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Old 30-10-2008, 06:12 PM   #1
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Welcome to the HWZ Wine Thread that was started back in 2008! From now until then, my main goal is to share my love for wine and my journey with it as well as to make the wide and wonderful world of wine accessible and easily understood by regular folks like you and me! The first few posts will cover basic information and relevant links to popular wine information like retailers and recommended wines.

Singapore Retailers & Distributors
I have collated a Google Docs spreadsheet of the various wine retailers and importers in Singapore with some comments. By no means is this an exhaustive list but it covers most of the major ones. Not all of them have a retail store but some have an office; I would suggest you visit their website and drop them an email on their price lists.

LIST HERE: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets...it?usp=sharing

The information below covers the basics of wines; there are many resources online and videos for you to supplement that information as well! Please enjoy!


There are a whole bunch of content below regarding the basics of wine but the links immediately below this paragraph are topics or ad-hoc discussions we’ve had over the past several years about wine. The links will help you easily reach these topics without having to plough through hundreds of pages.

Bordeaux: http://forums.hardwarezone.com.sg/ea...s-4762556.html

Wine Recommendation: http://forums.hardwarezone.com.sg/ea...d-4764444.html

Prosecco: http://forums.hardwarezone.com.sg/ea...e-4703054.html

Sherry: http://forums.hardwarezone.com.sg/ea...y-4688731.html

Cahors Wine: http://forums.hardwarezone.com.sg/ea...s-4686595.html

Moscato d’Asti: http://forums.hardwarezone.com.sg/ea...c-4491195.html

Riesling Recommendation: http://forums.hardwarezone.com.sg/ea...g-4563015.html

Florence & Tuscany Wine Holiday: http://forums.hardwarezone.com.sg/eu...y-3892572.html

Chianti Classico: http://forums.hardwarezone.com.sg/87...-post4502.html

How to Keep Opened Wine: http://forums.hardwarezone.com.sg/33532938-post18.html

New Zealand Wineries:

Hunter Valley (Australia) Wineries: http://forums.hardwarezone.com.sg/87...-post4495.html

Northern Rhone Valley (France): http://forums.hardwarezone.com.sg/85...-post4451.html



Wine is definitely growing in Singapore with many retailers popping up, wine bars opening and consumers getting themselves into wine. No longer is wine a realm for the old retired doctors and investors sipping expensive wine; but now there is a big growth of low to mid-priced wine.

A lot of people tell me that want to know more about wine but there isn’t a proper resources and some wine classes are either too expensive or the stuff taught there is not very helpful. With this collection of resources below and your own exploration of wine, you will definitely be able to make educated decisions about wine in the very near future.

DISCLAIMER: I’m not a wine professional, nor am I affiliated to any wine related business. I am just a fan of wine who wants to share his knowledge with others.

1) What is Wine?
2) History of Wine?
3) What are Grape Varieties?
4) How is Wine Made?
5) Should I Age my Wine?
6) How do I Serve Wine Properly?
7) How should I taste Wine?


What Is Wine?
For all the fanciness and romance behind wine, we have to remember at its core wine is simply fermented grape juice. Grapes are picked, crushed and yeast (bacteria) is added which converts the sugars in the juice into alcohol, much like any other alcoholic beverage.
Of course the final product of the wines will vary depending on many various factors like production method, aging, fermentation, type of grapes, types of yeast etc... which can get a bit too technical but all this information can be easily researched

Wine is also a chemically unstable liquid. Water, for instance, is by and large chemically stable at room temperature. If it put it in an un-reactive inert sealed container and leave it for years, it will still taste like water because nothing much has changed. Wine, however, changes it’s flavour, aromas, texture etc... over time, hence people age wines. We will cover this more in the section on aging. So just remember, wine is just fermented grape juice.


History of Wine
Wine has been in existence for thousands of years dating back to ancient civilizations in the Middle East. It was the drink of royalty and its presence was known in many kingly courts since ancient times from Greece to Egypt. There’s lots of excellent information on the history of wine you can research but for simplicity sake the image below should suffice.

Image from Wine Folly | Learn about wine.

