Guest blogger Kate tells us about her experience of attending a Wine Tasting in complete darkness in Mei Foo…
Dialogue in the Dark originated in Germany as a way of bringing the experience of a visually impaired person to the general public. They run a variety of programmes and events aimed at cultivating an understanding of disability, and of educating wider society in an innovative and memorable way. It is in this spirit that DiD have set up their centre in Mei Foo, and are now bringing new activities to their exhibition space.
In addition to DiD’s regular exhibition events, Wine Tasting in the Dark, in partnership with Wines Connect is a unique and fascinating way to explore the impact that vision has on our other senses, and to experience in a very small way some of the challenges that someone faces when deprived of their sight.
Conducted in a pitch-black room, without even the tiniest sliver of light, your visually impaired guide helps you to your seat and serves you a variety of different wines, all by touch and sound alone. A lack of awareness of your surroundings forces you to concentrate on other senses, and your smell, touch and taste become paramount in identifying and evaluating the wines on offer. It becomes impossible to project any preconceptions based on what we see alone, and enhances the enjoyment of the wine. A wine expert from Wines Connect is on hand to talk you through the varieties and tasting notes are provided afterwards. You are encouraged to ask plenty of questions and to learn as much as you can about the wines on offer.
One of the most interesting parts of the experience is the opportunity to chat with the visually impaired guides after the wine tasting, and to gain some insight into their experiences of Hong Kong. Our guide, Henry, did a great job in explaining how he gets around this hectic city, and the issues that he has faced when visiting other countries. His matter of fact discussion of his disability and his ability to put us at our ease made what could have been an awkward and uncomfortable experience truly enjoyable.
I would thoroughly recommend attending a DiD event, and the wine tasting was particularly well suited to the environment. It would be good to see this initiative gaining more publicity as it offers the rare combination of enjoyment and education, without ever feeling ‘worthy’ or uncomfortable.
Wine tasting in the Dark was $550 per person and regular sessions are available in both English and Cantonese. See The Dialogue in the Dark website for more information about upcoming events.
Kate is a Hong Kong based lifestyle writer and you can contact her at [email protected]