Hong Kong, James Suckling, China and Brunello
In Hong Kong with the 100 Italian wineries chosen by James Suckling. In China with Brunello among the skyscrapers of Shanghai, Hangzhou, Shenzen, Guangzhou, Zhuhai
After the very rainy Italian autumn Hong Kong looks like paradise. Spring temperatures, sunshine and a glittering city where shop windows overflow with luxury products. The city is a huge luxury shopping centre along the streets and inside the skyscrapers connected by covered walkways. From the bay the night show astonishes, it seems to be inside a gigantic cartoon with hundreds of skyscrapers coloured with drawings and lights.
HONG KONG THE PARADISE OF LUXURY AND THE DAMAGE OF PROTESTS
My husband Carlo Gardini and I, do not see the students protagonists of the protests of which the media around the world have spoken, but we meet groups of policemen in riot gear and we see in the newspapers the damage they have done: 85 of the 94 major damaged metro stations and 62 of the smallest. Destroyed 1800 turnstiles 1100 ticket machines, 1200 surveillance cameras and 170 between escalators and elevators. If these are the visible damages, the most disastrous ones are the damages to the Hong Kong economy where tourism has literally collapsed. In October the decrease of the arrivals has been 43.7% less than the same month of 2018. The effects on the restaurant industry have been very heavy: 300 restaurants closed since last June. For Italian wine is a disaster because importers do not sell and therefore do not buy.
JAMES SUCKLING GREAT WINES OF ITALY IN HONG KONG
The event of James Suckling Great Wines of Italy 2019 was a sign of strong encouragement towards the business chain of Italian wine and this produced an unprecedented influx to the wine tasting organized impeccably inside the Four Season. Two thousand people with many importers, buyers and restaurateurs.
Hong Kong operators are not giving up but are concerned. Everyone wants to preserve the freedom of their golden paradise but fear the effects of the protests and do not understand what is happening because of the 1100 people arrested at Polytechnic, only 46 were actually students. Carlo and I go to the most suggestive area of Hong Kong for the welcome dinner to Italian producers in the new very cool “James suckling wine central”. We take part to a dinner and a lunch in the Giando restaurant that belongs to our importer where we meet managers and Italian and Chinese entrepreneurs. The concern is also widespread among those who deal with fashion, “if the situation does not normalize and the Chinese do not come back is a disaster“.
We hope that the encouragement of the 100 Italian producers chosen by Suckling will help them, even psychologically.
THE CHINESE GIANT AND THE CITY OF ALIBABA
In China, on the other hand, the economy is in full swing. The effects of US duties are there but less than expected.
All Chinese people have their eyes fixed on mobile phones and cash is hardly circulating any more because even the chips in the vending machine are paid with the mobile phone.
Entering the station in Shanghai or Hangzhou makes you understand the investment capacity and vision of the future of the Asian giant. Huge structures architecturally beautiful, perfectly organized, clean, where trains are all fast and on time. In the city of alibaba, full of gardens and ancient temples, we do a tasting in the D.Club and we are amazed by the competence of sommeliers and customers but also by the quantity of expensive wines they buy.
SHANGHAI AND THE E-COMMERCE OF WINE TO BE CONSUMED AT THE RESTAURANT
Shanghai is the most cosmopolitan city in China, there are 5,000 Italians. We discovered a new horizon of wine trade. Thanks to a law made by President Mao everyone has the right to bring wine to the restaurant and now there are companies that deliver any bottle at service temperature in less than half an hour. Buying also expensive bottles online to drink immediately became a real fashion. This prompted restaurants to reduce wineries and wine lovers to use the phone instead of the wine list. Importers and distributors are rapidly changing their customers who are no longer restaurants but e-commerce companies with delivery service.
Despite this, clubs like Wine APP leave you stunned by the level of wines they offer and the expertise of their sommeliers.
SHENZEN GUANGZHOU ZHUHAI THE CHINA OF MULTI-COLOR SKYSCRAPERS LOVES BRUNELLO
Our journey continues with our Interprocom importers in Shenzen, Guangzhou and Zhuhai. We tried the IGT Drago and the 8 doves with Chinese cuisine remaining ecstatic and Brunello with a pinci pasta with goose sauce that seemed made in Montalcino and instead are impeccable-prepared by the young Emilian chef at the Buongiorno restaurant in Guangzhou.
Among Chinese wine lovers there is great enthusiasm for our wines and in us great enthusiasm for this China that runs towards the future creating spectacular infrastructure. In Shenzen they are building the world’s largest exhibition centre. Everywhere we see skyscrapers – in some cases really beautiful – huge auditoriums with sail-shaped roofs … which last year were not there. Then the lights on the skyscrapers, on the trees as if the cities at night became merry fairs.
Returning to our poor Italy where investments have stopped for years and everything seems old and badly kept fills the heart with sadness but we do not give up, there is our wonderful wine to give us courage.