CEO and founder of Healthy Options Group of Companies Romy Sia guides us through his own Wine Story, from Cabernet Sauvignon to Bordeaux

They say you never forget your first love, much less when it’s an indulgence as delectable as fine wine. Naturally, this rings especially true among wine aficionados who spend much of their time reminiscing about their favourite pours—at least, when they’re not too busy hunting down the next one.

Here, we speak to Romy Sia, founder and CEO of Healthy Options Group of Companies, to learn more about the entrepreneur and wine connoisseur. Since its establishment in 1995, the corporation has expanded beyond its eponymous Healthy Options brand, delving deep into other niches. Founded in 2010, Wine Story was built as a celebration of fine and rare wine, bringing these luxurious sippable pleasures to the Filipino consumer. Evidently, Wine Story’s commitment to quality comes from Sia’s own enthusiasm—not just for excellent wine, but for the stories behind them.

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Romy Sia, founder and CEO of Healthy Options Group of Companies
Above Romy Sia, founder and CEO of Healthy Options Group of Companies

It was love at first sip!

- Romy Sia -

What is your favourite wine type, and more specifically, what grape or blend?

My wine journey started with Napa Valley wines, specifically the Cabernet Sauvignon. I find it very easy and pleasant to drink on its own or with food. Because of the warm climate, Cabernet Sauvignon grapes are always perfectly ripe when picked. The best Napa Cabernet wines consistently exhibit flavours of blackcurrant, ripe (not baked) plum, subtle liquorice, black cherry, raspberry, as well as blueberry or blackberry. Napa wines are of high quality, consistent, and full-body like Opus One which is actually a Bordeaux-style blend.

What is your favourite wine region?

I read a book called The Billionaire’s Vinegar and was completely captivated by the story behind it. It’s a true story about a 1787 Chateau Lafite Rothschild supposedly owned by Thomas Jefferson (before he became the third US President), which was sold in a London auction for a record price of USD $156,000 in 1985. It was at this time that I discovered Bordeaux, its fabulous wines, chateaux, and history.

Bordeaux wines are blends of five grapes—Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, with smaller portions of Petit Verdot and Malbec for red wines. For whites, the grapes are a blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon, and Muscadelle. The styles and characteristics of Bordeaux wines are unique: concentrated, powerful, firm and tannic, complex, and depending on the specific wine, can appear to be austere in character in its youth.

Another distinctive characteristic of red Bordeaux wines is that they need time in the bottle to age before they can be enjoyed, usually five to seven years and sometimes even longer. Red wines from great chateaux like Haut Brion, Margaux, Latour, Lafite, Mouton and Rothschild on the Left Bank or Petrus, Le Pin, Cheval Blanc, and Angelus on the Right Bank can be aged and stored (in proper cellars) for 20, 30 years, or even more.

See also: Healthy Options CEO Romy Sia: Education and Empowerment are Key to Wellness

What was the bottle of wine that first made you consider going into the wine industry?

What really got me hooked on Bordeaux wines were the stories behind each wine, chateau, and its winemaker. As a voracious reader of history, it’s the wine stories that really resonate with me and make each bottle come alive. The stories make each wine more than just an alcoholic beverage. This is why I called my wine shop Wine Story.

I had a bottle of Pichon Lalande 2000 with my wine trader in London one day and I would say it was this particular wine that opened my eyes (and palate) to the elegance and magnificence of Bordeaux wine. It was love at first sip! I have had many, many more fantastic Bordeaux wines after this but one never forgets the first time.

When my children left for university, I converted the home theatre into a walk-in cellar where I stash all my favourite wines. They include some very old vintages from the wines I have already mentioned above plus also Siran, Domaine d’Chevalier (red and white), Haut Bailly, Grand Puy Lacoste, Giscours, Palmer, Lynch Bages, Canon, and Figeac. Sadly, my ‘liquid assets’ have severely dwindled in the past two years during the lockdowns.

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