Here comes the golden age for wine marketing. The booming wine market ever since 2008 has not only rejuvenated the public’s imagination towards wine itself, but also renovated the citizens’ attitude– with the joint efforts from the Government(SME loans, CEF for receiving wine education), cultural institutions(SOPEXA, all wine producing countries and their trade arms in Hong Kong) and business sector(‘initiated by TDC mostly) alike-wines are talked about from everywhere. As if a natural gift gift from God- everyone in Hong Kong suddenly is speaking the wine language as if they were wine connoisseurs, wine educatos or wine merchants. Everybody gets what he wants: wine drinkers got the halo on the head for being wine literate and 'classed' like a cru; government did good; the industry improved; merchants got the cash flow. Harmony.
Had the ‘advisers’ and wine friends around Mr Y L Tang overdone the opening of the market in 2008, considering wine is nonetheless toxic to some extent? I thought they did; in retrospect, they did not because the industry has been thus rejuvenated. It is rejuvenated by ‘new’ suppliers direct from the city of Bordeaux, New York and London familiar to the experienced, who imparted new life to the industry with more advanced knowledge, international attitude and vision, and, of course, their stock still sitting in in the warehouse of their own countries! Consumers, including YL Tang’s ‘’influencers’, are supplied with wider choices and lower prices. And gone are the unprofessional- full-time-drinker-part-time-trader-wine-business-hobbyist. Hong Kong is as great as London and New York, if not even greater.OK-not that bad. Just a lapse of ‘memoire’ of that tiny little bit of the history of the faceless Hong Kong merchants. Harmony.
7 years had elapsed and the wine community of Hong Kong has never been the same. Amateurs(genuine lovers of anything by the way, according to French) bonded by the ‘love’ for wines, who may have either be founded or unfounded hope for making money out of wine trade, have existed since wine itself. They are to stay though. Who really can say however unprofessional they could have been why they should not be allowed exist? They coud just drink them up by the end of the day! After all, everybody is entitle to their ways of making a living and why should we mind? And of course in a free-spirited Hong Kong and in business jungles everyone is free to run.Wine is just a whore: everybody wants to lay their hands on it. Al you need to do is an email address, a website, registered to wine-searcher. Such co-existence. But that is not so special to the wine industry; this kind of situation exists for a lot of industries. Harmony.
The Cultural Shift begins!
That all begins in the territory with the Hong Kong style of wine writings – news reports on wine events, wine features in magazines, exhibition and tasting catalogues, and wine commentaries on the Internet, Wine Searcher, Vivino and many many others- inter alia. While wine sparks off wide ranges of creative trade practices, ‘artistic’ and ‘buyer-guide’ wine writings complete the picture with words. Everyone suddenly become a wine critic. Harmony.
Hong Kong Wine writings today, which are collectively termed as “wine criticism”, carry diverse components ranging from personal reflections, intellectual packaging from commercial wines, analysis of the wine market(like En Primeurs, post Parker arena, MW contestants), to aesthetic account on wine writers and their works. One key trick employed in giving wine criticism is to replace what one sees and experiences with what one emotionally connects. That seems to be the approach of the not-formally tranined on the one hand. On the other the more trained wine writers(WSET, SWE, MW, MS curriculums) attached academic theories and cultural criticism to whatever wine tasted and in description. Of course, that is for the ‘writers’ who thought they are trained enough. Sadly, the tricks extend neither the space for an understanding of wine with a view for further the future of the communication. Instead, they only bring vague and detached accounts of wine itself. Just look into the wine comments- most of them are all not originals-they are more like clip-works from-type-writers-or-English-to-Chinese-translators-type of-wine-writers. Everybody is happy though. Harmony.
How are we going to open up new horizons in the field of wine criticism? I thought of exploring how local critics do so through an analysis of their writing styles, their attitudes, their research methods, their thinking. If I could have done that, I will be dead tommorrow. Harmony.
Can we safely voice our views in wines?
That’s the tragedy of all ‘wine thinkers’(to borrow from the famous wine writer and judge): you can say things from heart with good reasons and intentions but nobody will listen to. What about I mention the good guys and what they did, in the expectation that they can serve as current ‘models’ for the aspiring, humble learners? They are outside Hong Kong, so none in Hong Kong can possibly offended. And of course, I mentioned without clues to names as well. Ok I will do that. Harmony.
Good writers in my view
This lady wine-writer from Taiwan, a famous writer and competent taster in her own right, successfully draws readers into the aura of the work for an experience of her concepts and emotions from the wines he tasted. Her focus in his wine criticism is to elaborate on how wine makers transform their ineffable emotions, delicate senses and intellectual ideas into her wines. She did lot of personal interactions with the maker. She does it through detailed analysis on the text and its structure, rhythm, materials and contexts of her wine languages. When it comes to intellectual messages, this lady explores the links between the challenging presentation and its grounding principles and theories about wines. She further demonstrates her wine writing in a poetic style – by going with the flow of both the literary and emotional shifts. She vividly expresses feelings in tantalizing words, even when it is an inimical work in description. Plain and loose as her texts may seem, this lady delivers her views, offers diverse analytical approaches and poses new questions to readers. They are long reads. And those was original wine writing, ‘un-paradigmed’ and free.
A gentleman from my a city of significance Toronto to me exercises his meticulous thinking and all-rounded arguments in her wine criticism. His first detects flaws in her opponents’ stance by analyzing their logic. Brave indeed. When the flaws are exposed and counter-attack is impossible, he readily advances himself with his solid standpoints. He expressed logical terms about physical senses, intellectual thinking, and is very very methodological. It might be hard to translate the direct emotional strikes it brings to audience into words; yet the humanistic values, critical thinking and genuine feelings that the artistry and self-awareness in wine comments all relate closely to the set of objective rules binding individuals together in a society. His wine criticism aims at starting an ideological debate – in which one shares his logic with the kindred, fuels discussions and reflects on the current cultural context. His excellence in understanding of various academic theories secures himself a firm foothold in the field. It is with that he organizes his ideas and elaborates on principles and values guiding his journey in wine commentaries. For this young man, the writing process is one with endless reflections and self-awareness. His ultimate goal is not to back his ideas with countless theories, but to save positive energy against the negative aura that persists in the contemporary wine culture.
Why I like them? Because they focused human value on the on hand and did forget on the other that wine is for pleasure. They are no wine snob.
Wine Criticism – what for?
The styles of wine criticism vary, yet they share a common aim – to envision the formulation of revealing discourse and shifts in cultural trends through examination of the development of the wine as a whole. Their joint effort in stretching the platform of art as one public thinking machinery does not only initiate multiple perspectives for reflection, but also generate cultural discourses uniquely fit the contemporary society. Wine criticism is not in the ends but the means to further human understanding.
Darn, I also can handle that...., that Harmony. I know you understand.