Forget perching atop a bar stool sipping bubbly in your Choos, the best places in Hong Kong to share a bottle of Champagne require a little forethought, a cooler bag and some sensible flats to reach (don't expect photos of these locations here I have no intention of spoiling the fun of discovering these places for the first time).
Each of these spots is best to visit at a specific time of day, and so I thought it appropriate to enlist the help of an expert and find five special Champagnes that would match perfectly.
When I say expert, what I really mean is Master of Wine and all round superstar Debra Meiburg, and I can't thank her enough for taking the time out of her busy schedule to carefully select some truly unusual and special wines.
If you haven't heard of Debra, where have you been? She is one of only two Masters of Wine in the whole of Asia, and apart from being an educator, speaker and journalist, she also has her own TV show Taste the Wine which you can catch on Cathay's inflight entertainment.
1. Long Ke Wan, Sai Kung
Champagne: Pommery Summertime Blanc de Blancs NV
I think the best way to do Long Ke Wan is to arrive on foot and leave by speedboat. Going to this beach should be done on a whim when the skies are clear as the view into the bay will be at its best. It's great to get here by mid-morning as the sun will sparkle off the sand and bring out the colours of the sea. With the right weather, it's breathtaking.
Have a taxi take you to the very far end of the East Dam at High Island Reservoir. At the end of the road there is only one path up the hill, so scurry up. At the top there is a short saddle, and then suddenly below you is the perfect bay of Long Ke Wan.
Descend the hillside through the buddhist pines to the beach to enjoy some of the softest, whitest sand in Hong Kong. The horseshoe shaped bay gets popular at weekends with motor cruisers, but mid-week or even just mid-morning it's invariably deserted.
Make sure to pre-arrange a speedboat to come and take you back to Sai Kung Town. It's the quickest way back to civilisation, especially after a few glasses of bubbles. I get my lifestyle manager at Ten to organise this kind of thing for me -- I think it, they manifest it.
2. Hor Lan Geng, Mid-Levels
Champagne: Vouette et Sorbée Saignée de Sorbée Rosé NV
One of my favourite paths on Hong Kong island Hor Lan Geng is known to some as Snake Path and to many others as Dutch Path. Winding through the trees above Bowen Road with kilometre long sections with not a splash of concrete underfoot, the path connects Magazine Gap Reservoir with Wan Chai Gap Road.
Slip away from the office and get a taxi to drop you off in the road opposite Magazine Gap Towers. Walk past the playground and covered reservoir to the far end where you will see a tiny path winding into the trees.
Follow this path until you come out onto the concrete road some 20 minutes later and around the start of this section you will find two or three gaps in the trees where you can sit and swing your legs over the edge and enjoy stunning views over Victoria Harbour.
There is nothing quite like being in the jungle, and yet looking out over one of the most spectacular modern cityscapes in the world, especially when you know that all of those offices below are crammed with people beavering away.
Carry on until the end of the path and you will hit the crazy steepness of Wan Chai Gap Road. It's a 100 metre haul to the top where you can grab a taxi straightaway, or go and enjoy an ice-cream at Wanchai Gap Road Playground (avoid the coffee, it tastes like pee).
3. Sham Wat Wan, Lantau
Champagne: De Sousa & Fils Cuvée des Caudalies Brut NV
For sunset, you have to be west facing, and so we may as well go as far west as possible and pretty much as far back in time as possible to enjoy the next bottle on the sea wall at Sham Wat Wan on Lantau.
Again, this is a bit of an adventure and may mean you having to bribe the taxi driver another HK$100 to take you and wait. To reach Sham Wat Wan by car (you can walk from Tung Chung or Tai O but it takes too long in my book for this specific endeavour), the taxi will turn left off the road that leads to Ngong Ping and the Big Buddha. You will snake down the side of Lantau peak for about 15 minutes until you find yourself in the village of Sham Wat.
It's a very old fishing village, where inhabitants dig for clams at low tide, grow their own fruit and vegetables, and farm oysters in the bay. With the pollution from the airport and the factories of the PRC you can count on a stunning sunset, and, if you are brave enough, you can enjoy one of the famous oyster omelettes that the two village restaurants serve. It's difficult to find a more chilled out, old-school spot in Hong Kong, and the locals are super welcoming.
Continue onto page two for more places in Hong Kong to share a bottle of bubbly.