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Our Gentil 2013 on ANA Business Class


Download the high definition flyer in PDF format here


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The Summergate Riesling Revolution tour of China

A Riesling revolution has just swept across China! Peter Barry of Jim Barry Wines, Etienne Hugel of the Hugel family, and Ernst Loosen of Dr Loosen  have joined forces with their importer and distributor Summergate, to challenge the reign of red wine in China. All through the week, the group conducted tastings, master classes, and media events across the region to celebrate the greatness of Riesling in all its many styles. The tour started in Macau, and moved on to the cities of Xiamen in Fujian province, and Chengdu in Sichuan province, followed by gala events in Shanghai, finally culminating in the capital city of Beijing on Saturday April 12th.

"We are championing Riesling as a spearhead of the white wine revolution in China. There is no better way to break China's red obsession than our Riesling Revolution tour with this trio of Riesling magicians" said Summergate founder and General Manager Ian Ford. "I expect our sales of Riesling to much more than double in the months and years ahead" said Ford.

China has been known for years as a red wine market, highlighted in the recent film "Red Obsession". The IWSR recently stated that China is now the largest red wine consuming nation on earth, at an estimated 1.86 billion bottles including domestic production.

"Summergate together with these three great producers are the first to take a huge step forward in promoting and celebrating Riesling and white wine, on a large scale, across this country" said Ford.

The "Riesling Revolution" tour climaxed in Beijing on Saturday April 12th, highlighted by a Riesling tasting review from all three producers, and a gala dinner with the Capital's top wine enthusiasts.

For the Hugel family, a solid presence in Asia dates back to the 1950's and now covers virtually every country in the region. Mainland China is clearly now the latest challenge.

With a website in 4 Asian languages, the simplified Chinese website has just been enriched with detailed product descriptions for the wines featured on this tour: Riesling Hugel 2012 and Riesling Jubilee 2007.

The above selection of photos our the Summergate Riesling Revolution tour can be found here https://www.flickr.com/photos/123206995@N05/sets/72157643938707823/

More details on http://www.summergate.com


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150th anniversary of Alsace Japan relations

Delighted to be part of this event, on March 21, also with our wines, organized by the CEEJA in Kientzheim, in presence of his Excellency M. Komatsu Ichiro, Ambassadeur du Japon en France, M. Philippe Richert, Président du Conseil Régional d'Alsace, M. Charles Buttner, Président du Conseil Général du Haut-Rhin and M. Hasegawa Susumu, Consul Général du Japon à Strasbourg.

For our part, it is a presence in Japan since the 1950's, a partner importer Jeroboam and a website in their language. Gambate Japan, Nihon gadaiski


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Hugel featured in DISCOVERY MAGAZINE on board Cathay Pacific


Nice story by Patrick Garrett who returns to the places visited by his grandfather in the late 50's. 

Some very nice comments: "Alsatian towns and villages are a joy to behold; romantic, picture-perfect, like something from a fairy tale. The walled town of Riquewihr is often referred to as The Pearl of Alsace. "Here," Grandpa had written, "one walks straight back into the past." For me, Riquewihr was a must-see not only for its historic streets and abundant floral displays but also because it is home to the internationally renowned winemaker Hugel & Fils."

More "Hugel featured in DISCOVERY MAGAZINE on board Cathay Pacific" »


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Myanmar a land of pure Gold


ပြည်ထောင်စု သမ္မတ မြန်မာနိုင်ငံတော် Myanmar remains an absolute mystery, even to the well travelled and continues to fascinate. How rightly so. 
In just a month this amazing Asian country seems at last to capture the attention of the World community. Time to go !
A recent first visit to Yangon, Mandalay, to the Inle lake and to amazing Bagan has been an eye opener. A country of culture and people with rich intricate layers like gold leaves offered to thousands of Buddhas over centuries.
... and Hugel wines, certainly not a top priority to the vast majority of its inhabitants are now also available in Myanmar via its virtual sole importer: Quarto Products. Managing partner Renato Buhlmann and his team went out of their way for this launch visit. There is even now a Hugel brochure in Myanmar language


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In Singapore from February 1-6


Back after less than a month... must be something special about this city/state !

Main reason is our new distribution arrangements with Monopole, Michael Chong and his team and a series of events, Hugel wine dinner at Mandarin Oriental's Dolce Vita on February 2. Details with menu and bookings here

Then moving to the ship that has changed the Singapore skyline, and seeing many top sommeliers at some of their signature restaurants, many of them seen at Dr NK Yong's Celebration 85 just the previous month...

Time also to catch up with journalist friends and thank Julian Teoh for the January issue of Flavours magazine which just featured an excellent story on Hugel written by Singaporean upcoming wine writer. Julian just visited us right into our latest vintage and shared with his readers an nice insight of a visit to a vintner right into action.


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Back to Malaysia


Almost 5 years since last visiting Kuala Lumpur and what a change here too !
Mr Gwee and his team of Muihua had taken the trouble to visit our Vinexpo Bordeaux stand last June so had promised to visit again when next in the region. 

