Epicurean Review: Swire Women of Wine Festival

The Luxe Factor: 1st Women of Wine Festival Caps Off International Women’s Day Week

BY Arjun Sekri



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The award-winning Master of Wine personality, Debra Meiburg, http://debramasterofwine.com/ recently hosted the inaugural Swire “Women of Wine” (WoW) festival at the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce Chamber Theatre in Hong Kong. This debut event, teaming “wow-worthy women with wonderful wines” was an inspirational, learning and fun grand finale to International Women’s Week. The event featured some of the leading female personalities in Hong Kong from the corporate, finance, media, fashion, sports, travel, technology, entrepreneurial and F&B worlds. Combining wine tasting seminars, informative pop-up workshops and networking, this festival featured more than 50 global wines made by women winemakers and presented by Hong Kong’s leading female owned wine importers. The event attracted a full house of over 350 mostly female guests.

Actress and celebrity winemaker, Bernice Liu, as the guest of honor, opened the festival with a bang as VIP female guests, led by founder and director Debra Meiburg, Master of Wine, popped a cluster of balloons to kick off the event.

Swire Women of Wine festival - Wine List

Swire women of wine festival - Wine List

Swire Women of Wine festival opening ceremony

Swire women of wine festival

Debra Meiburg MW said, “Wow, what an event! This was serious girl power and grapes all blended together in the most fabulous way. Along with celebrating International Women’s Day and the achievements of our leading ladies in wine, business and a cross-section of major fields, we wanted to bring together the city’s female wine importers with a large gathering of professional and lifestyle savvy women interested to know more about wine. Creating good relationships with importers and wine enthusiasts offers a great way for the introduction to wine for people who’ve previously felt intimidated to ask questions, experiment and learn more.”

“As part of this learning experience, we also created a series of fun and informative pop-up workshops offering fast facts and quick tips on the latest food and wine trends. These were designed to give attendees ready-to-use facts and skills to bolster their confidence with wine, glassware, storage, entertaining at home, and selecting wine at restaurants.”

Some of Hong Kong’s best known female chefs and caterers presented a diverse collection of signature canapes to team with the array of wines and Veuve Clicquot Champagne on offer. Debra Meiburg MW said, “From winemakers to fashion mavens, foodies to tech gurus, financial whizzes to entertainers and more, we had the full spectrum of talent all under one roof for the “Vinspirational” seminars. These in-demand women shared their wisdom, experience and ideas with a thoroughly engaged bunch of women (and a few men!) all over a glass of wine. It was an inspirational, fun and thought-provoking evening.”

Four one-hour seminars took place during the event, two of which were hosted by Debra Meiburg, Asia’s first Master of Wine, who led attendees in an interactive introduction to tasting wine, followed by a specialized workshop on Champagne. Next door, two inspirational seminars were held, the first of which saw five powerhouse women who’ve crushed the stereotypes and enjoyed flourishing careers in male dominated industries share their stories with a full house. This panel featured Emma Gao (Winemaker, Silver Heights), Anna Thompson (Director of Flight Operations, Cathay Pacific), Vicky Lau (Executive Chef & Owner, Tate Dining Room & Bar) and Angelina Kwan CPA (Managing Director & Head of Regulatory Compliance, Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEx)), and was chaired by Lillian Haynes (Chairman, NorthEast Wines & Spirits).

Following this, a forum discussion followed on the center stage, as trailblazers and trendsetters in fashion (Fiona Kotur Marin, KOTUR), sports (Mary Gadams, RacingThePlanet), the media (Lijia Zhang, author & social commentator), food (Peggy Chan, Grassroots Pantry) and tech (Cat Purvis Rust, Exicon) joined in a discussion on the latest trends in their respective fields, while also giving guests the low down on the highway to the future in these trending sectors. Chairing this lively conversation was Pamela Ambler, Reuters TV Presenter and Producer.

A host of media were given a grand tour of the best wines by women by one of Hong Kong’s most respected sommelier, Yvonne Cheung, Director of Wine of Swire Hotels.

The Swire Women of Wine Festival was supported by The Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce and The Women’s Foundation, along with title sponsor, the Swire Group.

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