Wine, tea and sake tasting events can be the perfect get-together for company delegates to learn more about each other and the art of beverage tasting itself. Many companies look favourably on these types of event as they provide a great way to mingle, cut through social barriers and promote unity within a working group. Beverage tasting adds a touch of class to a company event – and you may even learn a thing or two about some of your favourite drinks. Read on to discover a range of experiences related to liquid refreshment.
GOURMET TEA EXPERIENCE
Event: TWG Tea Appreciation Workshop
Venue: TWG Tea Salon & Boutique, Singapore
What makes it special: TWG offers a luxurious corporate gourmet tea tasting experience that will transport you back to the 18th century. With a wood-panelled décor reminiscent of the Victorian era, corporate participants of TWG’s tea workshop are taken on a sumptuous journey of the senses. At the workshop, a large array of teas can be tested, from white to yellow teas, green to blue teas, black teas to matured teas plus a collection of the luxury tea brand’s seasonal teas and exclusive blends. Connoisseurs educate customers about the history of each tea, the methods of tea preparation, tea pairing and cuisine. In addition to the myriad teas available, the appreciation workshop ends on a sweet note with tea-infused patisseries conceived by TWG’s chefs. Companies can sign up for tea tasting sessions at any of TWG’s Tea Salons & Boutiques around Singapore.
Clients: Previous clients include luxury fashion and jewellery boutiques in Singapore
Group size: 30 to 60
WINING AND DINING
Event: An Inspirational Journey
Venue: Sheraton Xiamen, Ballroom AB
When: August 12, 2011
What made it special: The Sheraton Xiamen’s facilities were used to good effect at a wine tasting last August. Titled “An Inspirational Journey”, the event took delegates of some of Xiamen’s travel service companies on an underwater journey of sorts. With an “Ocean” theme, the event featured waitresses dressed in mermaid attire, while the décor was adorned with shells and starfishes to create an underwater atmosphere. During the event, senior taster and host Holger Volsing instructed the delegates on how to view, smell, then taste the wine. They were given a comprehensive rundown of the various factors to consider in wine appreciation, such as the serving temperature, the different kinds of grapes used, a wine’s grade, and its year of production or vintage. Also, the delegates were taught how to pair different kinds of wine with different dishes for an optimal gastronomic experience. During the tasting Volsing engaged the Chinese crowd with comical banter, a good command of the Chinese language, and shared some interesting perspectives on the differences between tasting wine and drinking beer. To conclude the tasting, the delegates were treated to a cod Parmesan to match some marvellous white wine.
Clients: Travel service companies in Xiamen
Group Size: 50
Contact: Sheraton Xiamen Hotel, tel +86 592 552 5888,
Event: Chinese Tea Ceremony, Hias Gourmet
Venue: Client’s private property / Hias Gourmet Tea Tasting Room
What makes it special: This tasting session encompasses the full wealth of China’s tea heritage, allowing participants to appreciate the art of authentic Chinese tea. Equipped with tasting notes, clients embark on a journey of the palate by sampling the different types of Chinese tea available. A tea master points out the subtle nuances in the various taste profiles of each tea, and explains the production process and brewing methods. Guests then are provided with their own tea set to learn how to brew the leaves through a traditional tea ceremony, and the ceremony ends with a gongfucha performance, where acrobatic stunts are performed by a master with a long tea spout in hand. Much to the amusement of all, guests are finally invited to attempt their own re-enaction of the gongfucha performance – all in the name of good cheer.
Group size: 15 to 80
JAPAN’S NATIVE BREW
Event: Sake Tasting
Venue: Koji Sake Tasting Centre, Hong Kong
What makes it special: The tasting at Koji Sake will appeal to all sake enthusiasts looking for a comprehensive session about the iconic Japanese alcoholic beverage. It covers a rundown of how to make, taste and classify sake. Food pairing is a traditional theme at this tasting, to showcase the Japanese rice wine as an ideal meal companion. Participants get to taste four different kinds of sake, pairing each one with different kinds of food; to highlight the misconception that sake can only be consumed with Japanese food, the beverage is tried with both chocolate and cheese.
The session ventures into tasting sake at the following different temperatures – 5ºC, 10ºC, 25ºC, 35ºC, 45ºC and 55ºC. Participants also get to experience the fine art of drinking sake from a range of vessels. Traditionally, a chouko (a small ceramic vessel) is used for drinking Japanese sake. However, for the aromatic daiginjo sake, the chouko is not the best vessel to drink from; instead, participants taste daiginjo out of a Riesling glass, and for a most balanced taste, a Riedel daiginjo glass.
Next comes learning how to read and differentiate sake labels, how to store sake and other trivia about this famous Japanese beverage. The whole session lasts up to two hours, but you can choose various aspects and sections to focus on, and it’s also possible to arrange for an “offsite” adapted tasting away from the tasting centre at a venue of your choice.
Client: A law firm and a medical clinic in Hong Kong
Group Size: Six people and up
Event: T’is the Essense
Venue: Shang Palace, Kowloon Shangri-La, Hong Kong
When: July 2010
What made it special: Adventurous individuals who like to try different kinds of tea will certainly be up for a unique tea tasting session at the Kowloon Shangri-La. When World Essense Holdings held an event at the hotel featuring exotic teas, the company’s delegates were treated to a tea brewing by the tea master, with a giant teapot as a centrepiece. Sourcing its fine tea from around the world, this local tea company offers a broad array of both traditional and exotic tea options, ranging from green to red, black to herbal tea. During the tasting, participants were taught to pair these exotic teas with different dishes. Some of the more exclusive choices included “Yunnan Golden Tip Red Tea”, which was paired with steamed crab claw dish, while the “Baiyaqilan Oolong Tea” was said to boost the flavours of the marinated sliced goose. Another unique choice was the “Jasmine Pearl White Tea” coupled up with a steamed sliced coral trout dish. Participants also had their fill with other unique pairings like “Lavender Rose” with crispy fried vanilla ice cream and “Lemongrass Green” with baked walnut cookies to top off a night of tea-tasting adventure.
Client: World Essense Holdings Ltd
Group Size: 10-12
Event: Wine Tasting
Venue: The 8th Estate Winery, Hong Kong
What makes it special: The winery presents a relaxed, comfortable and conducive environment for wine enthusiasts to savour the art of wine tasting in Hong Kong. The location boasts two barrel rooms of approximately 186 sqm each. The spaces are the centrepiece of the winery, and are reminiscent of a vintage European estate – the elegant chandeliers and antique wooden tables add a nice touch to a wine tasting.
The winery’s venue space is ideal for hosting simple wine tastings, but elaborate sessions with food pairings are also possible to spice up a company’s tasting event. For a more personalised arrangement, the company can customise the event according to requests. If larger-scale events are more suited to your needs, the facility can also accommodate up to 220 people, where wine appreciation can be conducted amidst a fully catered dinner on the terrace, with entertainment from bands or DJs to end the night on a tasteful note.
Clients: Law firms, accounting firms,
Group size: Eight or more