More "Back to Malaysia" »


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Tuna cutting show in Tokyo with celebrity chef and actor

... with famous Japanese actor Hiroki Matsukata holding a bottle of our Riesling Jubilee 2005


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Visit to Korea, Winetime well beyond kimchi and BBQ...

The vision and passion of a man for wine in his country that is changeing forever the vinous landscape of Korea...
Nobody has done more for wine appreciation and education in Korea than Mr Hi-Sang Lee, chairman of wine importer Nara Cellar... amongst many other activities...
A few days in Seoul has convinced the Hugel scion that similar success our wines enjoy all across Asia is due to hit Korea. Podo Plaza is a cult place for wine in Asia and in the hands of Minwoo Lee and Lee Jae Eun the word for Hugel is due to spead quickly, assisted by our newly revamped Korean website.
Full photo report of the 3 days visit below, with captions on the top of each picture...

Hugel | Korea_2011 | 640x640 | Plein écran | Wine Media Library


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Visit to the Sendai area, wine for helping healing the souls...

We all still have in memories the pictures of devastation, including those of the flooded Sendai airport... Japan gets back to normal at an impressive pace but now we all have the duty to support their amazing nation by our presence and wine is obviously a good vehicle.
With Shoko-san and Onoue-san of Jeroboam we made the journey by train, whose tracks had been closed for a month and which passes just on the edge of the 20 km zone around the damaged Fukushima nuclear plant. Reading an article on the train in the Japan Times of the day made the journey even more emotionnal...
On the agenda of the day, trade lunch for local sommeliers at Hotel Metropole Sendai Restaurant Serenity (sic...) tasting at longtime client Bouchon fine wine house and wine dinner with 28 guests at Restaurant Chef part of a promotion "Sendai Happy Week". Very happy to have had the presence of the editor and journalist of the local bi-monthly magazine Kappo which should report on our dinner.
The smiles on the faces of each guests and restaurants staff said Mission Accomplished !
Foreigners, visitors and expats, what Japan needs now most is YOU.

Hugel | Sendai | 640x640 | Plein écran | Wine Media Library


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Market visit to Tokyo 10 weeks after, Gambatte Japan !

A full pictures report from a few days in Tokyo, just about 10 weeks after March 11.
First part with good friends François Bannier and Gregory Hecht of Hecht & Bannier and the fantastic team of Jeroboam for their seasonnal trade tasting. Hugel wine dinner at BEIGE Alain Ducasse, lunch at Mitsuwa-Ginza with media Blogger Fumiko Aoki, instore tasting and bottle signing at Tokyu Honten followed by JFWC Party at Biervana. Attending was Mika Walker who I had seen with her husband in Bombay last Frebruary. Check Mika's Bog, Mika was runner-up Miss Universe 1995...
Tuesday, some staff training at the newly moved Tokyo American Club and Hugel wine dinner at ARGO, restaurant français.
Nihon Gadaiski, Gambatte Japan !

Hugel | Tokyo_2011 | 640x640 | Plein écran | Wine Media Library


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A very moving visit to Japan, southern cities report

Photos added as the market visit proceeded, starting May 23 in Osaka, Kobe, Fukuoka, Nagoya, Tokyo (special separate report), Sendai and Miyazaki to finally return to Tokyo.
This long planned visit was first to last a week but because of the events, a 2 full weeks were spent in this market were Hugel wines have been successfully present for over 60 years. It included a very moving day in Sendai (special separate report), in the areas affected by the March 11 quake and tsunami. First week with good friends François Bannier and Gregory Hecht of Hecht & Bannier and the fantastic team of Jeroboam.
One final day in southern city of Miyasaki organised by Jeroboam's Tatsuya Amitani with events in association with Yoshino Saketen soon reported on their Blog.
Gambatte Japan !

Hugel | Japan_May_2011 | 640x640 | Plein écran | Wine Media Library


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Japan, we love you and want to support you. Gambatte !


Just could not resist posting the message above our Japanese importer Jeroboam sent out this very morning, March 17 to its private customers. An even more moving letter was sent out on March 18. A must read which tells more about Japan than any Western media tells us...
It seems the further away from the devastated area people are the more worried they get. We, like the whole World admire you (except perhaps the Fukushima nuclear plant operator).
Help Japan 


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In China, Hangzhou now rhymes with Hugel

