Wine tasting the next digital frontier

Macau organiser plans to take its Portuguese winery roadshow virtual with Asia importers and connoisseurs in video link to Europe

WINE connoisseurs in Asia will be raising a glass to virtual tastings thanks to efforts by a Macau company to connect vineyards and merchants in Portugal to locations in China via digital technology.

Growers and merchants in Portugal will present their products over video-conferencing while importers and connoisseurs across Greater China will gather at venues such as ballrooms to sample the wines and interact with the presenters.

The project by SmallWorld Experience is a hybrid-event version of its roadshows that match Portuguese wine exporters to markets in Macau and elsewhere in Greater China.

Bruno Simoes, who organises the wine events and is president of MISE (Macau Meetings, Incentive Incentives and Special Events Association), revealed the project during the first of a three-part series of webinars hosted by MISE.

“We have done these roadshows in China for many years – it’s a B2B event where importers in Asia and Greater China have the potential to buy wine from Portugal,” Simoes said.

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“What is happening now is that the Portuguese don’t believe they will be able to travel to Asia for one reason or another, so we are working on a Plan B – a hybrid event.”

The wines will be shipped to China but the producers will remain in Portugal as uncertainty over travel restrictions amid the coronavirus pandemic continue.

SmallWorld Experience also has back-up plan if there are restrictions on gatherings in Asia.

“Wine kits that can be shipped to their home and they can do an online tasting individually while they talk over video connection to the producers about the wines,” Simoes said.

More on wine and spirits… Six tasting experiences across Asia Pacific

The projects an example of event organisers turning to digital technology to create hybrid events that combine the live format into video platforms.

More than 90 people registered for yesterday’s Virtual Events 101 Webinar with most viewers from Macau. Online polls held during the webinar also showed that the majority of respondents had not previously used digital event formats, but 83 per cent intended to do so.

The Macau Webinar Series continues next Wednesday, May 13, when PCMA regional vice president Darren Chuckry hosts Pivoting Your Event from Live to Digital. Deborah Caldwell, APAC head of event marketing for Bank of America Merrill Lynch, and Luisa Galindo, of the Economist Intelligence Unit, are set to join the panel discussion.

MISE hosted the webinars with partnership with PCMA which has launched two digital events education courses to help meetings and event planners.

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