Saturday, April 24, 2010

Murdoch James Estate in Vietnam - Part 2

Have been in Hong Kong a few days now promoting Murdoch James Estate wines, after leaving Hanoi on Wednesday last.

Vietnam was a great country to visit, and the contrast between Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi was dramatic.The former, bustling and growing fast, but with that change a lot of history has gone. Hanoi by contrast still has it's 'Old Town' with narrow streets and leafy avenues, plus it's famous cathedral. It is still growing fast, but in a more controlled manner. The local people we great, very friendly and helpful, while the restaurants served excellent food and were great value for money. One example: two course lunch with two beers for just NZ$12!  The roadside food stalls were even better value and exciting to experment with.

I did have to pay special attention to the currency though. One NZ$ = 13,800 Vietnamese Dong, so not uncommon to get bills for many hundred thousand Dong! One evening meal for 4 of us was Dong 1,300,000. Scary, until you divide by 13,800 and realise that is only NZ$100!

On the business side, the trip has gone well, and we hope to have a distributor for Murdoch James Estate wines in Vietnam in the not too distant future. I was amazed to see how popular red wnes were compared to whites. In a hot climate with a cuisine that is subtle and delicate, drinking red wines seemed odd, yet I am told over 85-90% of all wines consumed are reds. While in Hanoi, we did a tasting for the wine trade at the Hanoi Lakeside Intercontinental; what a stunning hotel! I have put a lot of images of the hotel, on our Facebook page, so log on and view them - I think I'm a reasonable photographer actually, but don't be afraid to tell me otherwise! If you do a search on Facebook for Murdoch James Estate you'll find us.Or copy and paste the shortened URL that follows:

Meantime, here's is an image to wet your appetit, it is a world class hotel with an amazing design.

AsI flew out to Hong Kong, I was thinking that there is plenty of room for me to grow Murdoch James Estate wine sales in Vietnam, but it won't be easy. Taxes on wines are over 100%, there is huge competition from Chile and Australia and beverage consumption is only slowing swinging away from whisky and cognac. The big hotels like this will be an important target market, as will the coastal tourist resorts; and I'll certainly need to come back!


  1. It's been great to catch up with all that's been happening in your world of wine. I was wondering today how your harvest went and now I know! Thanks also for the insight into international marketing and business development of your wines. It's a good reminder that your business is not all about idyllic views of vines and quaffing a few glasses. Hope that your trip to Asia pays off.

  2. Hi. Nice to know you are interested. Harvest this year is tiny, but lovely quality. One year we'll get both!

    Asia is very exciting for NZ wine - UK and USA are stuffed after the GEC (global economic crisis) and we have sent nothing there for 18 months (exchange rate does not help either) - so I am focussing on our closer neighbours.