A 3rd visit in just over a year to a city I have to confess I had never heard of just a couple of years ago...
The very last 4 days of this Asian marathon has simply been the most eye opening of the striving pace of changes in China's top hospitality sector.
A couple days weekend in Shanghai, staying at the gorgeous as ever Puli and then a high speed journey to the amazing scenic and striving city of Hangzhou, now just 40' by train from Shanghai vs 2 hours a couple of years ago !
Following last December's Shangri-La roadshow trade dinner that were attended by both Dutch GM friends of the local Four Seasons and Intercontinental hotels. The latest adition to the collection of China's finest hotel properties.
With the orchestration of Summergate's Hangzhou bureau chief Grace Ling, I was "shared" between equally gracious and generous GM hosts, Ruud van Dijk of Four Seasons Hangzhou Westlake, its amazing location and a must see Spa and the following day by the new city landmark, golden bowl spaceship Intercontinental Hangzhou with longtime Hugel supporter GM Rob Spiekerman who both treated the Hugel scion like China's latest Emperor !
Another sign of the booming hospitality sector is the opening of independant restaurants such as Yee Chino with 160 seats including some exquisite private rooms...
A selection of pictures of these intense events are to be found below, with descriptions on the upper part of each photo. Enjoy and book your flight !

Hugel | China 2011 | 640x640 | Plein écran | Wine Media Library


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4 cities roadshow in Taiwan

Another hugely busy and successfull week with Jessie FANG's Leading Brands team, wine dinners, staff trainings, consumer tastings, visit to Taiwanese iconic Din Tai Fung and even this year a lecture to the University of Hospitality and Tourism of Kaohsiung.
Expert and state of the art translation by Paul Peng Wang using our new Traditionnal Chinese brochure and introducing our soon to be available website in traditionnal chinese (currently still in simplified chinese)
The chopsticks' favourite wines
are gently making their way in Taiwan too...

Hugel | 2011 Taiwan | 640x640 | Plein écran | Wine Media Library


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Back to amazing Thailand

Despite the small size of the market due to a record high level of import taxes, we remain committed to our presence here with a relationship with our local importer Italthai that goes back over 30 years.

Our brand new E-brochure in Thaï has just been made available in Thaï language for an event in Bangkok's newly opened Sivatel with high attendance of trade, press and VIP's including a member of the Royal family.

Hugel | Thailand 2011 | 640x640 | Wine Media Library


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Incredible India ! our wines are for you and your cuisine...

Nice press articles followed this visit in Sommelier India, Show Buzz, and in
The Hindu online, south India's N°1 daily as well as their Metro Plus paper issue

A huge THANK YOU to Ramiah Daniels General Manager and the team of The LaLiT Ashok


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Wine Story, chapter 2 of the Hugel story in Manila

Delighted to return this year to Manila just a couple of months after the opening of the second Wine Story outlet, this time in Manila's Serendra shopping area. Owner and wine lover Romeo SIA has also now displayed our wines in all of his Healthy Options stores. On the agenda this year staff training, bottle signing, press lunch / interviews, trade and consumer events with Romy and his dedicated (and charming) team...

This second state of the art
Wine Story outlet (and website) remains dedicated to excellence in and around wines. No efforts have been spared, from design, wine by the glass Enomatic, wine books and a selection of wines that is truly IMPRESSIVE for this emergeing market with many close friends' wines well represented.

See below a selection of photos taken during this quick visit.

Hugel | Manila 2011 | 640x640 | Wine Media Library


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Back to fantastic Vietnam, continiuing a frienship affair


Back to Vietnam for the second year in a row with longtime friend Thomas Duroux, CEO of Château Palmer and the team of importer Tankhoa and retail outlets Bacchus Corner to renew aquaintances to our respective wines through a series of perfectly orchestrated events in Hanoi, Nha Trang, HCM city (Saigon) and in solo in Phan Thiet. See last year's detailed report here

Great use was also made of our new E-brochure in Vietnamese so our wines can also speak to the local community who's interest in wines is gowing at a rapid pace, just like the whole country.

Below is a selection of pictures of these exciting days

Hugel | 2011_Vietnam | 640x640 | Wine Media Library


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Back to Singapore with more social wine net... working (hard)



It just gets better with age, just like friendship...

Journalist friend Jenny Tan and husband Charles Lim, this year helped our wine & Asian food gathering at Thion Bahru, just like she did last year (see report)

This year, extra friends joined the brunch, including Edwin Soon, author of the acclaimed book Pairing Wine with Asian Food, Singapore Airlines' Air sommeliers Gerard Ee and colleague Reggie, chocolate expert Dieter Speer of ADM cocoa and despite beeing now well into his 80's, Dr NK YONG whose celebration 80 a few years back remains forever an unforgettable ode to joy.

This year, your "vintner vlogger" came with adequate gear for this report, posted on Youtube... more to follow in the coming days, depending on Johan's promptness;-) Blog on ! 

... and by the way, you may want to accustom yourself with Singlish...



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Shangri-La roadshow part 3, Ningbo and Hangzhou

At the occasion of the launch of a two years' promotion of our Gentil by the glass at all the Shangri-La Hotel of Mainland China. Staff trainings, trade events and dinners in 10 cities... in 10 days ! Organised with the great support of Summergate, our greater China agents. Well worth having a new Chinese website for the occasion;-) Gentil Hugel, what else ?

