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Christina Ng
Mon, Jun 28, 2010
my paper
Everything's coming up roses for wine trader

WINE businessman Brad Ng not only stores his expensive stock in a self-storage space in Boon Keng, but he has also hosted a wine-tasting session there.

Mr Ng, 32, is the owner of Beautiful Wine, an import and distribution firm for fine wine, including those from Germany.

He runs his business, which he started in 2004, from a 350 sq ft - about the size of a studio apartment - office at the hotel Parkroyal on Beach Road, and rents self-storage space from Extra Space Self Storage.

The Boon Keng facility of Extra Space has 249 storage units out of 1,233 devoted to wine storage, with humidity and temperature controls.

Vintage wine needs to be stored under specific conditions, with the best temperature ranging from 16 to 18 deg C, said Mr Ng.

"The temperature (at Extra Space) is maintained at a constant 13 degrees, which is good for long-term storage," he said.

These strict criteria for wine storage are especially important for his stock of German riesling wines, some of whose top brands are carried by his company exclusively.

"Riesling wines are well-known for their balance between sweetness and acidity. They are very sensitive wines. If there's a fluctuation in the temperature, they will lose their balance," said Mr Ng.

"I need a space that provides specific characteristics like what I have here."

Mr Ng rents a 19 sq ft space - about the size of a passenger lift - to store 60 cases of German riesling wines and various vintage wines. He pays $180 a month for the service.

He is considering doubling the rented space as his business grows.

The company's office in Beach Road operates more like a showroom, which he said is not conducive for him to stock cases of wines.

The self-storage's 24-hour access is another attractive factor for Mr Ng - he could visit his storage space whenever he wants to, such as when new stock arrives in the morning at 2am.

He said: "I'll just hop over here and store them immediately (after they have been delivered).

"We are given a PIN which allows us to come and go as and when necessary. I've come by here around midnight a few times."

During his late-night visits, Mr Ng has come across private collectors who retrieve their wine from the storage facility for private parties.

As a wine connoisseur himself, he appreciates the convenience of being able to take a bottle of wine out of storage any time of the day.

He also likes the idea of being able to host wine-tasting sessions at a wine lounge located near where he stores his bottles.

"The environment is ideal, you just need to book the place in advance," he said.

ncherhui@sph.com.sg

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