“The best part about e-commerce is how it has turned into an emotional journey for consumers. It lets them find, know, and connect with products they love through the easiest means possible.” – Chris Urbano, Chairman and Founder of Winery Philippines
When I told my husband that I was working on an article about Filipino speaking Aussie chef Chris Urbano’s new adventure, he delightedly told me, “OMG, the dude who made adobo with, what on earth was that that nobody in Manila knew about… Vegemite? He’s incredibly funny.”
Indeed, most of us have heard about him through humorous videos about his gastronomic and cultural adventures as a “foreignoy” in the Philippines, but what most people probably don’t know is that, apart from his passion about all things Pinoy, (his Maputing Cooking YouTube channel, which seeks to bring Filipino food on the global stage, is a huge hit), he is also a massive wino.
Fuelled by an intense thirst (pun intended) to source excellent wines to go with the “simple… But (of the) highest quality” food, Urbano has launched what I personally call an “introvert wino’s dream come true”: Winery Philippines, the Philippines’ first online global “cellar door”. The site promises convenience, good quality value for money wine with accessible information to boot (he also warned me about how “dangerous” the site was, admittedly I can see myself getting hooked… Much to the chagrin of my credit card).
As a fellow hardcore Manila wino, however, Winery Philippines excites me for the following reasons:
- Curated Collection – At the moment, the wines featured on the site are carefully selected from the US and Australia, but they promise to offer more from other regions soon. What I like about it is that the wines they have are not available in supermarkets and are screened for quality before it goes on the site.
I asked Urbano about how he selects his wine and he said that it’s a combination of crunching numbers (the guy did graduate summa cum laude in the Australian National University with a degree in Economics and Asian Studies, so he does know what he’s talking about), discerning quality, and researching relevant ratings. From there he determines whether or not the difference of what he defines as “fair value” (his perceived price) and actual value is sufficient enough to source the wines.
I admit I’m oversimplifying the process versus Urbano’s actual answer, but I’d like to keep a little bit of mystery while assuring readers that his procedure is quite meticulous. At the end of it all, the consumer is guaranteed a stonking good wine. To quote Urbano, “But really my job in picking wines, is that when people sip it they think, ‘wow, this is a great wine for the price paid. 800 pesos with Winery is WAAY better value than what I’d get at the supermarket.”
This must be why I was so stoked when I found Decoy Pinot Noir, one of my all time favorites from Sonoma, in their selection. I haven’t seen it outside of the West Coast and I’ve been craving for it since December 2015. #sated
- Boutique Wines – Most people define “boutique wine” as wine coming from small production (often artisanal) wineries. I have a predilection for those kinds of wine the same reason why some people like hand-made products: The labor, attention to detail, and rarity. I love that part of Winery Philippines’ thrust is to source wines from these mini estates and from lesser-known regions, such as The Idiot Shiraz from Orange, Australia (confession: I’ve never had wine from Orange, so it would be my first time when I get my bottle!).
- Convenience – One of the strangest things about me is that I’m an IT graduate, married to a multinational tech company bigwig, and I blog, but I’m a huge technophobe. I only started online shopping last year (and only because it was something I needed to learn for my French class… My husband teases my French teacher about my online shopping habits now), and I tend to find it daunting.
Winery Philippines is easy to navigate, the curated selection doesn’t make it overwhelming, and the descriptions are pretty spot-on (I tend to be merciless when wine descriptions are incorrect).
They’re also very particular about giving the best service possible. True to that promise, they immediately communicated with me upon ordering, and I got my wines less than 48 hours after I placed my order (talk about instant wine gratification).
- Kavino Education – I like the #kavino hashtag they made to pertain to the “passionate drinkers” of the Philippines, plus the fact that they provide relevant information on wines on their site. They also conduct events to further establish a wine community (where all levels of wine enthusiasts are welcome).
With that, I highly recommend the site for every Manila wine enthusiast’s vino needs (on top of my blog, of course!). Who knows, maybe we’ll collaborate soon… After all, we’re all about wine education (and having fun while we’re at it). Cheers!
Purchase well-curated, excellent value for money wines from www.winery.ph
Special thanks to Chris Urbano and Andrea Villa of Winery Philippines