Pictures of Hangzhou and Ningbo, the last two cities of this wine marathon from December 5 to 14, 2010

Hugel | SL part 3 | 640x640 | Wine Media Library


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Shangri-La roadshow part 2, Beijing charity event

At the occasion of the launch of a two years' promotion of our Gentil by the glass at all the Shangri-La Hotel of Mainland China. Staff trainings, trade events and dinners in 10 cities... in 10 days ! Organised with the great support of Summergate, our greater China agents. Well worth having a new Chinese website for the occasion;-) Gentil Hugel, what else ?

Pictures of the memorable Beijing series of events of this wine marathon from December 5 to 14, 2010

Hugel | SL part 2 | 640x640 | Wine Media Library


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Shangri-La 10 cities roadshow in China

At the occasion of the launch of a two years' promotion of our Gentil by the glass at all the Shangri-La Hotel of Mainland China. Staff trainings, trade events and dinners in 10 cities... in 10 days ! Organised with the great support of Summergate, our greater China agents. Well worth having a new Chinese website for the occasion;-) Gentil Hugel, what else ?

Pictures of the first 5 cities of this wine marathon from December 5 to 14, 2010

Hugel | SH_Roadshow | 640x640 | Wine Media Library


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Elegant Hong Kong handover


After 60 years of presence for our wines in Hong Kong, time has come for us to take the "global view" of the greater Chinese market by handing over in possibly the most elegant way the responsability for our wines to Christophe Pointaux and his team at Summergate Hong Kong.

The highlight of the various events was a tasting of SGN Gewurztraminers generously hosted at the Peninsula's Felix restaurant and co-presented by the ever charming Debra Meiburg M.W.


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World Expo Shanghai, part of history in the making


Having witnessed over the last few visits to Shanghai the amazing build-up for which the city was preparing itself, World Expo 2010 is another demonstration of China's emergence. This visit took place on day 15 but Expo will be open until late November.

There is no question that the China pavilion is the star, high above all others on its own ground, but having our wine served on the French pavilion, we were quite happy to queue for just about an hour to get access. Located right next to the mighty German stand
, France plays the green card, nature, quality of life and French "savoir vivre" which seems to fascinate the local visitors, the French pavilion receiving on this day some 70 000 visitors ! A small tip to visitors of the French Pavilion, to avoid the long queue, just go through the access to the Sens restaurant and go straight into action.

But what a pleasant surprise to have the honour of being welcomed by Jacques Pourcel in person, on the one and only French restaurant on the fair. Les frères Pourcel were amongst the first to set foot in Shanghai with their Sens and Bund. And how not to be proud to taste a glass of Gentil side by side with eau de Perrier, due to the great efforts of Summergate, our Chinese importer.

The green theme chosen by France for its pavilion absolutely fits the organisers' slogan "Better city, better life" but its content is also a showcase for its financial contributors, from Citroën to Michelin, the Musée d'Orsay and the ever global Louis Vuitton. The proof of Bernard Arnault's integration of E-marketing, the presence of a couple of laptop computers allowing visitors interested in their products to register online and be added to their Emailing list. With the current boom of E-commerce in China they will certainly one day be purchasing handbags from virtual stores and why not one day, a bottle of château Cheval Blanc or d'Yquem...

As expected, this first Chinese World Expo takes place under tight security of the local police, probably the one aspect of China that has least changed in decades !

No time gets wasted in China, and while all infrastructures are well in place in Shanghai for their World Expo demonstration, newly built hotels are now running at full capacity. The Puli now buzzing with guests remains on the top of their art of Asian urban resort concept. It seems the whole city of Shanghai and especially the hospitality sector is taking advantage of the Expo boost. La Lé wine bar just opened last week and Hugel is there also well into place, and our wines are in very good company. If you drop in for a glass, say hello for me to the managing partner Mindy Chu.




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With our new dreamteam in Manila


It seems that for us, as for many vintners alike, the market in the Philippines was slightly off the radar of all the fast emerging Asian economies. As far as our wines were concerned, we had had no real presence in this market for well over a decade.

During the last edition of Vinexpo in Bordeaux, we had the pleasure of welcoming the visit of wine lover Romeo Sia who showed great interest in taking in his hands the destiny of our wines in his country. With great determination and efficiency, a first order was placed and shipped. Part of the new partnership agreement was a market visit to launch the wines.

Manila was therefore added to the already long list of countries on this tour. Staff training press lunch / interviews and visiting several Healthy Options stores that were until now the main activity of Romy and his dedicated team... Yet there is one project that has recently been on Romeo's mind: opening Wine Story in Manila's top shopping location. This state of the art space dedicated to excellence in and around wines will certainly put Manila on the global wine map. No efforts have been spared, from design, state of the art by the glass dispender, wine books and a tasting room that would rival those of long established London wine merchants !

Best of luck Romeo and all your enthusiastic and now fully trained dream team, you will at last be putting Manila on the wine map.    



