When skies are blue, Hong Kong’s beaches and al fresco barbecue pits beckon. But the subtropical steam really works up a thirst. Stock your daypack with essential fluids and mark the best wine shops on your trail guide.
Head to Shun Tak and set sail for a mini break to Macau (or, if you don’t), visit Marks Spencer (global.marksandspencer.com/hk/en), a one-stop shop for picnic food and drinks. The high street retailer has a wide selection of on-trend wines in its near wholly exclusive-to-MS section, which features plenty of summer favourites such as rosé, prosecco, and the current darling of the wine world, English fizz. MS’ “wine in a cup” concept is another innovation that suits our summer wine scene. Called Le Froglet’s, these single servings of shiraz, rosé and chardonnay are perfect for impromptu picnics.
Pack a basket and travel back in time to Hong Kong’s colonial era. The secret lawn behind the historic Gate Lodge at Victoria Peak Park deserves a bottle fit for royalty. Buy one from Berry Bros Rudd (bbr.com/hk-home), one of England’s oldest fine wine retailers and supplier to the British royal family.
Venture past the tourist traps of Stanley and take a sampan to the Po Toi Islands. The fishing village’s famous calamari washes down nicely with a bottle of bubbles from Altaya Wines (altayawines.com).
Stanley’s Chung Hom Kok Beach is a usually clean, deserted beach. Stop at Watson’s Wine (www.watsonswine.com) in Stanley Plaza on the way. Watson’s dominates Hong Kong’s retail scene with its buying power and high turnover.
Wine and water sports don’t generally mix, so skip the surf at Big Wave Bay and recline on the sand. Before heading out, pick up a biodynamic Chablis from natural specialist La Cabane a Vin in Central (lacabane.hk).
In Sai Kung, take a sampan to High Island for a taste of coastal Hong Kong. High Island’s pristine beach and seafood call for a crisp, dry white, such as Muscadet from France’s Loire Valley. Grab a bottle at La Petite France (lapetitefrancehk.com), a French café, wine shop and delivery service that caters to New Territories Francophiles.
Lantau is another beach lover’s paradise, with camping spots at Pui O Beach and a guest house at Tai O for staycationers. Watson’s Citygate in Tung Chung is your best bet in Lantau. You can even plan ahead with the Watson’s Wine app.
If a summer break eludes you, don’t despair. With regularly updated selections, SoHo Wine Spirits (sohowines.hk) is a great source of summer wine. Stop into one of its stores and pick up a bottle or two for junk trips.
Specialist wine retailers can help create the illusion of a holiday on the Amalfi Coast or in Provence. Castello del Vino (castellodelvino.com.hk) in Wan Chai sells Italian wines sourced mostly from family-run vineyards. Monsieur Chatte (monsieurchatte.com) is a French café, food and wine shop. Escape for a charming afternoon with crunchy baguettes, cheese, tasty tarts and quiche. Happy Valley-based German wine specialists, Schmidt Vinothek (schmidtvinothek.com), has a great selection of riesling and silvaner for summer. If you can’t settle on a particular country, broaden your search at Major Cellar (majorcellar.com), which stocks fine and rarities from France, Italy, and Napa Valley.
Ponti Wine Cellars (pontiwinecellars.com.hk) conducts tastings and events with wine personalities and stocks rare wines sourced direct from the wineries. Centre de Vin (centredevin.com) has a certified wine school, wine galleries and a rooftop tasting area for post-study contemplation.
If you lack time to study, seek expert advice and explore the network of high-rise showrooms peculiar to Hong Kong’s wine market. Ginsberg+Chan (ginsbergchan.com), sells fine old and rare wines to its network of self-confessed wine geeks.
If you’re at the History Museum in Tsim Sha Tsui, duck into DFS Galleria (dfs.com/en/tgalleria-hong-kong) and look at its discounted wine range. A well-priced bottle of red goes perfectly with all that culture.
If you’re shopping for shady furniture at Horizon Plaza in Ap Lei Chau, take a break from fabric swatches and grab a bottle at Limestone (limestone.com.hk), whose sales staff can recommend something from their hand-selected range of brand name and boutique wines.
Online retailer Cork Culture offers small-production, low-intervention wines. Established by Ian Wong, former editor of Cru Magazine, Cork Culture (corkculture.hk) is a store for the social media-savvy.
All that’s left to do is find the perfect spot to watch the sunset through rosé-coloured glasses.
Debra Meiburg is a Master of Wine