China Construction Bank is the namesake sponsor this year.  Last year it was Amex so all cardholders got the VIP treatment.  I am not a client of a China bank so I received nothing this year.  This did not stop me from charming my way into the VIP and Media event.  It’s a 4 day event for anyone willing to make the trek to pay for the right to taste wines and food.

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CCB wine and dine 2014 – the fairgrounds.

The event was held in more convenient locations in the past but this year the venue had to do a last minute shuffle as the Occupy Central protest threw a wrench into things.  Public transportation is easy enough.  Ngau Tau Kok is the closest MTR station and all signage will show it’s within walking distance.  30 mins in sweltering heat through a construction zone without shade.  Heat exhaustion will set in quickly as the fair grounds for wine and dine is one big open space without cover from the elements.  A better option would be to go to the Kowloon Bay MTR Station and take the green mini-bus from Telford Gardens to the cruise ship terminal.

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Exit B6 from Ngau Tau Kok MTR station. Follow the signs, they said.

Event kicked off October 30 with the general public able to get in after 8pm.  The first few hours was for VIP and Media from 5-8.  They should have scheduled media event for early in the afternoon, 2-5pm and allowed the public to walk in after 5:30pm.  There was a mass waiting outside for 8pm to start while inside the venue everyone was milling about preparing for the storm.  VIPs and Media have one thing in common, abundance of time.  When the general public leaves work at 6pm and the event does not kick off until 8pm, they will find another avenue to occupy their time.  Poor planning and design for the event organizers.

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ghost town during the vip and media event.

For the Media, they are there to capture the event and the crowds.  Without the crowds there is no atmosphere.  During the media event, it was a ghost town.  No one cares.  Wine vendors are plenty.  Food vendors consists of smaller businesses competing against the culinary talents of the big HK hotels.  David can crush Goliath.  The food vendors sell everything from iberico ham and cheese to bbq cumin lamb skewers while the hotels focus on smaller portions of main entrees.  Consumers lack the ability to sit down and enjoy main entrees so quick meals can easily crush high end cuisine in this instance.  It would seem the wine vendors in close proximity to food vendors generate the most business.

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#HTC, I got a purple tint in my photos. Is it my fault for using the phone?

Once the public is allowed in the atmosphere picks up.  Gone are the people in evening gowns and suits to be replaced by a more casual laid back atmosphere.  A real welcome to the stodgy wine environment that is prevalent in HK, it’s just rotten grapes.  In similar fashion to last year, there’s a section strictly for Bordeaux wines.  Asians love high end things and nowhere is this more prevalent than their desire to consume the most expensive wines in the world.  They either love to consume fine things or they love to speculate on the ability to the wines to increase in value year to year.

wine and dine

No more photos but you get a real sense of the festival atmosphere.  It’s similar to Black Friday at home.  The objective for the vendors is to sell.  The operate in the red all year and this festival is their last kick of the can to juice sales before year end.  If they sell well at this event, they make their year.  If not, the kids get a lump of coal for Christmas and the employees go without the month 13 bonus.

wine and dine 2

It is a nice event to attend if you have time to make the trek out.  You can play the vendors off one another.  You now know it’s a black friday type of atmosphere for all the wine exhibitors so use this to your advantage.  They are eager and willing to make sales at all costs.  They brought a lot of inventory with them to sell at this event and it would be a failure on their part if they have to take it home.  The decision to exhibit is now a sunk cost.

Don’t bother with buying tokens to exchange for drinks.  The wines worth buying will have vendors that give out drinks for free.  If the wines are as good as they describe, it will win you over irrespective of price.  If a token must be exchanged for a glass of wine, the wine will not be worth drinking.  Perception is key.  From a marketing standpoint, you win your customers through controlling their experience which in this instance is by pouring them wine.  TYFBO.

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Comments
  1. Yeni R says:

    It was not worth it, especially in Kai Tak I think. Never doing that again!

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