When I was a university student traveling through Europe, a budding foodie in search of my next flavor discovery, I stumbled upon wine. I was humbled by the wine world's complex language and an entire new realm opened up to me. I was mesmerized by wine – not just because of its complex flavors that are mercurial and fleeting but because intuitively, I sensed that wine was alive. It is connected to the earth, swaying to the rhythm of nature and reflecting the spirit of the people behind it and the culture surrounding it. All of this, in just one sip.
My traditional Korean upbringing meant venturing into the wine industry was not an option I considered while I was a student. But life has a way of bringing you back to what you love and I found myself in the wine industry, first as a writer, then an author and later as a wine critic, editor, publisher and finally in 2008, becoming a Master of Wine. All along the way, my loving and generous family tolerated my indulgence and to them I owe huge thanks.
What really makes me happy, besides spending time with my family and friends, is being able to turn people on to wine. Now, I spend as much time teaching, hosting wine and food television programs and speaking, or should I say preaching, to people about why wine is so wonderful and how it can transform your life. It helps slow down meals, I say. You can reach palate orgasm when you find that perfect food and wine pairing! You can become closer to cultures and places far away without ever having left your dining room. Plus, it tastes great and it makes you relaxed and happy. What more can you ask for?
I was not born into a wine family nor did I grow up drinking wine or ever live near a wine region. If I can learn this, I say, so can you! Wine is a life enhancer, just like food. We need to eat every day, so why not make the most of every meal and enjoy it, with wine of course. My wine gospel goes something like this: Life is short and what makes life worth living are the people close to you and the time you spend with them. Bring wine into your life and it makes time and meals slow down; it may even make time stand still. And that is what makes wine more than just a fermented alcoholic beverage in a bottle.
I started to give ratings to wine starting in 1992 when I started my wine diaries. These notes were meant just for me and I never imagined then that my wine ratings would ever be published anywhere. I always found the 100 point system very helpful especially when I review my previous notes of wines tasted five or ten years ago. Often when I taste wines now, the number surfaces even before the words start to form in my mind.
Even before falling in love with food and eventually wine, my first love was writing. When I announced to my parents at the age of 10 that I wanted to be a writer when I grew up, they replied, "That is a nice hobby dear, but that is not a real profession." But I never stopped writing and when I am not writing for magazines, newspapers or online sites I am writing journals to my daughters. To read my latest views and articles about wine, food, trends and more, click here. To buy my books in English, Chinese or Korean, click here.
My father's ambition for me was to be a University professor and when I told him I was appointed in 2012 as Professor at Wine at the Polytechnic University's School of Hotel and Tourism Management, he was even more thrilled than I was. I really enjoy teaching and get a thrill when my students' eyes light up because of a new wine discovery.
Interested in wine business and management? Check out the Master of Science in International Wine Management that I helped to launch in 2015 and currently teach here.
When TVB approached me about hosting a weekly wine program, In Vino Veritas, in early 2014, I was honored but apprehensive. I was interviewed numerous times but I was never the host! I learned the meaning of pithy and how to do five retakes and each time do it with equal enthusiasm as if it is my first time. I have a newfound respect for all entertainers in television and film.
To watch TVB Pearl's In Vino Veritas, follow this link or download this app: mytvb.com.
Speaking about food and wine takes me around the world. Here is a link to my upcoming events as well as previous ones. You might also enjoy my Ted Talk about how wine keeps you healthy, humble and slim.
I have worked with many fine wine companies throughout my career, as educational consultant, fine wine specialist and advisor to companies such Watson's Wine, Ficofi and Berry Brothers & Rudd. I have created award-wininng wine lists for numerous hotels and restaurants, always mindful of the cuisine, the ambience and the guest profile unique to each venue. On occasion, I also help to create dream cellars, host bespoke events and create memorable wine events.
This is pure indulgence – creating a set of wine glasses that not only meets my functional expectations, but makes me smile because they are so beautiful and elegant. A big thank you to Inhesion and Spiegelau for being such great partners and for allowing my creativity to run free.
To download the wine glass and decanter brochure, click here. To place an order, email or Call +852 2415 9288