Other Links
History of wine - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
History of Wine Timeline (Infographic) | Wine Folly

Essentially it was:
Middle east --> Mediterranean--> Romans spread it all over their empire in Europe --> Travelled to the New World (ie: USA, Australia etc...) via European immigrants --> Modern era and climate change has spread wine to Asia including China and India.


What are Grape Varieties?
Now that you understand a bit of the history of wine, you can next ask whether it was the same grape that was spread all over the world?

We all know the answer is no, as there are hundreds of varieties of grapes in the world. The supermarket carries various species of eating grapes. This applies to virtually any kind of animal or plant produce; each species has a different genetic code and some of the major wine making grapes we enjoy now were a result of genetic mutation or cross breeding! Just like how there are green apples, red apples, fuji apples, gala apples, etc... not all fruits are the same and each varietal bear it’s own unique nuance

But there’s no need to feel scared that there are too many varietals to try. Majority of the wine you are going to encounter in Singapore are made from mainstream varietals that are grown across many other countries. Here is just the tip of the iceberg of the main wine varieties commonly available; as you drink and taste more you will be able to find out what other varietals are out there as there are many great wines that are not even made from these varietals below!

Red Wine Grapes:
1) Cabernet Sauvignon
2) Merlot
3) Shiraz/Syrah
4) Pinot Noir
5) Grenache
6) Malbec

White Wine Grapes:
1) Chardonnay
2) Sauvignon Blanc
3) Riesling
4) Semillon

If you want to get into more detail here are more resources:
List of grape varieties - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Wine grapes | Fine Wine Writing & Wine Reviews from Jancis Robinson

Here is a GREAT resource and 1st of 10 videos that explain individual key grape varietals by one of the world's foremost wine critics, Jancis Robinson in her online wine course


Wine Making
Like I mentioned earlier, wine is essentially fermented grape juice but let’s dive a little deeper into the process. The diagram below is shows a generic overview of how generally still (not sparkling or other types) wine is made. I have elaborated a bit more on the steps but keep in mind this is just a general way of making wine; different winemakers, producers, styles, regions, traditions etc... have slightly tweaked styles of winemaking; but they more or less follow this general flow of work.

1) Harvested grapes are crushed to extract their juices

2) The juice and the other crushed bits ferment together with the added yeast

3) It is pressed to filter out the solids from the juice

4) The fermenting juice is pumped into a tank

5) The juice is then pumped into barrels or just stainless steel tanks depend on what the winemaker wants to do with the wine

6) It may be filtered to remove any cloudiness

7) It’s bottled!

8) It may be sold straight away or the producer may decide to keep it and let it age in the bottle further before release.

How does this affect your wine? By understanding the process you are also able to appreciate the wine more as you realize that certain steps were done in order to give your wine a specific look/feel/taste/texture/ageability. A lot of a wine’s technical information can be found on the producer’s website.
However, various types of wines have slightly different processes like sparkling wine, but we will get into that later.


Should I Age My Wines
The reason why we age wine is because we want to achieve certain things depending whether it’s a red or white wine.

For red wine, we want the tannins to soften. Tannins are the compounds in red wine that leaves a dry and rough taste in your mouth; they are derived from the red grape skins and stems. By aging red wine, the tannin compounds in the wine will soften (remember that wine is a chemically unstable liquid) and smoothen out with aging. Aging also helps bring out more complex flavours that make your wine a multi-dimensional wine in terms of balance and flavour

It’s a little different for white wine, white wines generally has no tannins so what happens is that as it ages , becoming less fruity and turning a golden colour. It will develop a more complex flavours with age.

HOWEVER not all wine is meant for aging. Most of your entry level supermarket or basic wine is meant to be drunk immediately. Some of the wines made from certain areas or certain producers can be aged for 5-10 or 20, 30, 40 years or more! Here are some resources to help explain visually whether your wines are meant for aging!

In summary:
Cheap supermarket basic wine: Drink immediately
$40 wines and up: You can keep it for a while, depending on the type, origin and winemaker’s style. The Jancis Robinson article below is a good guide.

