Wine for Dragons

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Monday, January 08, 2007

Wine Personality : Dr N K Yong – Food and Wine Gourmet

There was a newspaper article in the Chinese zaobao on wine and food gourmet Dr N K Yong, he writes frequently to the Straits Times and Business Times advising on food and wine. I have attempted to translate excerpts of the article into English, but I am not the most prolific person in Chinese, so I do apologize if there are some mistakes or misrepresentations which I cannot be liable for.

Dr N K Yong is a wine and food gourmet, but besides enjoying the high life, he also advocates caring for the less fortunate in society. Therefore, he is taking the opportunity during his 80th birthday celebrations to donate to three charitable organizations. This February 2007, 62 world renowned wine makers and owners will gather in Singapore to celebrate our country’s best known wine gourmet Dr N K Yong’s 80th birthday. And at the same time do their bit for charity. This event is believed to be this region’s most important fine wine event of the year. Dr N K Yong says that his birthday is originally in August, he brought forward the event in order to accommodate the schedules of the wine makers and owners. He stresses that the purpose of the event is not solely to celebrate his birthday, but also to showcase Singapore to these renowned wine makers and owners, and entice them to promote their wines here. During the three day event, charitable wine auctions will be conducted by Serena Sutcliffe, with the benefits going to the Kidney Dialysis Foundation, the Singapore Children’s Society and Dover Park Hospices.

Dr N K Yong retired from the medical profession in 2004, allowing him more time to pursue his wine interests. He takes at least two wine vacations per year and travels around the world to visit the vineyards and wine-making facilities. Not only does he meet up with old friends who are wine-makers, he also takes the opportunity to stock up his wine cellar. Dr N K Yong recalls that his first bottle of wine during that time cost less than 20 dollars. During University, when he had drinks with classmates at bars, he started off with beer and hard liquor, but he didn’t enjoy them. It was later when he graduated that his interest in wine gained paced. He admits that his interest in fine wines developed at a late stage, unlike people now who at a young age have cultivated an interest in wines. He is supportive of this trend and has a suggestion for those who think wines are unapproachable or complicated. “No matter what expertise or knowledge is learnt step by step. Start off with the inexpensive wines first and try as many as possible. As you mature and improve your income levels, naturally you will have the opportunity to taste fine wines across the world and build up your experience.”

In Dr N K Yong’s mind, a bottle of good wine needs to reflect the grape type, the terroir and the wine’s individuality, and exudes the honesty in the vines and wine maker. “Now with modern technology, wine can be easily produced to suit the global taste. But in the 40s, without the use of technology, the entire wine making process was very natural.” He is worried that with the prevalent use of technology in wine-making, the true essence of the wine making process maybe lost.

It is well-known that Dr N K Yong has a huge wine cellar, and the reason for it being so huge is because it had been converted from an Olympic sized swimming pool in 1997. The cellar is two meters deep and houses an array of fine wines from all over the world. When asked how many bottles of wine are in the cellar, Dr N K Yong couldn’t answer as he had lost count. The reporter saw many bottles of wines dating in the 40s, 50s and 60s with the oldest being 1935.

For the Chinese Original version, please read


  • At 4:32 PM, Blogger Wine said…

    Thanks for sharing and posting at

  • At 1:52 PM, Blogger DesDragon said…

    No problem! Glad to be of help!

  • At 9:14 AM, Blogger pat said…

    i'm so glad it takes someone as passionate as you are to do this translation. i came across the Zaobao version whilst visiting Singapore recently.
    btw, the link didn't take me to the chinese article. do you mind emailing a soft copy if you have it?
    great job in the translation and many thanks!

  • At 10:54 AM, Blogger DesDragon said…


    Thanks for the encouragement, I was and reading the article so I thought I would translate it and put on the blog, since they said it was an exclusive interview with zaobao.
    Here is the link to the article

    For the Chinese Original version, please read

    Check out too.

  • At 10:54 AM, Blogger DesDragon said…



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