du Vin de France show in Paris on 20 and 21 May!
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