Jean-Baptiste Mage of Bordeaux has opened Sai Kung’s new wine shop with the slogan, “Get a true French root”. Wine Guild is on Po Tung Road next to Mr Iqbal’s Carpets.
JB, as he likes to be known, said he didn’t realise the slogan had a double meaning, at least in some cultures, until later. “I decided to keep it… to be a little bit subversive.”
JB lives with his wife, Virginie, at Long Mei. Asked how he is going to differentiate his wine shop from others in town, he said, ” I want it to be a place where people can discover new wines. I can explain my selection. I know the story behind each wine, the philosophy, the choices the wine maker has made.” His wines are from the French regions. “You won’t easily find them anywhere else.”
Asked to select examples of special products at good prices, JB chose:
- CHATEAU CASCADAIS CORBIERES $149: “This is from particularly old winestock going back 98 years.”
- L’ARBOUSIER $199: “It is an uncommon blend of two grapes, one from south Rhone and one from the north. It is aged in very old barrels for nine months.”
- DAMOISEAU: French-style rhum made from cane sugar.
Wine Guild also stocks a range of French pate, mousse, terrine, confit and cassoulet plus craft beers.
JB and Virginie have lived in Sai Kung for six years and for the past two he has been operating a wine sales booth at Sai Kung Market. This gave him an insight into the community’s tastes and contacts who came forward to help when he decided to set up shop. JB chose the name Wine Guild himself and decorated the shop with his own hands. “Virginie helped a lot. She has 10 years of experience running a fashion shop in France.”
From Bordeaux , he was brought up in wine culture. JB studied vine biology and biochemistry at the University of Bordeaux I then did a master’s at the Bordeaux Management School. After working in various fields, he found a job that gave him a taste for Asia. Eight years ago he headed off to Hong Kong “more or less on a one-way ticket. I came here looking for a job.” He had left Virginie in Bordeaux and later, missing her, he convinced her to come out to join him. They married five years ago.
Saturday Jan 9 @ 3pm
Epiphany tasting with La Chouette, the cider maker
Thursday Jan 21 @ 8pm
Wine tasting with the Corsican Wine Board. This occasion will be “animated”
by the CWB’s Vincent Cervoni