Although wine is getting more popular in Hong Kong and people are opening bottles at social gatherings, it’s still not common to have wine when dining at home as we feel simple meals are not for wine. However, as we try to make social distancing more tolerable, more of us are opting for wine to go with our dinners at home.
Ordering food delivery used to be about getting fried rice or pizza from neighbouring restaurants, but COVID-19 has pushed delivery to a new level. Mid-market and high-end restaurants are jumping onto the delivery bandwagon and are offering not only their delicious menus but also takeaway wine to go with their food. Ordering delivery nowadays is more than just about filling your tummy but also about having a little bit of luxury at home. Leading delivery platforms have reported increases in wine sales over the past two months.
For those who prefer home cooking, they probably have more time to try out new recipes these days. A glass or two of wine is a reward for the time and effort spent in the kitchen. There is certainly more traffic and browsing in the wine aisles of supermarkets recently.
Aggressive promotions from wine outlets also prompt more people to shop online. Wine merchants, where major customers are restaurants and bars, had already been struggling since the beginning of the pandemic, and their sales plunged even further when the government announced the various dining-out restrictions. Many of them now focus on direct sales to consumers, lowering their minimum order price for free delivery on top of slashing wine prices. Some of them even help customers to navigate the shelves by offering promotional packs or discovery boxes. A few wine suppliers told me that they are very glad to have this new avenue of income.
Social distancing doesn’t mean social isolation. The Internet and social media allow people to connect. Friends still see each other on WhatApp and Zoom with a drink in hand. Some wine suppliers also conduct virtual tastings and engage with consumers such as Watson’s Wine Academy by Hong Kong’s largest wine retailer, Watson’s Wine, and The Happiest Hour series by wine’n’things, where I was honoured to be the guest speaker in its first episode. These tastings are informative yet not intimidating, perfect for someone who would like to know just a bit more about wine.
I like to think positive in adverse circumstances. While COVID-19 is a very unfortunate thing to have happened to Hong Kong, it may be an accelerator to push wine into our homes. Many people have told me that they usually don’t drink at home for various reasons, but hopefully they are doing so now during this social-distancing period and have found that they like the idea. For me, wine is indisputably the best companion to meals. While it is great shared with friends, wine is also enjoyable when I’m home and dining alone.
Take advantage of the many incredible offers from wine merchants in town and try as many diverse wines as possible. Pair them with your experimental home cooking or fine-dining deliveries. Make a note on those you enjoy the most and share them with your friends when we don’t need to social-distance anymore. Cheers!
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