NEW Year's Eve always calls for a special celebratory drink - this year more than ever. And if we are to heed the advice of those who take their drinking seriously, Champagne is the only way to toast the new millennium. Those in the business have been planning what to drink on the big night for months, if not years. But keeping hold of the good stuff is not always easy. 'I've drunk all the Dom Perignon, so we will be drinking La Grande Dame Champagne,' says Jeanette Paterson from Watson's Wine Cellar. She insists that Champagne is the only thing to drink on New Year's Eve and says sales suggest that Bollinger 1990 is the hot choice for this year. Lau Chi-sun, editor of Wine Magazine, agrees that 1990 vintage Champagne is popular. 'Anything from 85 or 90 is perfect to drink now. I'll be drinking a couple of vintage Champagnes,' she says, adding that she stashed some bottles in her cellar a few years ago. William Mark Yiu-tong, of the Federation of Restaurant Owners, reckons 1989 was an excellent year: he put aside a few bottles of crux Champagne 1989 four years ago. 'I suppose it is unusual for a man to be so organised, but the millennium is an auspicious occasion, so I'm glad I thought ahead,' he says. The ultimate vintage to toast the new millennium is 1900, according to Vincent Cheung, the le Maitre Commanderie de Bordeaux of a local wine society. 'Champagne is definitely the order of the day and those with some money to burn will be drinking 1900,' says Mr Cheung, who put aside a bottle of Chateau de B'syquem two years ago. Claudia Capelvenere, manager of Castello del Vino, plans to start off with a bottle of Contessa Rosa extra Brut Fontanna Fredda ($190) and then move on to the slightly cheaper Prosecco Carpene Malvoltu ($105). 'The prosecco is from the oldest prosecco producer in Italy and is less acidic and bubbly than normal Champagne - so there's no danger of the bubbles going up your nose,' laughs Ms Capelvenere. Someone else who is not keen on too many bubbles is restaurant owner Wilson Kwok. 'I don't like it too bubbly, like the carbonated style. The bubbles should last a long time and move elegantly when you swirl the flute glass,' he explains. If he sounds like he knows what he is talking about, it is probably because he is a member of a string of wine societies, including the International Sommelier Association and the Burgundy Wine Society. Mr Kwok got his New Year supply in early. While in Barcelona at the end of September, he took the opportunity to buy some of the sparkling wines that have been brought especially for the millennium. 'It is called Cava de B'agusti Torello and I think I must have the only bottles of this excellent Spanish wine in Hong Kong.' He was planning to go to Vancouver for the millennium celebrations, but business has been so good in Hong Kong he decided to stay. Although he will be working, he has set aside a table for his parents along with the best bubbly. One of the advantages of being in the business is being able to get hold of some of the finest vintages. Adrian Sank is manager of Omtis, the official representative for Lafitte wines in Hong Kong, which means he can invariably request a particular year from the chateau. 'I won't say which year I'll be asking for as that might just give away my age - let's just say it'll be an old bottle,' he laughs. 'I've been to the chateau and it has been around for so many centuries so it can make for a good trip down memory lane. If we ask for a particular year, we can invariably put our hands on it,' says Mr Sank. For many people, New Year's Eve will be a big group celebration and the choice of bubbly will be out of their hands. This is the case for David Webster, director of Remy, but he will be making up for it the next day. 'On New Year's Day we will be drinking Champagne with lots of caviar. I've put aside a bottle of 1983 Charles Heidsieck Blanc des Millenaires which was part of a selection only recently made available,' he says. 'I tasted some at a lunch and thought it would be perfect for New Year - it is mature, fresh and straight from the underground cellars in Reims [France], where it has been stored since it was made.' He has picked out a red wine, Chateau Pichon-Lanlande (1985), for the meal, but it is the Sauternes Chateau La Tour Blanche 1955, which he stumbled across in his warehouse, that promises to be the real surprise.