20th Grand Wine Experience: More wines, spirits and libations this time around

“It will be grand ­— a lot grander,” Ralph Lim Joseph, Grand Wine Experience proponent and president of Ralph’s Wines and Spirits, revealed to DAILY TRIBUNE at the recent preview of the event that has been regarded as the country’s best and biggest of its kind.

The 20th Grand Wine Experience began as a small affair some 23 years ago, but rapidly grew into a yearly food and drink affair that drew more and more wine and spirits makers from around the world.

“Last time was over 700, this time over a thousand (labels),” Ralph added. “We also have about 40 houses of sake this time around. We’re talking about 24 to 25 countries. You’ll love the wines; they are top quality.”

Admittedly “not easy to set up — it’s a much bigger set-up than a good concert,” the Grand Wine Experience has taken a lot to prepare, but the Joseph brothers are only too happy to have its return after a three-year hiatus.

“It is a celebration of life, a toast to the future and a tribute to the past. It is a symbol of resilience, of how we can overcome adversity and emerge stronger and better,” said Normy Wang, Philippine Wine Merchants vice president for Retail Operations (Concession Department) at the event’s press preview held at Rustan’s Makati on Monday.

Explaining the year’s theme — Bud Break — was Ronnie Lim Joseph, operations director of Philippine Wine Merchants.

“Bud break is when the grapevine comes out from its dormancy. We connected it to what happened — the three years of the pandemic. There was fear and uncertainty. Some of us also had losses. But just like the grape cycle, there is always something to look forward to,” he said.

“This is the first stage of the grapevine’s annual cycle, when the dormant buds burst into life and produce new shoots. It is a critical time for the vineyard, as it determines the potential yield and quality of the grapes. It is also a beautiful sight, as the green leaves contrast with the brown branches and create a stunning landscape,” goes information provided by the company.

At the Grand Wine Experience 2023, happening on Friday, 17 November, at the Marriott Grand Ballroom, expect “over 1000 wines, spirits, sakes and beers from around the world, curated by experts and presented by renowned winemakers and distillers.”

“Do not eat for three days,” joked Ralph, because it will also be “a gastronomic playground, with exquisite dishes prepared by top chefs to complement the libations.”

The doors will open at 5 p.m. and the event will last until midnight. Reserve your tickets now and savor the good life in one indulgent night.

“Maybe next year my dream will come true — three days of Grand Wine!,” enthused Ralph with a laugh.

Let’s toast to that!