By Dr. Michael Lim The Travelling GourmetTM
All food photos are of REAL food, NO photoshop!
The indomitable and intrepid Travelling G0urmet goes to ’10 Scotts’ in the Grand Hyatt Singapore for an exclusive interview with Oxford educated Jake Jacobs, the new Vice-President of the world’s BIGGEST wine company…Constellation Brands Inc. I was honoured as Jake flew in from Hong Kong to sunny Singapore for the interview. Well groomed, intelligent and very approachable, jolly Jake told me. “In Duty Free Sales, Inniskillin Ice Wine is our global best seller and core brand! I just joined Constellation after being with a boutique winery called Gerard Betrand wines (featured on page 8 and 9 of TRDFM Jan/Feb 2013 Edition). We have a team of eleven from Shanghai to Singapore, Hong Kong and Manila and we cover Asia. There is a team of three based in Singapore and two in Shanghai, and a Brand Ambassador in Philippines We have a special VP for the China market because China is a huge market…and a very different & special market…China is a growth market…We deal directly with our Duty Free concessionaires so we ensure our products don’t have a problem with counterfeit wines.”
I asked him, “What is your Duty Free Sales best seller for red wine?”
Dr. ML: Do you find a shift from Chardonnay to unoaked Chardonnay? I have observed too that unoaked Chardonnay plus Sauvignon Blanc is becoming trendy among wine drinkers?
JJ: Yes, absolutely! Unoaked Chardonnay is getting a foothold on the market that was very much dominated by Sauvignon Blanc…
Dr. ML: Do you have any cutting edge plans for your Inniskillin Icewine?
JJ elaborated excitedly, “Now, for Inniskillin Icewine we are trying to get consumers to see the other side of Icewine…it is NOT just a dessert wine but is excellent in Cocktails and matched with rich Foie Gras. Cocktail-wise, we have created a new cocktail called Martiniskillin that has another product in our brand portfolio, namely Svedka Vodka from Sweden! We’ve launched the cocktail in Kuala Lumpur already. We’re the global leader with Inniskillin Ice Wine in Duty Free. We also want consumers to see Inniskillin as an Aperitif…changing the image somewhat.
ML: That is excellent diversification indeed! Many enlightened Chefs have paired rich and gamey Foie Gras (goose or duck liver) with dessert wines like Ice Wine, myself included. The sweetness and spritely acidity is a perfect foil for the decadently rich and luscious foie gras.
JJ: We are introducing this year a Robert Mondavi Oakville Fume Blanc in addition to the Cabernet Sauvignon. We have a Commemorative wine to celebrate Robert Mondavi’s 100 year birthday if he were still alive. For Constellation we are not slow, we are fast…to respond to the market.
ML: What are interesting projects are Constellation involved in?
JJ: Well…we have a Sommelier, Edmund Liew, who won the 2012 South-East Asia Best Sommelier Competition and as his prize, Constellation Brands sponsored his trip to Robert Mondavi To Kalon Winery in California. It is a way to have more brand awareness.
ML: How did the To Kalon experience benefit your career?
Incidentally, To Kalon in the ancient Greek language means “the highest beauty”.
Zum Wohl! (old German toast) 🙂