The GREAT Wine & Dine Festival debuts new trade initiatives

F&B professionals deepened their technical expertise and knowledge of fine wines at the event

New trade-targeted initiatives featured at Resorts World Sentosa’s (RWS) The GREAT Wine & Dine Festival last week has allowed the annual public event to accomplish greater business objectives.

Held from October 10-12, the festival featured an exclusive trade day for the first time. The event opened to visitors from the F&B sector from Singapore and the region, showcasing more than 400 wines, which attracted many sommeliers and bar managers, who took the opportunity to network with distributors at the wine crate-designed booths.

Exhibitors included 27 local and overseas wine distributors who brought in a comprehensive selection of wines ranging from classic regions such as Tuscany or Bordeaux to new-world regions such as Australia, New Zealand and California, as well as organic and natural wines.

A highlight on the showfloor was a special themed zone that featured eight sake breweries across Japan, which were brought in by a partnership between RWS and the Tokyo-based Japan Sake & Shochu Makers Association.

The second new trade initiative was The Harvest seminar on October 11. The by-invite event was attended by about 80 members of the wine trade across South-east Asia who built up their technical know-how through participation in a panel chaired by esteemed wine experts who were specially flown in for the event.

British wine writer and television presenter Oz Clarke spoke about trends in the global wine and spirits arena, while Kenichi Ohashi, owner of Yamajin, a liquor distribution company in Japan and a Master of Wine, shared wine pairing tips for Asian cuisine with Hong Kong-based wine critic Jeannie Cho Lee, who is also the first Asian Master of Wine. Swedish sommelier Andreas Larsson, who was elected World’s Best Sommelier in 2007 and American Master of Wine & Master Sommelier Doug Frost divulged tips and tricks on pairing wines with Western cuisine.

The wine experts also conducted masterclasses on topics such as Spain’s and Japan’s indigenous grape varietals, and comparing old and new-world wines. These classes were also opened the public.

RWS hopes to position these classes and The Harvest seminar as thought leadership platforms for industry practitioners to interact and share best practices in the wine industry.

By involving its sommeliers and F&B managers in this event, RWS also hopes to build up its wine programme and capabilities to complement dining experiences at its stable of 12 celebrity chef restaurants, including the one-Michelin-starred table65.

The GREAT Wine & Dine Festival also comprised a gala dinner on October 10, where the results of the inaugural Wine Pinnacle Awards, which celebrates fine wines and wine personalities, were announced.

Chef Nicolas Masse of two-Michelin-starred restaurant La Grand’Vigne in France was flown in to helm the five-course black-tie gala dinner for more than 300 guests, which included head honchos and ambassadors. The night’s entertainment included a wine-themed dance performance complemented by aerial dancers and jazz tunes by the Cultural Medallion recipient Jeremy Monteiro and his jazz quartet.

A RWS spokesperson said: “Welcoming the crème de la crème of the world’s wine community required seamless execution from our MICE and F&B teams. It put our hospitality, facilities and event planning expertise to the test.”

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