Wine-loving Singaporeans Engguan and Rennie Soh moved to Shanghai in 2004 – and immediately experienced a real buzzkill. “Wines are very expensive in China because they are classified as imported luxury items, and subjected to heavy taxes and retail mark-ups,” explains Engguan.
An engineer by training, Engguan travelled frequently for work. “It become my routine to carry back cases of wine,” he recalls.
In China for 10 years, the couple become quite adept at identifying good value wines – often planning family trips to notable vineyards in America, Australia and New Zealand. "We would do our research online before travelling so that we knew where to go and what to get."
Last year, when the pair returned to Singapore for good, they were shocked to realise that buying quality wine is just as costly here as it had been in China, due to the high alcohol tax.
Plus, they found that many of the wines they'd come to love weren't available in Singapore.
The idea to import bottles was born!
Below wholesale prices
The original goal: Simply enjoy the imported wine amongst large extended families and network of friends.
"But soon, friends' friends were keen, and we started taking orders, and it eventually led to this business," explains Engguan, who has a Wine Advisor certification.
Nowadays, running The Wine Stable is Engguan's full focus, seeking out "premium quality wines, which are lovingly handcrafted in boutique vineyards, mostly family-owned."
And he works hard to keep the prices low - about half of the bottles cost less than $30 each!
The trick? The company ships in large volumes, directly from the wineries, and covers just the transportation and storage costs. "Our wines are basically below wholesale prices," Engguan says. "For such prices, you can usually only get factory-quality wines in the supermarkets in Singapore."
The Wine Stable’s range of wines currently includes ones from Australia, New Zealand, Italy and Cyprus. “We are looking to expand the portfolio,” Engguan says. “California wines are coming next and then wines from Spain, Argentina and South Africa.”
Better still, The Wine Stable delivers the bottles straight to your home – absolutely free on orders of $100 or more.
If you place your order before 3 p.m., you can expect your wine to arrive the same day. (And you’ll likely get to meet Engguan, who delivers the wine himself!)
Is it wine o'clock yet?
Check out The Wine Stable's website for attractive offers, including mixed cases of wines starting at $130 for six bottles and $270 for 12.
“The ‘All Suave And Sauv’ half case is extremely popular – with six fabulous Sauvignon Blancs from New Zealand for $150,” Engguan says.
In addition, look out for festive season discounts such as Christmas Gift Packs, which are great to bring to parties.
From The Finder, November 2016