Wine Blog

December 1, 2015

It has been two long years since my last trip to Asia for PrimeCellar so I was even more excited than usual. My trip started with a midnight flight Monday on China Air direct to Taipei; it was a rough


flight with lots of turbulence so sleeping was difficult. After a transfer to Hong Kong I arrive Tuesday at the Regal Hotel in HK and my room of course is not ready. So I head out in the heat of the day with wobbling legs up Hennessy Rd. for a few hours of window shopping from Causeway Bay to Central and back.

I finally get in my room, grab a quick workout and I’m off to “Under the Bridge” for some famous Spicy Crab. No rest for the wicked on Wednesday as PrimeCellar welcomed members of the Hong Kong Sommelier Association for a “Taste of California” at the fine Yee Tung Heen located in the Excelsior Hotel. We are now our 8th year of business in Hong Kong and after greeting ever...

November 1, 2015

Wine lovers around the world will be very pleased with the 2015 vintage from California and Bordeaux. It does not happen often that the more difficult growing season occurred in California, but that was the case in 2015 with both regions reporting outstanding quality. Below are the candid comments from my friends, the winemakers and growers that lived thru the entire vintage and we will start in California.


Mike Lamborn from Lamborn Family reports from Howell Mountain 1600 feet above the Napa Valley floor: Howdy Ralph. I call 2015 a "quirky" growing year. Early bud break, cool LONG bloom, and fruit set was awful (75% loss for some) for many. We were off 10-15% tonnage wise with the Zinfandel, but the Cabernet Sauvignon had no shatter and was average in tonnage.

From a growers perspective the fruit was good, however it's the chemistry which will matter in the final analysis...

September 1, 2015


Customers have asked me this question over and over again for a few decades now; if you could choose just one wine to drink on your last day of life and last dinner what would it be? My answer is any vintage of Ch. Latour.




During my almost 40 years in the wine business I have been blessed to visit, taste and enjoy many of the world’s greatest wines. Some of my most memorable have been 1982 Cheval Blanc, 1982 and 1986 Mouton Rothschild, 1986 Ch. Margaux, 1982 Pichon Comtesse de Lalande  and the entire line of 1985 DRC wines. These are all legendary wines that I would love to drink on my last day, but because of my experience with the great wines of Ch. Latour, Latour trumps them all. At a Ch. Latour dinner in San Francisco in one evening we enjoyed 1985, 82, 70, 61, 59, 58 and 1945. That tasting alone is a life changer!


We have a close relationship with Ch. Latour and its p...

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Reflections on a Quick Trip to Asia…

December 1, 2015

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Mr. Ralph Sands

Wine Consultant

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Hong Kong


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Hong Kong Pioneer, California Wine Specialist, Napa Valley, Sonoma County, USA Wine, Prime Cellar Hong Kong