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A journey to Vietnam with a Palmer escort


What better life can there be than blending business with friendship and pleasure ? In just a few days, Thomas Duroux, CEO of Château Palmer and the team of our Vietnamese agents Tankhoa have multiplied the exposure to our respective wines through a series of perfectly orchestrated events in Hanoi and HCM city (Saigon)

In just 3 days, we met in Hanoi with the staff of Bacchus Corner for a staff training session of the enthusiastic team supervised by Baldwin Jehanno. Thomas and I were greeted by the entire team of the Métropole Hanoi, first of the new series of the Sofitel Legend flagship brand. GM Kai Speth
can be proud of his F&B team, Carl Gagnon, Charles Demange and their colleagues. The gala dinner was not only outstanding but also full of surprises, a bathtub used to chill down the wines had to be tested just prior to the dinner for photographic purposes and also to put us all in good spirit... The joint Palmer - Hugel dinner ended-up in good spirit (our 45° Framboise was served) and some of the local attendants even started a karaoke... in pure Vietnamese tradition ;-)

Next day was spent in Saigon, the economical capital of Vietnam. In the headquarter city of our importer Tankhoa, Dongkoi and ever efficient (and charming) assistant Nhu greeted us with the team of their retail outlet Bacchus Corner that has experienced a serious facelift since the last visit. The day's gala dinner was at centrally located Caravelle Hotel with guest chef Jean Baptiste Natali at the piano. Jean Baptiste runs l'hostellerie La Montagne, the Michelin starred restaurant next to the Mémorial Charles de Gaulle in Colombey les deux églises. The sold out event saw 65 happy gusts enjoying the carefully decanted wines of Château Palmer, including the 1990 vintage and ending-up with our Gewurztraminer SGN 2005, all specially airfreighted for the event. Good friend and ambassador for Hugel wines Eric Simard attended the dinner with his wife Nadège that took the photo of the "dream team" on
THE yellow Lambretta whose developing story has been featured on our Blog since 2007 and updated for the 3rd time...

Following Thomas Duroux's departure some more relaxing work took place, a most memorable boatride on the Saigon river organised by Hugel client Madlen Ernest that runs with her father Bonsai river cruise and uses Gentil on board their two ships. Some genuine  
local food after all the French wining & dining. Chef Jean Baptiste Natali giving a finishing touch to the seafood soup with a splash of our Riesling. We still enjoyed the rest of the bottle even so we had to use teacups to drink the wine... The boatride with Dongkoi and Nhu and the scooter ride thereafter will leave ever lasting memories of a visit to a country in rapid evolution but where the inhabitants show a sense of hospitality rarely seen elsewhere in Asia.

Never been to Vietnam ? Call your travel agent right now ! Eric Simard's Victoria hotels are saving a room for you !


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A dinner with friends at Melina and NK Yong


A visit to Singapore would not be complete without seeing longtime friends Melina and NK Yong. The memories are still vivid of NK's celebration 80...

This time Hugel wines were partnered with Château Palmer with its CEO and close friend Thomas Duroux  who had sent for the occasion some very special wines, of which his Historic Blend (as in the past, Clarets were "Hermitagés" by the adition of some Northern Rhône fleshy syrah). The menu was, as ever, simply spectacular.

No fewer that 35 friends were gathered for the occasion at Melina and NK's home, with guests spreaded around two impressive tables, the senior members at the head table and, waiting patiently for their "upgrade" one day, the junior table... Guest list included Shangri-La's new Hotel Manager
Thomas Schmitt-Glaeser. NK's cellar, part of it only lying in Singapore includes a rare bottle of 
1865 Palmer which is not even found at the châteaux cellar...

My very first experience dining at at Melina and NK's home goes back almost 20 years with the very missed Gérard Jaboulet. He had "warned" me that the best meal he had ever had in Singapore came out of Melina's kitchen. This still remains true to me until today. Its most gracious and generous host also remains a very special person with a huge heart called NK.
Thank you both for your continued friendship.


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In Taipei there is 101 and Jessie !


Taipei may not be the most amazing Asian city in terms of scenery even so Taipei 101 is the architectual pride of the city but its charm is elsewhere. Because of its history and the fact that in 1949 many nationalists joined the island from the Mainland, it offers one of the most diverse melting pot in all of China.

In the wine trade like in many business sectors the drive is in the hands of dynamic female entrepreneurs. Jessie Fang is one them and one of a kind, respected and connected like very few women in this elsewhere male dominated sector. Leading Brands is also a leader in educating Taiwanese to fine wines and certainly fully committed to ours, in a market still heavily influenced by the Gambei culture (thanks Mark for your article)

On the first evening of my arrival, Jessie gave me a memorable tour of the gastronomic street scene of Taipei, having previously double decanted a rare bottle of Argentinian icon wine Nicolas of Catena Zapata enjoyed with adequate glassware between the stalls, with a surprising "menu degustation" of duck from neck to nozzle. Even so wine consumption is growing rapidly here as elsewhere in Asia, wine is not yet in the scope of street eaters as we could notice from people passing by...

