There was wine, copious amounts of local food, crowds galore and some great TV content and it was only day 2. We had a big shcedule planned in order to shoot a bunch of different scenarios for what will be a sizzle reel for The Flying Winemaker TV show, basically like a bit of a teaser.
We headed out to see Eddie make wine at 8th Estate Winery, Hong Kong’s first and only winery, about half an hour from central. Not like anything we’re used to in Australia in was in a very industrial looking building and Eddie shares a floor with furniture designers and architects, very cool and very Hong Kong. A long way from the rolling hills of the Hunter Valley, the sprawling vineyards of the Granite Belt in Queensland and a far cry from the huge estates of somewhere like Sirromet (one of my favourite wineries that’s just outside of Brisbane). But still with it’s own unique new age culture it had a great character of it’s own. I really loved the barrel room, rich in colour and the aroma of vino that had clung to the oak timber of the barrels. Decked out with tables and a stocked bar it’s used for functions and off to the side is huge open deck that looks out in to a jungle of concrete and metal skyscrapers and cargo ships in the distant fog- a can definitely see a Flying Winemaker party there in the future.
Eddie was bottling a blend of grapes sent over from Bordeaux, France and we were shooting him in his element as Master Winemaker; testing, tasting, running through the chemical processes to get the blend just right and then going through filling all the bottles and maintaining the quality and consistency of the product.
As well as being transfixed by the processes I was impressed with the amount and variety of different wines available from 8th Estate with grapes sourced from all over the world, France, Australia, Italy there’s Nebbiolo, Sangiovese, Shiraz, Grenache, Reisling and more.
No rest for the wicked and after a quick lunch there was more shooting scheduled for the afternoon. Wes and I worked on a few PTCs (Pieces to Camera) to have Eddie explain to camera who he is and what the show is about. So we headed up the road from The Flying Winemaker in the centre of Hong Kong to a local food market to give us a colourful setting. Between high end store restaurants and shops an alleyway is transformed into a bustling open air food bazaar and of course the rain started coming down but there was no stopping us, the setting was brilliant, if only we could get a clear path through the masses of people buying their groceries.
KC brought out one of his latest and favourite toys, he preached about the redeeming quailities of this little camera the whole trip, a Sony HD camcorder I think the NX30? KC? I could be wrong about the specific model but the reason I loved (and do love) it is for the gyro-stabilised lens- kind of like the lens is floating within the camera which means you get a much smoother shot and avoid the shakey jerky motion that can be an issue with hand held work – especially navigating through a crowd on hungry Hong Kong locals looking to get their shopping done. It was brillant to be small and mobile as we weaved through the masses of people at the market and KC even mounted a small LED on top of it to shed some extra light.
But we weren’t done yet next stop was a Dai Pai Dong type eatery near Happy Valley, traditionally the Dai Pai Dongs are open air street food restaurants I guess, with green awnings but as they are dying out as it seems the government isn’t issuing anymore licenses to expand beyond the 30 or so currently there. The place we went to was called Sheun Kee , it’s the same concept as a Dai Pai Dong just inside a building on the second floor, no green awning but essentially the same. It kind of reminded me of a type of food court with a bunch of different places to choose from side by side, still stalls just inside.
Louis the sales guy from Sheun Kee directed us over to his restaurant where we had planned to shoot. Buckets of live fish sat in the open outside the kitchen. It was no frills dining, seated on plastic stools, the obligatory toilet paper roll on the table to deal with the inevitable mess, a simple set up but with it’s own atmosphere of authenticity, this is real Hong Kong dining, the way it should be and has been for many years. Everyone eats out so this is a staple of many locals, cheap, quick and oh so tasty! I wasn’t ordering pigeon.
It was a great shoot that saw Eddie get inside the kitchen which was the size of a small bathroom and packed with maybe 5 chefs and a crazy colourful array of ingredients ready to be thrown in a wok, in a steamer or in a sizzling deep fry. He discussed the traditional Hong Kong flavours on offer and how the food was prepared. Then he joined a group of young locals for dinner and brought out the wine, something you wouldn’t normally see at a Dai Pai Dong but this is what the show is about. It doesn’t have to be fancy fine dining to pop the cork (or screw top), wine can be drunk with just about any Asian food and there are some great pairings Eddie spoke to the table about. He was also adamant that you don’t need crystal glassware pour your pinot into a plastic tumbler, a paper cup, a bowl, any vessel, it doesn’t matter just pour and enjoy.
Lots of interesting chat over dinner; like did you know many of us drink our white wine far too cold, and if I’m right Eddie said that hides some of the mistakes of the wine making process, ie the worse the wine, the colder you get it then the better it will taste? Eddie am I right?
Anyways needless to say I will be learning a great deal about wine over the next year!
Oh and I haven’t even spoken about the food – best meal in Hong Kong hands down. Amazing! Holy, the scallops were like Disneyland in my mouth, and the crispy chicken covered in garlic, not great for my breath but my tastebuds were dancing like it was 1999, oh and the razor clams, if you’re in Hong Kong go there (but just be warned the fish soup is like a volcano of heat).
Day 2 wrapped, belly over loaded, cameras running out of steam but we needed a night cap at The Flying Winemaker to plan the agenda for tomorrow… and then… maybe a sneaky jelly shot at Al’s Diner in Lan Kwai Fong… it was on the way home and Wes said we had to do it. So strange for me because that’s what the Stafford Brothers and Timmy Trumpet did when they were in Hong Kong shooting for their reality series Season 2 that I produced with Wes and WD Entertainment. I was getting flash backs to watching the vision back in Brisbane of them doing this exact same thing, like I’d stepped on to the set of my own show. Jelly shot down and that one’s for the Stafford Brothers Season 3 is next but for now it’s all about wine. Good times Hong Kong. Cheers.