Toast  to the return of Grand Wine Experience

In wine pairing, the generally accepted rule is that reds are to be paired with “dark” food like red meat, while whites are ideal with light fares like fish and salads.

“It’s still a good rule – white with white, red with red,” said Ronald Lim Joseph, director of Finance and Operations of Ralph’s Wines and Spirits and a veritable encyclopedia of wine varieties. “But the rule now is to pair bodies with bodies – so, white wine with delicate flavors, medium-bodied with medium flavors and so on.”

The Joseph brothers and some of their children, with supportive spouses, of course, once again hosted a lively lunch to launch the 20th Grand Wine Experience at the newest and biggest brand of Ralph’s, located at Mitsukoshi Mall in BGC.

This outlet serves Italian and Japanese fare that one may pair with any of the wines from Ralph’s.

“Has it been 20 years?,” I asked a similarly awestruck Melissa de Leon-Joseph, Ron’s wife.

“We started out with just maybe a few hundred varieties of wines,” she mused.

Today, one of the grandest of Food and Beverage events in the country has evolved into “more than just a wine and spirits event. 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,” the event originators declare in a statement.

On its 20th year, the event will, indeed, be “more special,” Ron says. “Every year, we try to introduce new wines from new regions, from the regions that we bring in. This year, expect new wines from Portugal, Israel and new regions from Italy. We want our friends to discover new places and new flavors.”

The last Grand Wine Experience was held in 2019, but the pandemic prevented them from holding it in the succeeding three years. The theme then was “Generations,” a nod to winemaking as among the oldest trades in the world. “It’s passed on from generation to generation. This year, we want the new generations to join.”

This year’s theme is “Bud Break, which captures the essence of renewal and optimism,” adds information from Philippine Wine Merchants.

Bud break, PWM adds, “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.”

Just like this blossoming season, Grand Wine Experience returns to bring back a sense of appreciation for all the good things in life that people missed over the course of the pandemic.

the Philippine Wine Merchants leaders (from left): Robert Ian Joseph, director for Sales and Marketing; Raymond Joseph, president and CEO;Ralph Joseph, Rea Joseph- Gonzales, Rafael Joseph, director of Finance and Operations Ronnie Joseph and Sales executive Redmond Joseph.

Drink to be merry
The Grand Wine Experience promises more of what regulars have come to expect of the event. On its much-awaited return, “the largest and most prestigious event of its kind in Southeast Asia, featuring over 1,000 wines, spirits, sakes and beers from around the world, curated by experts and presented by renowned winemakers and distillers” will no doubt welcome more of the new generation of Filipino wine and spirits market.

More to watch out for are the “exquisite dishes prepared by top chefs to complement the libations,” surely a sensory delight from the chefs of Marriott Manila.

The 20th Grand Wine Experience will take place on 17 November at the Marriott Grand Ballroom. The doors will open at 5 p.m. and the event will last until midnight.
Tickets are limited and have always sold out fast, so don’t miss this chance to experience some of the finer things in life.

“We drink to be merry, not to get drunk,” quips the Josephs, once again reiterating that the best part of celebration is enjoying the food and drink, but more so the company and conversation.