Wine entrepreneur Paulo Pong has launched a mini-chain of wine shops in Hong Kong, each focusing on a different region of France.
There are two stores so far: bordeaux etc in the Leighton Centre, Causeway Bay and champagne etc in Lyndhurst Terrace, Central.
burgundy etc is scheduled to open before the end of the year. The chain’s chief sommelier is Mathieu Pouchan, formerly of La Tour d’Argent in London.
‘Hong Kong buyers are becoming increasingly sophisticated, and we think they will find specialist shops devoted to single regions more interesting than generalist shops,’ Pong told Decanter.com.
The selection at champagne etc dates back to 1921 Pol Roger and 1928 Krug, while bordeaux etc stocks current and key vintages of this and the last century, as well as 1869 Chateau Lafite.
Recent in-store tastings have been run with the principals of Champagne Salon, Chateau Pontet Canet and Chateau Palmer.
In Hong Kong, auction houses, restaurants and direct sales have traditionally dominated the fine wine business, while retail is underdeveloped.
Christian Pillsbury of Hong Kong restaurant consultancy Applied Wine said, ‘The shops are in expensive locations and very ambitious. I’m not sure I understand how they can make the numbers work. But if he can wake up the retail scene, it would make a huge impact.’
Pong founded importer Altaya Wines in 2001, and now represents 75 producers. He also co-owns the Press Room Group of six restaurants, which includes The Pawn, Classified and The News Room.
Written by Maggie Rosen