Awards to recognise hotels and eateries

PUBLISHED : Monday, 05 September, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 05 September, 2011, 12:00am


When the New York wine merchant William Sokolin was asked for his definition of a good wine, he replied: 'It should start and end with a smile.'

It's a clever aphorism, conjuring up a picture of a wine lover advancing on a bottle, corkscrew in hand and mouth creased slightly upwards - and followed by a vision of the same oenophile with an empty bottle and glass, but a contented grin stitched from ear to ear.

The definition of a good restaurant house wine is not so easy to pin down, but it's something the judges at two Kung Kai Hong & Co-sponsored competitions at this year's Restaurant & Bar Expo have been attempting to do with more than a little gusto. The three-day event will kick-off tomorrow at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.

The House Wine awards are judged in three categories - white, red and sparkling. The first round of judging took place last month, and the results will be announced at the expo. The awards were launched in response to an industry-wide call to recognise restaurants and hotels that have taken the time to select a house wine that not only sells well, but which they are proud to serve.

'Our main objective was to find wines that were enjoyable, delicious and good value for money,' says Rebecca Leung Shuk-yee, one of the judges for the House Wine awards. Leung also runs wine education classes and writes about wine for numerous publications. 'The overall standard was incredibly high, with some 149 entries, so they were really tough to screen,' she says.

Leung adds that part of the aim of the competition is to promote wine culture in Hong Kong.

'There is an increasing interest in drinking it, not simply for health reasons, due to red wine containing anti-oxidants, but also for the sheer pleasure of it and the excellence of its taste.' The other competition, the Wine by the Glass awards, are judged according to the sort of restaurant in which it is served - whether it is independent, part of a group, or within a hotel.

Stuart Bailey, general manager of Diversified Events Hong Kong, the overall organiser of the expo, says the timing of the awards is perfect with Hong Kong's soaring reputation as a world wine hub and with consumer knowledge and consumption increasing. 'As well as the extent of the wines offered by the glass, other elements will be taken into account in choosing the winners, such as quality of storage, marketing of the wine by the glass offering, menu recommendations and staff advice,' Bailey says.