On the agenda of this 3 days visit, a lunch at dim sum specialist Din Tai Fung that is one of Taiwan's eating institution, dumplings are all prepared in front of the guests and ordered by ticking a form exclusively available in Chinese, the assistance of a local is therefore highly recommended... but juicy pork dumplings remain my absolute favourite ! In the afternoon, a trade tasting for wholesalers and wine lovers with a presentation in Traditionnal Chinese updated in record time by Sammy, Jessie's competant and dynamic assistant (pictured above right) followed by a dinner with some close GM friends.

On the last day, some visits of retail shops with Vincent, some within department stores, including Dean & Deluca and the familiar Costco with its popular eating corner whose menu includes a local version of pizza with Peking duck ! Jessie and her entire team does a fantastic job for the distribution of our wines in a market where white wines account for just 10% of the total wine sales.

The evening dinner was no less memorable, with a traditionnal Chinese new year banquet dinner menu including a succulent local version of pork shank with the pairing in a local traditionnal restaurant of our wines for a group of friendly and enthusiast members of the press. Our white wines did make us all happy !

Mission accomplished Jessie, thanks to you and all your great team !


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China's awakening, white (or golden ;-) wines makes you happy !


The pace of economic growth in China of 10% in a depressed World economic context looks very conservative when looking at the boom in the hospitality sector. Following Beijing with its Olympics, the focus is now clearly on Shanghai with the upcoming World Expo.

There seems to be no limit to new hotel openings, such as the Peninsula, perpetuating the standarts of excellence of its Hong Kong flagship property... only 2 Rolls Royces for the moment in front of the Shanghai hotel, but a quick walk on Nanjing Road and its amazing shopping centers shows the direction the city is taking: luxury brands are all there, loved the sign Dior opening soon, not far from the Ferrari dealership...

On the program of my visit, other than Shanghai, trade tastings in the booming city of Shenzhen where China's economic boom all started during Deng Xiao Ping's presidency, then Guangzhou (Canton) which will soon see the opening of the first Alsace restaurant called Alsace Village with Christophe Bilde and his brother in charge and soon to be a Hugel ambassadors in the city. A 4th city was the peaceful and scenic Hangzhou on the lake with a dinner event at the newly opened Plaza Royale hosted at their Thaï restaurant that opened just 4 days earlier !

There seems to be no limit to the apetite to grow in China and wines are indeed part if this growth. Yet, for many Chinese, wine is almost synonimous to red wine so our main challenge and focus now with our Chinese agents Summergate is to educate on the pairing of the "Chopstick's favourite wines" with Chinese gastronomy. A very encourageing sign is Shangri-La, one of the leader in the industry trying to establish its Shang Palace or Summer Palace chinese restaurants as their flagship restaurants. In Hong Kong's Island Shangri-La their restaurant was awarded ** Michelin !

Back to Shanghai for a few relaxing days in the latest opened ***** hotels, member of Leading Hotels of the World, the urban resort of The Puli, with a most relaxing stay in a such a vibrant city. From Martijn the GM to all the staff including Frenchman Cédric Martin all the team of the Puli went out of their way to make each guest feel they are their most important customer. This was certainly the case for Summergate's Dieter Grün's GM friends that we had the pleasure to entertain.

Can there be any better profession than making people happy ? We are an important part of the hospitality equation, wine is an essential part and offers its adequate "lubricant" properties ;-)

A quick walk through the traditionnal parts of Shanghai is another eye opener, revealing the amazings contrast between tradition and modernity, playing table tennis on a recycled door with a very solid net !

Off to Taiwan with at last direct flights to the island which clearly understands its interest to increase its ties with its mainland neighbour. More on that visit shortly...


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Enjoying Singlish and hawker center lifestyle


See the great article by Jenny in Singapore's Sunday Times the following weekend: Alsace meets Asia and also a nice report on Daniel Chia's blog

The city state of Singapore is unique in many respects. From overseas some may just know a sanitized opulent city which forbids the chewing of gums...

Singapore offers much more including some hidden treasures very much enjoyed by the locals. One of Singapore's amazing hospitality is also found in its multi cultural food scene right next to some of the best in the hospitality business, from airline to some of the World's finest hotels. One facet not to be missed is what they call Hawker Centers. Just had one of the best (and most charming) guide, local and fast growing local wine authority Jenny Tan (pictured above with friend Daniel Chia)

Jenny Tan is an independent wine writer, who contributes to the weekly wine review column for The Straits Times, the national newspaper. Born and bred in Singapore, she also works on the wine pages for several magazines in the region, such as The Edge, Appetite and Silverkris. Her next project: a wine blog catered for the growing Asian market. She is amongst the who's who of some the World's finest wine writers for Wine Business International

Some of these open air eateries are known and visited by tourists, but some are well kept secrets and need some local guidance such as Tiong Bahru market. Popular stalls include the pig's organ soup, and the roast meats but as we were there for brunch we settled for chwee kueh, raw fish salad and congee amongst others. Very hard to make a choice with such a wide variety od specialyies so patience is usually rewarded, the longer queues are an excellent indication... No luxury there, the tables are cleared in efficient style but what an explosion of TASTE ! No wine yet on offer (other than BYO) but in Singapore, things do change quickly and wine is fast becoming part of the local way of life.