Resources on Aging
Aging of wine - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Which wines are worth ageing | Tasting Notes & Wine Reviews from Jancis Robinson
4 Traits of Wines That Age Well | Wine Folly

And since you want to age your wines, you need storage!
Major electrical chains will have a wine chiller section. You can get the expensive stuff like a Vintec of Euro-cave, for go for midpriced brands like Bosch and Kadeka. Please choose a compressor-type of cooling system
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Last edited by ikileo; 06-08-2014 at 10:43 PM..
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Old 30-10-2008, 07:02 PM   #2
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where to buy good wines in singapore? eg Ch‚teau d'Yquem
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Old 30-10-2008, 11:44 PM   #3
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How Do I Serve Wine Properly?
Before we even understand and learn how to taste wine, we got to learn how to serve it the optimal way first! Keep in mind you may not have the time or resources to do all this if you didnít plan ahead; but if you are throwing a party try to keep these tip in mind. The link below is very good in explaining the key pointers of serving wine.

If you urgently just bought a wine and need to serve it, there are 2 things you need to take note of : Temperature & Decanting

1) Singapore is hot, chill it so that its cold and it will warm up in the glass. But not ice cold. It helps if you are in an air-conditioned area

2) If itís more expensive wine, they benefit a lot from decanting. If you donít have a decanter, an un-reactive and odourless water jug or container will do the trick.

Resource on how to serve wines
Wine Serving Survival Guide | Wine Folly

How Do I Taste Wine?
Now weíve come to the crux and the part where everyone wants to know most of all. Wine tasting will only make sense if you understand all the other things that we have talked about. Here are a series of videos to help you understand wine-tasting more. But remember the best way to taste wine is actually go out and taste it! Instead of picking the same type of wine everytime you buy wines, go for something youíve never had before within your price range. Experience, explore and even research about it to really expand your palate. Here are a bunch of videos to really help you out and guide you as itís difficult to explain just via text. Theyíre all good but my favourite is Oz Clarkeís (one of the prominent UK experts) video and WineLibrary TV.

Wine appreciation is something that has to be constantly practised to expand your memory bank and to develop a more sensitive nose and tongue, to pick out the subtle tastes and aromas in wine. Once you are able to do so, you will be able to appreciate it even more and enjoy it further.

I hope youíve learnt a little more about wine, its history, process and appreciation. The only way to improve is to keep trying. So enjoy your wine and please drink responsibly! Wine is meant for appreciation not chugging!


Q: How do I order wine in a restaurant
A: The main thing is to know what you want to eat first before deciding what you want to drink. If itís a restaurant or place with a decent wine list you can ask them to recommend you a bottle or glass that would go well with your food. Itís not shameful to ask and itís their job to help you with the decision making.

this is an old video but still relevant.

Q: I want to start appreciating wine more seriously. What should I do?

A: You can go for wine classes and most of them, in my humble opinion, are either too expensive or too Ďtouch and goí for you to really pick up and learn anything.

You should:
1) Research online and offline (regions, production, sub-regions, varietals, winemakers, styles, etc...). The internet has made the majority of wine information for anyone to get into wine very easily accessible. Use it! Youtube is great as well.

Some resources:
How to Handle Wines Ė Youtube Playlist
Episode 1 - How to handle a wine with Hugh Johnson - YouTube

Wine Folly
Wine Folly | Learn about wine.

Wine Anorak
New to wine

2) Taste wine regularly. This is a bit of a no brainer and it helps a lot if you have friends who have a similar interest and can all share a bottle or go for dinner and each bring a bottle. The main thing is that you drink a different type of bottle everytime you buy a wine for you to expand your palate.

3) Blind tasting among friends is great where you set a theme (ie: shiraz wines from Australia vs France) and taste the wines that are all covered up. The wines are brought by your group of friends. This helps you really focus on the tasting

4) Wine bars that give tasting portions via the ENOMATIC machines help a lot like Praelum Wine Bar in Duxton and Caveau in Shaw Towers. Tasting portions are cheap and you can drink across more types of wines since the quantity is just a tasting portion.

