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A Work Week With Murray Lang - Export Manager Asia Pacific of Nyetimber – English Sparking Wines

How does Murray Lang make his week sparkle?

 

MONDAY

After a busy weekend discovering some new hiking trails in Hong Kong with my wife and son, I feel refreshed and ready to tackle another busy week! Although I have lived in Hong Kong for many years, there is still so much to discover, and it’s even more fun with my toddler in tow.

I work from Central Hong Kong and on Monday I start with checking my e-mails and get set up for the week. It’s a tough Monday (I jest!), which I kick off with a catch up with my good friend Cary Docherty, who recently joined The Lobster Bar & Grill at the Island Shangri-la as Executive Chef. I’ve known Cary for some time, and it’s great to see him heading the team at a Hong Kong restaurant institution that suits him so well. I’m very lucky that my job incorporates so much of what I am passionate about: great people, amazing foods, and, of course, fantastic wines! Over a delicious lunch of crab toast, lobster Thermidor and Bakewell tart (I know!), I introduced some of Cary’s new colleagues to Nyetimber.

Whilst global recognition for English Sparkling Wine is growing, there’s still a long way to go in terms of educating audiences, particularly outside of England, on its merits, and that’s a huge part of my role. English Sparkling Wine is a relatively new category with huge potential. Nyetimber are the pioneers of it and have been around since the late 80s and in that time English sparkling wine has come on leaps and bounds. It’s fantastic for me to be part of its growth in Asia, having joined Nyetimber in 2018 following the hottest British summer on record, which resulted in the brand having their biggest ever harvest. Since then, I have acted as an ambassador for the brand in the region, managing the strategic positioning by engaging with Asia's most illustrious restaurants and wine influencers, who have a growing appetite for English Sparkling Wine.

Nyetimber are currently the only English wine house to have someone based in Asia, which means I not only fly the flag for the brand but also for English Sparkling wine as a whole, and is testament to our belief in the region for the growth of English Sparkling wine as a category.

 

TUESDAY

I have lived across various parts of Asia for more than half of my life and I actually grew up in Japan, so this is naturally one of the countries I am most excited about developing the brand in. I start today with an early breakfast with my son before heading down to the office for a call with our distribution partner in Tokyo, TYC Wines. I usually fly to Japan at least twice a month, but that hasn't happened recently for obvious reasons, so most of my catch ups with our distributors in the region now happen over the ever-ubiquitous Zoom. Since launching Nyetimber at the British Embassy in Tokyo late last year, the brand has been excellently received, and we are proud to be served in some fantastic hotels, restaurants, wine bars and private member's clubs as well as several luxury department stores.

Thanks to its thriving population of discerning foodies and extremely well educated and informed wine lovers, Japan is a market with huge potential for our brand, so, alongside our distribution and marketing teams based there, I have a lot of work to do. One of my favourite elements of my role is meeting industry experts across the world and hearing their own takes on our range of wines and how they pair with different local cuisines. Because of its light, delicate and refined nature, with an emphasis on fresh seasonal produce, Japanese cuisine pairs wonderfully with sparkling wines. I have had the chance to taste our Classic Cuvee with incredibly fresh sushi and sashimi, our Rosé with wagyu beef, the Cuvee Chérie with sweet river eel and our 1086 wines with some incredibly fresh seafood. Champagne is still extremely dominant in Japan, but because wine-lovers in Japan stay so well informed about up and coming regions and producers of wine, Nyetimber and English Sparkling wine is starting to challenge this.

WEDNESDAY

Today I have a day of Instagram Lives… First I am joining Vinodhan Veloo – Head Sommelier at Cloudstreet Singapore – in an Instagram Live session, where we will be discussing the English Sparkling Wine industry as a whole, and more specifically, how Nyetimber has been received globally.

Cloudstreet are just one of many wonderful restaurants serving Nyetimber in Singapore and their team is a pleasure to work with. They are actually the only restaurant in Asia to have back vintages of our Blanc de Blancs - the 1996, 2003 and 2007 (in Magnum). Blanc de Blancs was the first style of wine produced by Nyetimber in 1992, so it’s naturally a very special wine for us and pairs beautifully with Chef Rishi's food.

One of the topics that comes up on our IG Live is how English Sparkling Wines compare with Champagne. We strive to be one of the best wineries in the world, and what we are doing challenges Champagne in a way not done before. In 2018, our Head Winemaker, Cherie Spriggs, was not only the first woman, but also the first person outside of the Champagne region to be named Winemaker of the Year.

 

 

THURSDAY

After an exciting catch-up with our Distribution and PR teams in Singapore about some upcoming plans for the brand, I am looking forward to enjoying lunch at Roganic with another wine industry friend of mine. Roganic is the Hong Kong edition of British chef Simon Rogan's growing Michelin starred empire in the UK. The team, headed up by Ash Salmon and Oli Marlow, put an emphasis on local ingredients, drawing inspiration from a contemporary style of British cooking…which suits me down to the ground. I genuinely don't think you can get better value for money for lunch in Hong Kong and always enjoy my visits here.

Naturally, Roganic serves our brand’s Blanc de Blancs on their menu, so we are able to enjoy a glass alongside our lunch, and it pairs excellently with their roast chicken dish with fresh locally grown greens.

I get back to the office to check and respond to my e-mails for a few hours before finishing my day with a quiet glass of Nyetimber at Caprice Bar in the Four Seasons Hotel with one of my favourite sommeliers in town, Mr Victor Petiot.

FRIDAY

A large part of my job is keeping ahead of upcoming restaurant, bar, and hotel openings in Asia, which means that I am close to the action and know a lot of people in what is a relatively small industry where everyone seems to know each other. On Thursdays or Fridays, I usually take some time to visit a couple of venues that I may not have been to before and introduce myself to them, if I don't know them already.

So, I start the day with an early morning breakfast meeting with our HK distributor to discuss our strategy over the coming months and assess our progress and targets, and after catching up on some emails and following up on various meetings that have taken place throughout the week, I head out with a couple of bottles of our finest and plenty of name cards.

 

 

 


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