Eating good food is one thing. But pairing it with the right drink is another. Give your palate a seasonal delight with the list of the awarded wines and spirits listed here by Cathay Pacific’s 2018 Hong Kong International Wine and Spirit Competition!

Do you know which wines, spirits and food get along well? As you make an impression by filling up your guests’ glasses with the top picks of Cathay Pacific this holiday season, learn a thing or two about the sense of perfect pairing.

My husband is always curious why I match a good steak with a glass of red. When I tried to explain how it brings out the flavour of the seasoned meat, he couldn’t get it. But it gets him curious.

In one episode of Gilmore Girls (Season 1), Sookie St. James, the chef of the inn Lorelie Gilmore works in, had to let a food critique taste her ‘magic’ risotto with a different kind of white wine for the second time. To recover from his mean “The risotto was fine.” dilemma of a published comment, Sookie literally had to put an effort in going to his home just to convince him that he acted such because he paired it with a wrong drink. She threw a huge fit about it before and did not let it go for the reason it was NOT just fine because he ordered the wrong drink that did not let the flavours of the risotto sway smoothly.

Last November, my friend taught drinking a shot of a Korean soju would actually give him a kickstart to our Korean BBQ night. It didn’t. It gave him an awful headache because of that whooping alcohol content it contained that ranged from 16.8% to 53%.

See how a perfect pairing comes in affecting our ability to consume food? Needless to say, what we drink has great effect on how our food would taste like in the end.

Understanding wine being beautiful and delicious.

The first time I understood this was when I watched Keanu Reeves’, A Walk in the Clouds. It was a movie about a young woman whose family owned a grape farm and who fermented it into wine. It showed a lot about planting the roots, taking care of the grapes from winter and flavours that had woven a love story that was not meant to be. Try and see it for yourself and you’ll understand why I said it that way.

November, 2018, I attended the Hong Kong International Wine and Spirits Fair. It showcased kinds from fragrant to bitter to the kind that magically unfolds its flavours with a tangy zest. And many countries represented spirits as well like Japan and Korea to name a few. Spain, Chile, Canada all brought their best hoping for different kinds of business opportunities.

Remarkably, the wines and spirits that made a name earned recognition from Cathay Pacific’s Hong Kong International Wine and Spirits Competition 2018. This year, besides the usual 4 awards that they give out, they included the Green Awards which serves the environment sustainably.


Headed by the Chair of Judging Panels, Debra Meiburg MW, Director of the Hong Kong International Wine and Spirit Competition and Meiburg Wine Media Hong Kong, ensured that the winners will remain, “Asia’s Choice, Asia’s Voice.” In doing this, the panel composed of 60 judges from 13 countries where Asia’s best wine experts from Greater China, Singapore, South Korea, Japan, India, Taiwan, Malaysia, and Thailand were invited. Guided by the competition’s customary special guest VIP International wine and spirit experts, judges had to taste a lot of entries from all over the world grading it accordingly. 

The perfect grade is 100 and it is rewarded as follows:

TROPHY – “The Best in class”. It is selected from re-tasting of the top scorers of respective categories

90 + GOLD – Outstanding example; the benchmark

80 + SILVER – Fine example; excellent quality

70 + BRONZE – Good example; well above average


Source: 10TH Cathay Pacific HK IWSC 2018 Catalogue



Sniffing and tasting wines become second in priority when it comes to judging what perfect food goes with Asian’s top viands. Awarding the right match to a specific Asian food is critical due to the flavours that get enhanced by the drink. For the judges, this was the toughest to decide on because they were double-blinded to make sure impartiality.

Food and wine tasting was done at the last day of the competition. The process was distinct per judge as somehow, preferences varied from strengthening chilli flavours to mellowing it down. So in the end, they came up with the following winners:

  1. Best Wine with White Sashimi – TSUNO WINE, Miyazaki, Unwooded Chardonnay, 2017 from Japan
  2. The Best Wine with Steamed Garoupa – CHAMPAGNE PHILIPPE PRIÉ, Cuvée Archange Brut NV from France
  3. Best Wine with Steamed Garoupa – GRANMONTE, Spring Unwooded Chenin Blanc, Asoke Valley 2018 from Thailand
  4. The Best Wine with Dong Bo Rou (Braised Pork Belly) – TE PĀ, Pinot Noir, Marlborough 2016 from New Zealand
  5. Best Wine with Peking Duck – CHÂTEAU MERCIAN, Essence de Koshu, Yamanashi 2015 from Japan
  6. The Best Wine with Kung Pao Chicken – CHAMPAGNE PHILIPPE PRIÉ, Brut Tradition NV from France
  7. Best Wine with Bò lúc låc (Vietnamese Shaking Beef) – MERRIMAN ESTATE, Pinot Noir Yamhill-Carlton, Oregon 2015 from USA
  8. The Best Wine with Galbi (Korean Grilled Beef, an additional this year from Korea) – PEGERIC, Pinot Noir, Macedon Ranges 2007 from Australia
  9. Best Wine with Macanese African Chicken – MONSOON VALLEY WINE, Cuvée de Siam Blanc 2014 from Thailand

That may be a lot to remember but let it serve as your guide for the next time you are out and about trying out these famous Asian delicacies.


Hong Kong International Wine and Spirits Fair 2018

Having a drink is like having a palate spa. Most especially when you indulge on the best ones, just like these winners above. But what makes it more attractive is the lifestyle that it proves. Nothing else could put you in the mood of tasting good wine except a reason to celebrate. It is the most rewarding state you could ever appreciate that time of bliss. In that sense, the wine industry talks a lot about real living. And this is what every wine business man and woman aims to give.

However, online consumption continuously challenges the very essence of ‘having a drink’. Retailers tend to get sucked into the convenience part of online shopping, particularly for wine. Millenials forget the spirit of getting into the vibe, sharing it with friends and family and noting a momentous experience as you consume it with food. The aftermath called relaxation and most of all, the time enjoyed and shared.

Moreover, the usage of bottles, corks and many more during the process of wine production results to unavoidable waste products. This arises as a problem for manufacturers and grape farmers. In terms of eco-friendliness, producers have to look for ways not to be contributory to the global waste problem. And to encourage that, the HK IWSC and Cathay Pacific added honors for Green Wine & Spirits. This rewards sustainability in wine making.

“The aim of the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong International Wine and Spirit Competition’s Green Award is to recognise top quality and sustainability for the Asian Market, as well as sustainability and commitment to environmentally sound production.” – Debra Meiburg MW 

This year, the winners came from Australia, Austria, France, and New Zealand for wine. Sweden won the Green Award for producing organic gin. Lastly, Martinique for rum.


I have a deep regard for your time. It's when I write and cook that time becomes non-existent. I love learning and while you think I am the kind of lady who has a lot of things to say, just take it that I was sharing what I had learned with full impact over a cup of Joe.

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  1. Dr B

    December 21, 2018 at 4:44pm

    Nobody can tell anyone else what wine should or should not be paired with any food! First, choose a wine you like, next taste it with the food. Not good? No problem, now add a little salt to the piece of food, improved? If not add a little more. Conversely add a little acid (lemon juice), improved? If not add a little more …. etc etc. It’s salt and acid that create the max pairdness between wine and food with a lot based on the 5 flavours, including umami. Have an evening with a few different wines and foods, red AND white, use Tim Hanni’s book as your guide. He’s right, it works, and don’t let anyone else tell you what matches and what doesn’t! ??

    • Author


      December 24, 2018 at 1:24pm

      that’s another point of view I would be interested in considering. thank you for this suggestion.

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