Eddie McDougall is an award-winning winemaker, wine judge, columnist and host of the acclaimed TV series The Flying Winemaker. In 2012, Eddie was named one of the Top 20 People Varying The Way We Eat and Drink by Time Out Hong Kong. In that same year, Eddie also established his first Hong Kong Wine Shop concept in the heart of Hong Kong’s Central District. Eddie was raised in Hong Kong and Australia. His in-depth knowledge of cultural trends and linguistic abilities have helped him become a recognized authority on wine production, consumption and business trends. Eddie holds a Bachelor of International Business from Griffith University, Australia and a Post Graduate Diploma of Wine Equipment and Viticulture from the University of Melbourne. In 2013, he was one of only 12 elite wine professionals selected for the
In September 2012, decanter.com spar to Eddie McDougall ahead of the first Decanter Asia Wine Awards, which took place in Hong Kong before long that month.
Tell us a small about yourself – where are you based and where do you work?
I was born in Hong Kong then raised and trained as a winemaker in Australia and Italy.
– Eddie McDougall Fine Wines of Australia, Winemaker and Managing Director
– The Flying Winemaker, Founder and Director
– Edward James Wine Benefit, Founder and Director
How did you first become interested in wine?
At the age of 19 I graduated with a Bachelor of International Business and found myself completely directionless in my career path. I was working part-time as a bar manager and waiter for a very prestigious restaurant in Australia and it was at this restaurant that I experienced what I now call a ‘waiter’s worst nightmare’. Fortunately for me, the nightmare that claimed my happiness eventually turned 180 degrees and became a twist of faith, which exposed me to a glass of wine that changed my life. The glass of wine, offered to me by the restaurateur, was the remains of a customer’s bottle, and upon a slight sniff and sip I was compelled to
What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned in your job role?
To be trustworthy I’m subdue learning it. But, knowledge and hands on experience is really vital as no book will ever teach you the really juicy stuff. Even after 12 vintages of winemaking in various parts of the world, I subdue need to learn and more importantly make the mistakes – what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!
Is there a person or producer you particularly admire within the wine industry?
Vietti from Barolo, Italy. Luca Currado is a fantastic winemaker and mentor.
Which wines are you drinking at home at the moment?
A lot of funky South African wines and Chateau Ksara from the Bekka Valley in Lebanon.
What are your favourite food and wine combinations?
– Chianti Classico or Sangiovese
– Dry Rosé with Char Sui (Honey Glazed Cantonese BBQ Pork). Make sure you eat the crunchy, burnt pieces too.
Who was your most memorable customer, and why?
What I should say is that each customer is just as memorable as each additional, but if I had to choose one it would certainly be my 87-year-ancient grandmother. My grandmother from my Chinese side grew up never tasting a wine made from grapes. The first and only wine she has ever tasted was a 2008 Shiraz which I made. She gave it two thumbs up.
Is there a strong wine scene in your city?
The wine scene in Hong Kong is huge! It’s subdue growing and literally shifting dynamics all the time.
Have you noticed any new trends emerging? What are customers asking for at the moment?
– Lower-alcohol Shiraz from Australia, very classy and modern in style – Mount Langhi Ghiran is an
– Moscato is going to be massive for new wine drinkers – look out for this dark horse.
– South African produced Bordeaux blends – cheaper and tastier than you’ll ever believe.
Finally, what are you looking forward to most about judging at the Decanter Asia Wine Awards?
A fantastic opportunity to be part of a team of judges who will shape the direction of the Asian wine industry.
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