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Make A Toast
IT IS SINGAPORE'S largest wine fair and the coolest one too - not so much for its claims to be up there with the hip crowd, but because you can drink and party in full air-conditioned comfort.
Uncorked Asia is expected to see more than 10,000 people descend upon its purpose-built, 13,000 sq ft venue within the brand-new food and beverage (F&B) hub Savourworld at Science Park over two weekends in November and December, to sample hundreds of wines from around the world. At the same time, there's a party component with food from the different tenants already at Savourworld, with live music and DJs spinning for the crowds.
Uncorked Asia is one of eight events that Savourworld plans to organise each year, says its managing director Michel Lu, an F&B veteran who ran a series of clubs, bars and restaurants including the Prive Group before setting up shop in the relatively quiet Science Park area. Opened officially on Sept 30, the S$10 million, 60,000 sq ft space is an ambitious project, housing multiple restaurants serving a wide variety of cuisine. Some of its current tenants include Garçons Nosh, Chinese Noodle Bar by Blue Lotus, The Good Beer Company and Tokyo Joe and Ottoman Kebab & Grill.
"Most of the wine fairs in Singapore tend to be by distributors who want to showcase their own products," says Mr Lu. "How we differ is that we are an independent organiser bringing some of the best distributors together to create a much-bigger event.
"There are two components to our event - the wine fair which is a retail event that allows you to buy over 600 different labels of wines at wholesale prices; and then there's the wine festival which is really a big party, where you get to taste the wines, enjoy food and live music. And we're also showcasing a completely cashless system for all transactions at the event."
Some of the wine distributors at Uncorked Asia include Moet Hennessy Diageo, Crystal Wines and Certain Cellars. "We are more focused on the mainstream market with wines priced from S$30 up to S$150 mainly," explains Mr Lu. "I would say 85 per cent of the wines are priced below S$150." Apart from French, Italian, Spanish and Australian wines, "we are also finalising a vendor who specialises in Portuguese wines with over 50 labels".
There will also be masterclasses to teach the finer points of wine tasting and food pairing. One of the names to look out for is Basile Guibert, the second-generation owner of Moulin de Gassac. "Their main estate, Mas de Daumas Gassac, was heralded as the 'Lafite of the Languedoc' by the French gastronomic guide, Gault Millau," says Mr Lu. He will be conducting several masterclasses and hosting tastings during the fair.
Other masterclasses include a cook's tour of Spanish vineyard areas outside Rioja by Alison Harvey, who will look at wines from Priorat, Alicante and Rias Baixas. Antipodean wine lovers, meanwhile, will learn that there's more to Coonawarra than Cabernet Sauvignon - there's Shiraz and Merlot as well. Or learn all about Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc under masterclass leader Monty James.
Even before the wine fair has begun, Mr Lu has more in the pipeline including Meatology, hailed as "Asia's first meat festival", and Asia Sake Festival. It's not cheap to put together at a cost of S$150,000 to S$200,000 each festival, but when you've got such a big space waiting for people to enjoy it, it would be a shame not to have a chance to party there as often as possible.
SPECIAL FOR BTWEEKEND READERS
Bring a copy of the printed magazine out today to enjoy complimentary entry.
Uncorked Asia takes place on Nov 24 to 26 and Dec 1 to 3 at Savourworld, 2 Science Park Drive. Time: Fri (5pm to 12am); Sat (11am to 5pm or 5pm to 11pm); Sun (11am to 8pm). Tickets are priced at S$18 with five free tastings.