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Partners in Wine: Why the FCC’s wine dinners are a learning experience


Winemakers are working with the Club kitchen to create this autumn’s wine dinners, as House/Food and Beverage committee co-convenor Jennifer Jett explains.

The wine dinners are highly social and educational evenings during which guests can get to know the winemakers and ask questions about their products.
The wine dinners are highly social and educational evenings during which guests can get to know the winemakers and ask questions about their products.

Unsure which wine to order with dinner? Or are you an oenophile looking for a new favourite? No matter your level of expertise, everyone can learn something at the FCC wine dinners this autumn.

The dinners are organised together with some of the world’s most distinguished winemakers. They work with the club’s executive chef, Johnny Ma, and the beverage manager, Michael Chan, to choose dishes that best complement the wines’ characteristics. Because after all, no one knows them better than the winemakers themselves.

I think it’s pretty enjoyable getting an idea of the reaction of the public to the wines that you make.

The wine dinners are highly social and educational evenings during which guests can get to know the winemakers and ask questions about their products. And if you like what you’re drinking you can buy it on the spot. Guests can also provide suggestions for future dinners.

The first dinner was held on September 17 in conjunction with McWilliam’s, a family-owned winemaker in Australia. Host Scott McWilliam, part of the family’s sixth generation, presided over a fully booked event in the Main Dining Room.

“It’s a delight for the senses to be able to have good wine matched with good food in a lovely setting like this,” he said in an interview at the dinner. “And then it’s a little bit of the icing on the cake to have someone talk about the wine, someone who’s made it.”

Like any good wine dinner, it began and ended with cheese. In between, guests dined on tuna loin and crab meat timbales, spiced duck breast and charred beef mignon, paired with Sémillon and Shiraz.

“I appreciate all the effort that goes into these dinners,” said Andrea Morrow, comparing it favourably to other wine dinners in Hong Kong. “It’s a rarity to come to such a well-organised event.”

But if you missed the first dinner, it’s not too late. The next one, on October 30, will be hosted by Mariano Di Paola of Rutini Wines. Located in Mendoza Province, Argentina, Rutini was founded in 1885 and in 1925 became the first winery to plant vines in the Uco Valley. Di Paola has more than 30 years of experience and is Rutini’s head oenologist.

The final dinner will be held a week later on November 6, with Peter Dillon of Handpicked Wines presenting wines from Australia and Italy. Handpicked offers a “global portfolio” of wines from 21 wine regions and five countries.

As director of winemaking, Dillon travels frequently for Handpicked, sometimes visiting three or four regions in the same week.

“I think it’s pretty enjoyable getting an idea of the reaction of the public to the wines that you make,” Dillon says in a video on the Handpicked website. “As a winemaker, sometimes you can be living in your little bubble, but it’s good to share that with people and see how someone who hasn’t had any contact with that reacts.”

“Some of the time it’s the same as what you’re thinking, and other times it’s completely different, so it can be pretty funny,” he adds.

The October 30 wine dinner is priced at $588 per person, and the November 6 dinner is $598 per person. To reserve your spot, please call the FCC Concierge at 2521 1511, or email fccevent@fcchk.org.

In other wine news, five red and five white wines are now available for home delivery in partnership with Watson’s Wine, in a special offer exclusive to FCC members. The three Australian wines – the Mount Pleasant Elizabeth Sémillon 2010, Evans & Tate Metricup Road Cabernet Merlot 2015 and McWilliam’s McW660 Reserve Canberra Syrah 2016 – come from McWilliam’s, the host of the September 17 wine dinner. Others include the Beringer Main & Vine Chardonnay 2017 from California and the Babich East Coast Pinot Noir 2016 from New Zealand.

Prices range from $100 to $148 per bottle, and the offer is valid until November 15. The total bill will be charged to the member’s account. The minimum order is 18 bottles, which can be a combination of different wines. To submit your order, call 2151 0754 or email purchasing@fcchk.org (Free delivery within seven working days is available to Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and the New Territories. Orders below the minimum quantity can be picked up at the Main Bar).

Details are for reference only and are subject to change.

The wine dinners are highly social and educational evenings during which guests can get to know the winemakers and ask questions about their products.

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