Living in Singapore, or any big city, means access to products from all over the world at almost any time of the year. It’s amazing to think that in a relatively short period of time we’ve all grown accustomed to having whatever we want whenever we want.
For example, I remember going to pick strawberries in a local PYO farm (where I lived on the south coast of England) back when strawberries were only available for a few short months in the summer. It seems so 'old fashioned' now, when strawberries are readily available all year round in most supermarkets worldwide. ;-)
But as more products become available worldwide there has also been an almost parallel trend towards knowing more about where those products are sourced.
Living in Singapore since 2006 I’ve noticed a change in the last few years as more small businesses have opened to cater to consumers who care about the origin of their groceries or meals. Artisan coffeeshops and café’s and bars have sprung up over the last few years, providing more information for customers.
When I’m running a wine tasting event I find many guests not only keen to discover more about the grapes and terroir but also the families behind the wines. Learning something about the geography of the vineyard helps understand the aromas and taste of the wine, and then hearing a story about the winemaker.
It might be how she took over the land from her father and grandfather; or the new cellar he’s designing with his children; or the inspiration for the artwork used as labels for the bottles. These stories are what make the experience of drinking that glass of wine even more evocative and enjoyable.
My role has become one of ‘story-teller’ on behalf of the wineries that we’ve selected to work with and this makes a trip to visit them not only important but a real privilege.
TRAVEL, TASTE, REPORT BACK
As often as possible I head overseas to the vineyards and cellars - to taste the latest vintages and meet the next generation who are bringing their own personality to the winemaking process. I ask questions and snap photos (and try to capture a few short videos), always aware of the stories I would be bringing back to Singapore.
Sourcing new wines is not only about finding the best wines to represent our business philosophy (healthy wine from organic vineyards, made by small-production estates with family-run cellars), it is also about reminding us why we love these artisanal products and the people behind them.
I'll keep you posted on my next trip and report back in full ;-)