Australian entrepreneur Dan Sims loves pinot noir so much he founded a festival devoted to the wine. Since its launch in Melbourne in 2012, Pinot Palooza, which features funky beats and tasty food, has spawned 11 editions, with events taking place across Australia and in New Zealand, Japan and Singapore. Now, it’s Hong Kong’s turn.
On December 1, at the Observation Wheel, in Central, festivalgoers will have the opportunity to taste more than 100 pinot noirs by 50 top producers from Australia, New Zealand and the United States, with food supplied by local eateries – think Nordic restaurant The Flying Elk and John Anthony, which describes itself as “Cantonese at heart”.
But for Sims, director of Revel Global, the company behind the event, it’s not only about sampling a great grape, it’s also about having fun.
“It’s about the interaction, not the transaction,” he says. “I’m all about staging events for wine drinkers that are informative, interactive and not one bit scary. It’s my biggest frustration when people feel they need to be a wine expert instead of just drinking it and not feeling guilty. If you know what you like then enjoy it.”
And Sims’ philosophy seems to be working.
“We had a great response when we took Pinot Palooza to Singapore for the first time last year, and an even better one in Tokyo in May,” he says.
Sims, an award-winning sommelier, has worked at some of the top restaurants Down Under – including Taxi Dining Room, Fifteen and Punch Lane – and spent time in the south of France sharing wine advice on board Eclipse, the yacht owned by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich.
“My wine journey is never ending and I’m learning so much along the way,” he says. “I want to share that with the festival’s guests.”
Tickets are priced at HK$350 and are available at pinotpalooza.com.au.