5) Free or affordable wine tastings by retailers like Crystal Wines and 1855 bottle shop let you taste across a spectrum of mid-price to higher end wines for a fraction of the cost. Get on their mailing lists and be updated on tastings and promotions. Whenever possible, take down notes to record how it smells and taste and your overall opinion on it. Donít worry if you vocab is not as developed, just keep doing it to really hone your senses and brain.
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Last edited by ikileo; 11-05-2014 at 04:32 PM..
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Old 31-10-2008, 12:58 AM   #4
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I usually buy my alcohol from Mille at Changi Village. Reasonable prices.
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Old 31-10-2008, 07:54 AM   #5
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Q: Is there a guide to how each grape varieties generally taste?
A: You can use this as a guide from Wine Folly.

Q: I can’t finish my bottle of wine. What do I do?
A: Please try to finish you bottle of wine during your meal or after. Relax and unwind. If you really can’t, cork it back (just turn your cork upside down and stuff it halfway in) and bring it back home to keep it in the fridge. You can get gadgets that pump argon gas or use a Vacu-Vin to suck out air to reduce the amount of oxygen in the wine. Either way, try to consume it within 24 hours. Better made wines can still retain their taste but for cheaper wines, if you can't finish it, just throw it out.

More tips: Guide to Storing Open Red Wine | Wine Folly

Q: How do I read wine labels?
A: Reading wine labels can be a daunting task for those who have no idea what to look out for. However it’s actually quite simple; with some basic understanding of the label and basic knowledge of major wine regions, it isn’t so difficult. The video below should help!

Q: How do I buy wine from a supermarket or wine shop?
A: It can be scary if you have no idea what to pick up and in the end you just buy the same thing you always buy or that one that is deeply discounted. Here are some tips and videos for you to be more confident in picking up that bottle of wine.

In the end the best tip IMO is to buy something different all the time so that after a period of time (depending how often you drink) you will have a good understanding of the different regions, styles of wines and producers; so you know what to expect and what to look out for.

Specifically for Singapore take note of a few things:
1) In a proper wine retailer, leverage the store staff, they should be adequately trained. The more details you give them the better, including Budget, Country, Grape, Preferred Wine-style, or just a staff recommendation to surprise you

2) Supermarkets can be tricky because you don’t know how they store wines in the back storeroom. If it’s cheap wine, pick those from recent vintages (2-3 years from the current year is ok)

3) If you enter a wine store, avoid buying wines placed near or at windows where it is exposed to sunlight and generally a higher temperature. Both factors are detrimental to the ageability of the wine.

4) IMPT TIP Most of the under $30 (before discount) wine in Supermarkets are generally basic and do not have much nuances and character. It is in the $30 - $50 bracket that's when you start getting into more quality wines that are bang for the buck.

Instead of getting the cheap under $30 wine when it’s on discount at $19, I would recommend you to get the $30 - $50 wines when they are on discount as those are usually made from good producers and vineyards and are more bang for the buck in terms of quality when they are on discount. Fairprice Finest and Cold Storage are good options. Avoid Giant unless you are just looking only on price and want the cheapest thing possible.

5) Most importantly. Don’t be afraid of having that one ‘off’ experience which then makes you stick to just buying the same old wine all the time. With the tips above you will be exposed to more wines; it’s not a 100% guarantee that all the wines you drink you will like, but through the whole experience your probability of picking a good wine will increase and it’s only after drinking wines that you don’t like and like; that’s where you will understand your personal palate and preference as it evolves.

Here is a link on how to buy wine in SG from a local SG blog, i don't necessarily agree with all his points as some of it is not as convenient and not as applicable to the average basic wine consumer:
Julian's Eating: How and Where to Buy Cheap / Good Value Wine in Singapore

Q: Is white wine = white meat and red wine = red meat a rule? And what is wine pairing?

It is not a rule but merely a guide. However with recent development to cuisine and range of wines available, how you pair food and wines comes with the understanding of both. It can get quite lengthy but there are some tips:

1) Experiment more with food and wine pairings to understand your palate. Places with a good 'by the glass' selection is a great way of doing it without breaking the bank. You can have one glass per course. Of the best is to do it with friends and you all each bring a different bottle of wine.

2) For lighter meals go for chilled whites and lighter reds like Pinot Noir. Richer meals call for more robust reds made from shiraz or cabernet sauvignon.

