The annual Drinks Business Asia Awards were held in Singapore earlier this year, where the great and the good from drinks companies across the Asia Pacific market gathered to celebrate the region's high achievers.
"Links Concept stands out among wine distributors for its professional service, client support, and tailored wine-consultation services, delivered by an experienced team. Its dedication to excellence sets it apart from competitors in the industry," said the awards body, who also highlighted the extraordinary statistic of a 195% growth in revenue in the last year.
We caught up with one of the jewels in the crown of the Asian Wine Industry, Bojan Radulovic, General Manager of Links Concept, to discuss his success and our special relationship.
"It's always nice to get the recognition, especially when it comes from well-respected organization such as The Drinks Business," says Radulovic. "We feel extremely proud but remaining humble as we continue to realise our vision in the wine industry."
Radulovic's love for wine began at the age of 20 when he was starting out as a waiter in a luxury hotel. When offered the chance to take an introductory wine course, he snapped it up. Many wine industry stalwarts tell of taste sensations that beguiled them at an early age, but, interestingly, Radulovic was attracted to a different aspect. His was a more cerebral approach, which may have played a part in Radulovic's success and continued popularity in the business.
"I was hooked by the sheer amount of knowledge that you need to take on, especially related to history, geography, geology, chemistry and much more. I was amazed that there is an industry in which you will never be able to say, 'I know everything about it'. So I took that challenge, and I'm still on the journey."
So the journey continues, but what's around the corner?
"There are few challenges," he tells us. "But one of the fastest moving is global warming and climate change. I believe that certain important wine regions will need to consider exploring other grape varieties more suitable to new climate conditions."
He's certainly been proved right about that when you look at the new Bordeaux varietals that could see Portuguese grape Touriga Nacional gradually replace the early ripening Merlot grape in Bordeaux vineyards in years to come. Indeed, Bordeaux has long been a fascination for the Asian market. But Radulovic sees the landscape changing in a different way.
"I arrived in HK back in 2014, when I was told that Bordeaux is a historical market for HK and will never be able to change. For the past six years, I think Bourgogne wines definitely took over, and demand is constantly growing. I’m also glad to see that other, lesser known appellations of Bourgogne are more and more frequently presented to the market."
At Château de Pommard, we endorse regenerative agriculture in order to give greater and longer life to our vineyard and the vineyards of those around us. One of the ways we do that is by embracing organic and biodynamic winegrowing and winemaking. But how is that being understood in Hong Kong?
"I personally like the philosophy and understanding behind organic and biodynamic practices," asserts Radulovic. "Hong Kong is becoming a place where consumers are asking for it, however, I think many of the consumers are not 100% clear about the meaning of each category. In the future, I hope there will be more information provided through either media or workshops."
Winemakers need people like Bojan Radulovic fighting their corner, but what is it that attracted him to begin building a special relationship with our château? Pleasingly, the answer is manifold.
"It is a combination of few things. First must come the quality of the wines, following that you have the historical significance and status of the domaine, then you move into the present with a sustainable philosophy and the right kind of people."
Finally, he lets us in on his favorite plot/cuvée in our clos.
"It’s difficult to mention only one," he says. "I personally love 75 Rangs and Simone, but mostly, out of all the cuvées, I'm drinking the Monopole. I like the balance between intensity and elegance."