One last tip, from Jenny herself, in preparation for your visit, you may like to acustom yourself with Singlish... I am willing to take courses ;-) Merci Jenny ! 


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Primum Familiae Vini events at Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts

A first report of photo compilations of the gala dinners posted on Youtube

The Hong Kong part of the Wine event of the Year with Island Shangri-La

And the Japanese gala dinner with the Tokyo Shangri-La


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A moving few days at VINEXPO

For us, Vinexpo 2009 will long remain a strong symbol of continuity, with some very moving moments and countless words of sympathy from our importers, colleagues, journalists or just friends of the family.
Following Jean Hugel's recent death, all our visitors were pleased to meet the two "youngsters" of the next - 13th - generation, Jean Frédéric and Marc André Hugel, both aged 20, who took a working break from their studies for a first step up the ladder of our family business.
We were happily almost swamped by visits from our importers - almost 70% of our international contacts attended Vinexpo - not to mention numerous journalists and friends, some bearing excellent news for the future. But we were above all touched by the immense wave of sympathy for our sad loss.
A special mention must be made about the Asian lunch on  Wednesday 24th June. Our friend the journalist Simon TAM flew in specially from Hong Kong, bringing the most delicious dim sum dumplings, deep frozen Xiao Long Bao, a Shanghai speciality impossible to find in Europe, accompanied by succulent fresh mangoes brought over by another friend, our importer for India Sanjay Menon, recently named by Decanter Magazine as one of the 50 most important people in the international wine world.
As usual, our days were fully occupied, but also our evenings, including a dinner at Château Mouton-Rothschild at Philippine's invitation, in the company of all the national presidents of the International Union of Sommeliers. There was also a less formal, relaxed, festive evening at Château Palmer, at the table of its director, our friend Thomas Duroux, with producer colleagues from all over France.
The final day was marked by a moment of emotion, when two great friends of "uncle Johnny" came to pay their respects : John Avery MW, with his daughter Mimi, and Liliane Barton, daughter of Anthony Barton, also accompanied by her daughter.
The world of wine is, without any shadow of a doubt, the warmest and friendliest networking system in existence  ;-)
It was an exceptional Vinexpo for us, from all points of view, despite family sadness and the miserable economic climate.
Please see our Vinexpo 2009 gallery for photo highlights


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In yellow livery with Victoria friend in Vietnam


Above picture taken on January 26, 2010 in Saigon with friends Eric Simard and Dong Khoi...

The story is just too nice not to be told...

It all starts in late 2006 when former Auberge de l'Ill employee, Franco-Vietnamese Eric Simard contacts us from Vietnam asking if we were interested to start establishing distribution in his distant Indochina market. Eric now head of Victoria hotels obviously knows the various importers and recommends Franco-Vietnamese Dong Khoi of leading importer Tan Khoa.

No later than two months later, our wines were launched in Vietnam with both of our friend involved. The above center picture was taken in January 2007 with Eric on his yellow Lambretta whose colour is exactly that of our labels... In Vietnam most transports happen on two wheels, including sometimes deliveries as on above right photo with Tan Khoa's boss taken in January 2008 on second market visit. My reaction: Eric, it would be so nice if you, our Hugel ambassador had our logo added to your yellow Lambretta.

And here we go, above is Eric Simard's Lambretta reunion with his two wine friends driven by our "Vienamese ambassador". Needless to say that Hugel wines are to be found at Victoria hotels.

This World of wines is really a very special one, where friendship blends so nicely into our lives and memories. CHEERS and THANKS !


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In Japan with Serge Dubs, the Word's best sommelier


Yet another trip to Japan, this time with the support of our good friend Serge Dubs in cooperation with our local partner agent Jeroboam.

On the agenda this time, a large scale tasting for members of the Japanese Sommelier Association with a record attendance of 320 top sommeliers that came to taste no less than 8 rieslings from our domaine with the authoritive comments of the Best Sommelier in the World 1989.

Another highlight of this visit was a dinner in Nagoya where our friends of the Haeberlin family just opened a year ago an Auberge de l'Ill together with Monsieur Hiramatsu, keeping intact the symbol of their celebrated HH. Another Auberge de l'Ill is due to open this time in Tokyo, the city with most Michelin starred restaurants in the World. Their partnership may in due course challenge Château Robuchon that was just awarded *** Michelin.

The remaining part of this week long stay was visits to clients, winemaker dinners and tutored tastings organised by our importer centered on a Hugel X Asian Cuisine promotion which enjoys a great success.