3) For oily foods, like many of our local foods, wines with a good acidity help cut through the oil and the flavour will harmonize better. This is where a good crisp sauvignon blanc, riesling, unoaked chardonnay or even a sparkling wine goes great with many of our local chinese restaurant foods; meat included.

4) In terms of desserts, the dessert should not be sweeter than the wine. Avoid ice cream as well as it tends to mess up your palate with wine.

5) We love spicy food in Singapore but avoid pairing spicy foods with high alcohol wines as it makes the spice more apparent on your palate. Use cool low alcohol whites like German Rieslings or even a good quality Moscato d'Asti from Northern Italy to balance out the spice with its sweetness and low alcohol.

6) With so much info online now, you can even google <food item> wine pairing for some great tips.

For a localized version here are some videos to help! Do not be shy about bringing wine to a Chinese restaurant as nowadays most of proper wine glasses and some even have excellent and reasonably prices wine selections.

Chinese restaurants with good food and $0 corkage. Meaning you can bring 10 bottles and they still won't charge you for the wine. But always call to check; here is a decent but non exhaustive list of corkage in Singapore.

List of SG Restaurants with and without corkage: Julian's Eating: List of BYO Restaurants in Singapore, Corkage-Free or Otherwise

Wine Pairing Videos

Let me tell you, a good dry German Riesling with dim sum is one of the greatest wine pairings. And generally costs cheaper than Champagne yet with just as much pleasure and complexity. My favourite is Imperial Treasure , Jade Palace and Asia Grande; did I mention FREE CORKAGE? When you go there (especially Jade Palace), you will see many people bringing bottles.

A dry sherry and of course your classic Sake is beautiful with sushi as well.

Also peking duck and pinot noir or a French syrah (shiraz) is amazing!
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Last edited by ikileo; 11-05-2014 at 06:27 PM..
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Old 04-11-2008, 03:48 PM   #6
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but that's like at changi village, it's a little far for me though...

right now i'm doing a project where i give my non-professional opinion and reviews about wines under $25. so as to help people make an educated choice they next time they wanna buy some wine but don't wanny spend too much. I posted it up on a blog and making it a once a week thing.

Hi ikileo, can post the link to your blog..... as i like to know more abt wine ..... and i think it good that you are review those wine that below $25.00 .... i think it will be a great help for beginner like me ... thanks
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Old 04-11-2008, 04:24 PM   #7
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nice thread!
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Old 05-11-2008, 02:35 AM   #8
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actually i'm looking for recommendation for red wine... not those super ex ones.. rather those tat r around $20 / bottle type...

my friend intro me Angoves Butterfly Ridge Shiraz Cabernet. anyone tried this before? or can intro others to me?

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Old 05-11-2008, 08:05 AM   #9
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Hi ikileo, can post the link to your blog..... as i like to know more abt wine ..... and i think it good that you are review those wine that below $25.00 .... i think it will be a great help for beginner like me ... thanks
No problem:


i'm adding new wines each week, so just stick around
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Old 05-11-2008, 10:42 AM   #10
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cool a wine thread.. i drink abit of wine but do not taste them like my mom did.

how do i drink a wine. i mean is it red for red meat and white of white meat?

do i eat the meat and drink or drink it while the meat is in the mouth to ampli the taste of the meat?

care to teach ?

ups for a nice thread!
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Old 05-11-2008, 11:01 AM   #11
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actually i'm looking for recommendation for red wine... not those super ex ones.. rather those tat r around $20 / bottle type...

my friend intro me Angoves Butterfly Ridge Shiraz Cabernet. anyone tried this before? or can intro others to me?

i can try that bottle and put it up for review later this week in my blog, since it's below $25. where did u buy that Shiraz Cab?
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Old 05-11-2008, 11:07 AM   #12
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wow interesting, i would like to drink too although i stil cant appreciate white wine yet..
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Old 06-11-2008, 03:52 PM   #13
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updated the first post with a 'sticky'/guide of sorts.
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Old 06-11-2008, 04:26 PM   #14
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thanks for the thread, hope it gets stickied
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Old 06-11-2008, 06:47 PM   #15
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if cannot finish a bottle of wine when opened.. how to store it??
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