The Hong Kong Wine & Dine Festival, organized by the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB), is back to the city this year amid the pandemic. Instead of the normal four-day festival, the event will be lasting for weeks with an “online + offline” format for the first time ever.
Originally scheduled for 29 October to 1 November, the Wine &Dine festival is not running as planned for the second year in a row. In 2019, the annual festival was cancelled due to the ongoing protests in the city. This year, the festival has shifted its location from its iconic site at the Central Harbourfront to a hybrid format that allows people to participate in the event virtually from November 11 to December 15.
The hybrid format includes events both online and offline, enabling not only the audience in Hong Kong but food lovers abroad to take part in the event together, without any geographical nor time constraints.
The virtual events feature Online Wine Cellars, live-streamed cooking and wine-tasting masterclasses, and Gourmet at Home on a one-stop online platform at the Wine & Dine official site.
The Online Wine Cellars offers hundreds of both local and overseas wine and liquor brands at a discounted price, with festival-exclusive promotion codes and half-price offers available. While the other virtual marketplace, Gourmet at Home, provides up to 30 sets and menus designed by world-class hotels and restaurants in Hong Kong for epicures to enjoy the dishes at home, with home delivery and pick-up services provided.
Highlights of the Gourmet at Home
Starting from November 21, the festival offers a variety of complimentary wine-tasting and cooking masterclasses produced by 34 industry experts for three consecutive Saturdays and Sundays. Celebrity chefs, food and wine critics, and sommeliers will be live-streaming to introduce a wide series of topics, with themes including recent trends of wine and spirits, healthy eating, and the art of food plating.
For offline experiences in Hong Kong this year, the Wine & Dine festival has included exclusive deals and gastronomic events offered by over five hundred dining outlets across the city for customers to enjoy. The list of restaurants ranges from Michelin-starred restaurants to street food eateries.
“Although the HKTB’s mega-events have been suspended for some time, we are drawing on our ingenuity and resources to optimize and adapt promotions against the backdrop of a pandemic,” said Dr. YK Pang, the chairman of HKTB. “That’s why we have decided to resume the staging of mega-events, and adopt a new ‘online + offline’ format for the Hong Kong Wine & Dine Festival 2020. It is a new venture designed for the new normal in which we find ourselves.”
Since the launch of the event in 2009, the annual festival has been attracting over 140,000 visitors every year, presenting more than 400 wine and food booths from wineries, restaurants and brands from different regions around the globe. The virtual event will allow merchants to continue taking part in the event and promote their products through the online platform.
“Our objective is to continue giving the Hong Kong economy a boost and to send out a positive message to the world that Hong Kong’s can-do spirit and love of life have not been dampened in any way by the pandemic,” Dr. Pang mentioned. “We can use our innovation to stage our signature events while we prepare to welcome visitors back to our city.”
The Hong Kong Wine & Dine is not the first food festival that has gone online this year. In August, the Singapore Food Festival (SFF) also had to celebrate its 27th edition with a virtual mode. The event also featured online masterclasses, virtual food tours and limited edition food bundles.
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