On the agenda of the last day of this week long stay is a visit to Enoteca with a warm and generous welcome by Hirose-san before a quick stop with some bottle signing at Dean and DeLuca conveniently located in the Tokyo mid-town shopping center. Our wines are currently featured at both of these prestigious retail outlets.

Discover a slideshow of pictures of this visit.



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The Hugel chopstick holders


What better launch could there be for a new wine related marketing initiative than Vinexpo ? If success is measured by the number of visitors on one's stand and by the buzz generated we cannot be too far from success as proved above on the short video clip featured on graperadio.com

You will also find here a selection of some of the most memorable moments on our dedicated photo gallery 

At a daily lunchtime Asian buffet on our stand we presented our new  chopstick holder, an original idea created with the help of our supplier of DIAM. The idea came a few months earlier during an informal Chinese lunch in Taiwan in the company of the owner and staff of our new local importer. In the course of lunch Jessie Fang of prominent importer Leading Brands took one of our cork to support her chopsticks on the table. The idea was born and executed with enthusiasm and efficiency by Jessie and her team.

In order to support this innovative initiative, we have asked our local communication agency to design a supporting document which, with our importers help, is now available in high definition PDF in A5 formats in the following languages: English, French, simplified Chinese , Traditional Chinese (Taiwan), Cantonese (Hong Kong)Japanese, Vietnamese, German, Italian  and Dutch. The wide variety of languages now available is a demonstration of the warm reception by most of our importer.

The chopstick holders will start to be available from the end of August on in the following language versions: English/French, English/Chinese and English/Japanese. They will be presented in elegant individual yellow boxes. Each cork will carry the bilingual message "The Chopsticks' favourite wines". We have every hope that this will help the further distribution of our wines in many Asian restaurants, in Asia and elsewhere.

This page will be open to receive the feedback from our importers and clients or just consumers. Blog on !



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Let our wines take you on a journey to Asia


It is a fact, " world food " and " fusion cuisine " become more and more part of our eating habits and seduce more and more gastronomes the world over. For too long, Asian cuisine was associated with the drinking of jasmine tea or beer and has had little success attracting fine wines consumers. Things are changing at a very rapid pace.
If many food critics mention Alsace wines amongst the best to match with oriental cuisine, we put forward to you the opinion of some of the most knowledgeable and unbiased of them : Dr N.K. YONG and his wife Melina . Their experience and authority go beyond their native Singapore and even Asia. Dr N.K. YONG is for instance the former world-wide president of the influential and respected
International Wine & Food Society ... and by the way, a great supporter of our wines.
Yes, our wines are the chopsticks' favourites !

More "Let our wines take you on a journey to Asia" »


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Dr NK YONG's Celebration 80



It was titled "Celebration 80, ode to joy" a tribute to a very unique person by some of the World's finest wines and their attending producers.

An amazing list of the who's who of wine producers  but also for the happy few (still numbering about 350). A very special occasion of tasting in the presence of most vintners and some of their finest vintages. As if this was not enough, the tasting was tutored by the vintners themselves together with the expert comments of Serena Sutcliffe M.W. and husband David Peppercorn M.W.

Most important an ode to friendship and hospitality of Melina and NK YONG that will long be remembered by all the spoiled attendees.

A short photo gallery of three amazing days can be seen here. 


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"perfect for Asian food" according to shanghaidaily.com


Could there be any better endorsement than this recommendation that was just published on shanghaidaily.com ?

"With wine, most diners tend to go with regular reds, enjoying the drink without bothering too much about the clash of styles. True, some rouges can be quite enjoyable with the considerably lighter Cantonese dishes, but most will agree, however, that a vintage bordeaux is not necessarily the best match for lamb vindaloo.

The best bet is actually an often overlooked one. White wines from the Alsace region of northeastern France are dry, light and fruity - perfect for Asian food.

Instead of ordering a bottle of red with your next Asian meal, why not try matching it with something that goes well with the style of food on the table. Any doubters will be bound to eat their words."

Read the full story here


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The chopsticks' favourite wines !

There are fewer and fewer economists, even in the western world that put into question that the center of gravity of the world's economy is moving towards Asia, and in particular around China.

Similar things can be said when it comes to the dynamism of the hospitality industry. No city has a greater number of fine hotels opening up than Shanghai or Beijing. They act as magnets for some of the world's finest hotel groups and celebrity chefs.

Having always preached the perfect mariage between our wines and Asian cuisine(s), the consumers are now gradually starting to fully enjoy that ideal combination. The message is now also fuelled by our outstanding local importers that are true ambassadors to our wines.

A rencent visit to China, Hong Kong and Taiwan has opened a few new eyes. Our local importers are sharing our enthusiasm and no longer hesitate to organise Hugel wine events centered on Asian or fusion cuisine such as at the celebrated Whampoa Club on Shanghai's Bund.

See an extensive photo gallery of these fascinating visits by clicking here

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