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Voted the Best Italian ​Wine Importer in Hong Kong


Spirito De Vino

The Spirito diVino Award given to Marino Braccu, 8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo Bombana, and Duddel’s for their outstanding efforts working with Italian wine in Hong Kong. Above, the 1st Italian WineCelebration, organised by Grande Passione, was a flagship event of Bellissima Italia, a festival coordinated by the Consulate General of Italy to promote the culture and lifestyle of Italy in Hong Kong.

The event hosted at the Renaissance Harbour View Hotel Hong Kong had a dual purpose; to express gratitude for supporting Italian wine in Asia’s World City and to stimulate the trade of wines produced in Italy. The evening featured a 5-course menu prepared by guest Chef Gianni Caprioli from Giando and Gia Trattoria, three of which were paired with wines selected by the different hosts sponsoring each table. A welcome Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore was served from Andreola, the 1st dish of the evening was paired with Barone Pizzini Satén 2013 and with dessert, Ceretto Barolo Chinato concluded the evening. A tasting bar supported by Gelardini & Romani Wine Auction was also set up to allow guests to taste the 84 wines from the 50 different producers featured at various tables during the evening. Everyone agreed that the quality of the dishes was outstanding and certainly contributed to making the evening boisterous and joyful. 

The event was also a moment to give awards to the most outstanding individual and enterprises now working with Italian wines in Hong Kong. The Vinitaly International Award was given to three Italian wine importers. Nominations for the prize were sought from a group of 20 Sommeliers from fine dining establishments The Spirito di-Vino Award was given to one Sommelier and two restaurants (Asian and non-Asian). For this prize, nominations were sought from Italian wine importers in Hong Kong. Key factors for winning were whether the individual or enterprises work from north to south, east to west, with small as well as with large producers.  

Another key aspect was how much support the importer provides to their trade partners and how much creativity and risks the sommelier and restaurants invest with customers. The three importers acknowledged with awards for their efforts were Francesco Marchio of Vino Veritas Asia, Hervé Leroux from Sino Vantage Asia and Michele Volpato from Cheese Meets Wine. Walking off with the Spirito di Vino Awards were Marino Braccu, General Manager of 8 ó Otto E Mezzo Bombana who claimed the most outstanding Sommelier and most outstanding non-Asian restaurant and Derek Li, Chief Sommelier of Duddell’s who claimed the prize for the most outstanding Asian restaurant.  Antonello De Riu, Consul General of Italy in Hong Kong and Macau said in his speech at the Gala dinner that, in the face of growing competition from wine producers outside of Europe, “we need to catch the momentum building around Italian wine and double our efforts to entice an audience that very often is not aware of the huge Italian wine variety.” The Consul General also praised those showing determination in promoting lesser-known grape varieties and wine labels. “I truly hope that others will swell the ranks of those who have already started following this path.” The 1st Annual Italian Wine Celebration was a flagship of Bellissima Italia, a festival organised to celebrate Italian culture and lifestyle in Hong Kong.

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