Rencontre et portrait de Jeannie Cho Lee, première asiatique Master of Wine qui présente à l’occasion de Vinexpo Le Pan Magazine, son nouveau magazine dédié au vin et à l’art de vivre.
Dans l’effervescence de Vinexpo, sur le stand de Le Pan Magazine (retrouvez notre article complet à propos), une dégustation verticale de Cheval-Blanc était organisée. Des dizaines de verres alignés sur les tables attendent une petite foule d’amateurs, dont la plupart ne pourront déguster le nectar faute de s’être inscrit.
Jeannie est presque ponctuelle. Son mari attentif et bavard nous confie que le lancement du magazine sur Vinexpo est un succés mais que c’est un marathon.
Elle arrive après que son mari lui ait fait signe. Sa silhouette de modèle met en valeur son élégance et sa gentillesse rassure et met à l’aise. C’est l’effervescence. La dégustation verticale de Cheval-Blanc commence dans quelques minutes.
Jeannie, why the wine ? Why the Master of Wine ?
I started into the wine industry far before I passed the MW diploma. Actually when you do the MW you need a minimum of 5 years experience in the wine industry. So I have been writing about wine from a very long time. But before then, I was a buyer, a consumer, a lover of wine. And after the MW I never thought Hong-Kong and China will be such a big booming market for wine. So when this happened, I transformed my life and my career. I have been in Hong-Kong for 21 years already … I started to write for Wine Spectator in 97, I wrote for many other wine style publications over the last 20 years (Decanter, Revue du Vin, World of Fine Wine). So writing is not new for me, but coming into this, publishing on my own, that’s new because to do something so different and on your own is a new challenge.
With this new responsibility among your many others, will you still find time for asianpalate.com*?
Yes ! Well actually what is going to happen is that Asian Palate is going to merge together with Le Pan Media. And whatever I bring over, what I have done in past will be grown and brought to even a higher level because I believe that Le Pan Media, as a platform publishing, will be reaching a lot more people. And again, it’s not just me anymore, I was one person with Asian Palate, but now with Le Pan Media we are 6 Masters of Wine ; it’s a bigger platform and I think in this industry to grow into the influential you cannot be a single person.
It looks like somebody in Singapore* is going to be worried … ?
Oh ! I don’t think anyone needs to be worried because actually in the wine industry the market is growing very quickly and what we are doing is very different from lots of other people, you know. I step down as a contributing editor from Decanter and I am still best friends with Sarah Kemp who is the publishing director and the whole team. We try to reach beyond the same circle. As I said last night in my speech when I was presenting and launching the magazine, we want to build bridges towards outside of the familiar, same people who are reading the same trade magazines, already wine related.
Tomorrow, the readers of The Wine Advocate will be reading your magazine ?
I don’t know ! It could be a different person, not be the same. Because I think the person who read The Wine Advocate are actually already a wine geek. They are already very serious about wine.
I think they will be sophisticated, collectors, music lovers, they love food and wine, they are a little bit intimidated by Parker, by Decanter, and what this publication offers it’s a kind of openness, a new way of approaching wine that is more friendly, more visual – we take photography very seriously. We really want to present wine as an art form. And doing it from a very different way. It’s not just by points, like this wine is 100 points. Look and feel what’s the texture behind the wine. Wine is the beauty.
What will be the price, to compare with others international magazine ?
Oh I don’t want to compare with any others magazine… We will sell it around 49 Eur. It’s about Fine-Wine-Life-Style! It’s how to enjoy wine in the life style context to really appreciate what wine has to give but not just by it self because it has to be with food, with people with an environment, with music.
Where does the idea to create Le Pan Magazine come from?
It was my idea. M. Pan is the chairman of the holding company that is funding the project. He is obviously a wine lover, a wine drinker and he supports the idea. But he is actually the founder of electronics/real estate companies. He is much more business man. This idea and the philosophy are much more from me and publishing.
Will there be a French version of the magazine ?
We need to find a very good French publisher to partner with. And if we do, yes maybe we will potentially. I never close my mind to any idea. Everybody who has really an interest, that believes in what we are doing and understands the philosophy of quality – because quality is not just the quality of the wine we talk about, it’s quality experience of reading the magazine. You open and touch and feel the magazine, it’s a quality experience, it’s how you relate to that. And I think that’s where we try to be different. So it’s not just the content we have to present and communicate in a quality way.
* Asian Palate.com, is a website that celebrates authentic Asian cuisine and wine together
* Robert Parker sold its famous review The Wine Advocate to a Singapourian Group