Ride-sharing, booking flights and accommodations, reserving restaurant and cinema seats, getting authenticated NSO certificates – the advent of convenience at your fingertips has come. Discovering good quality wines online and having them delivered? Wine-not!

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The http://www.winery.ph site draws you in with its sleek and bold interface design and easy navigation

During an un-wine-ding session at Society Lounge Makati one Wednesday night in August, Winery Philippines formally opened its “Cellar Doors” to the country. The first curated online wine marketplace in the country founded in 2016 by Aussie celebrity chef, Chris Urbano, takes on a different business model. One wherein the overhead costs of the brick and mortar wine stores are eliminated, making the prices of wines imported from the U.S.A. and Australia more affordable to more Filipinos.

Finding wine in supermarkets, restaurants or bars may not be too difficult a task. Although the experience with Winery Philippines does not stop at merely selecting and purchasing the wine. The company also aims to grow and develop a community of wine lovers who can discuss and share their passion at events both online and offline. Through this community where members are aptly called #kavinos, chairman and founder Chris Urbano envisions to get a pulse of other value-for-money wines from all around the world he can source and sell. In the event, he also teased into an upcoming selection from Spain which got the vino enthusiasts excited.

Learning about wines need not be intimidating as the site has a comprehensive description of the different wines they carry. It includes a “Learn About Wine” section with weekly tips, tutorials, and a newsletter for pros and newbies alike. Curation, Value, Community, and Guaranteed Satisfaction are the 4 things that make them different from other distributors. “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” says Urbano, as he closed his presentation.

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Winery Philippines offers a full range of red, white, and sparkling wines from all over the world. We were fortunate enough to excite our taste buds with their bestsellers paired with an extensive food selection.

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The NICA Sauvignon Blanc (PHP 820) from California was a good palate opener served with two types of croquettes; Croquetas de Jamon Serrano which had a more aggressive saltiness doused with a spicy tomato sauce, and a sweeter more refined Prawn Croquettes in Lobster Sauce. The fresh and bright wine rounded the audacious flavors of the appetizers and brought a lively finish as contrast to the crisp yet velvety filling of the potato dishes.

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The original recommendation for the next dish was the crisp and fruity Chrismont Riesling 2015 (PHP 830) made of white grape varieties from King Valley, Australia. The menu was seemingly askew but had gone traditional by pairing the Pinchos Morunos (Pork Tenderloin Skewers) with Cartlidge & Browne Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 (PHP 1,140) off the North Coast of the US. The convention is to pair red meat with a red wine, and of the three reds served that night, this Cab Sauv had the fullest flavor which can stand up to the heavily spiced, Mediterranean-inspired dish. Every dark and punchy sip can only highlight the complex charred bite of the pinchos. This is a good table wine for dinners that would go well with hearty meat or poultry preparations. Think along the lines of chicken peri-peri and beef churrascos!

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The next spread was a trio of toasts. Chorizo and quail eggs reminiscent of breakfast, sautéed mushrooms with gratinated cheese and aioli, and roasted chicken rillete with tangy gherkin.

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The earthy notes of the assortment is the perfect foil to the Philip Shaw Architect Chardonnay 2015 (PHP 990) from Orange, Australia. This chardonnay has a medium body that complements meaty flavors without overshadowing the grassy and green notes inherent to the wine. It also has a more floral aroma compared to the earlier Sauvignon Blanc which could also go well with seafood dishes like baked snapper in lemon and butter.

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The penultimate wine was the Chrismont Lazona Barbera 2014 (PHP 1,350) from King Valley, Australia. In case you still haven’t noticed, most of the wines showcased comes from Australia as it also pays homage to the Chef Chris’ roots. Compared to the American Cab Sauv, this red comes from a different grape variety planted in the southern hemisphere making it less heavy, less tannic and less astringent – a beautiful complement to a zesty Puttanesca. The flavors of this wine with higher acidity is literally the perfect pair for any tomato-based dish, whether it be a stew, pasta, or pizza.

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The night ended toasting to bubbly glasses of their Chrismont Prosecco NV (PHP 970) also from King Valley, Australia. Definitely a personal favorite evidenced by filling up twice over because of our penchant for sparkling wines which make any moment a bit more celebratory. Not sweet but hinting of honey, this is definitely drier than more common brands, but still light in body. A very good entry-level Prosecco that is highly recommend for any celebration.

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Are you ready to drink better? Order your first bottle online and be part of the community as you do a virtual tour of American and Australian vineyards by signing up at http://www.winery.ph.

For more information, you may reach out to them at info@winery.ph and follow them on Instagram @wineryph.

-Mia Aguila and Roki Ferrer (The Foodie Station Correspondents)