Dr N K Yong &
Dr N K Yong, now retired, was Singapore’s leading heart surgeon who pioneered the first open heart surgery in Singapore. Dr Yong, together with his wife, Melina, started travelling to Bordeaux in the 80s, first as wine collectors and later as friends of many of the most prestigious winemakers in all the major wine regions of Europe. In 1988, Dr Yong became a regular wine columnist for The Singapore Business Times (a position he still holds to this day) and has been largely credited for inspiring the growth of Singapore’s fine wine scene.
In November 1989, he was conferred the title of Officier de l’Ordre du Mérite Agricole of France, for his services to French Wine in Singapore, and in July 2004 was honoured with the title of Officier de l’Ordre National du Mérite by the French Government.
Since the mid-80s, Dr Yong and Melina have been making regular visits annually to their wine grower friends in France, Italy and Spain – visits which have subsequently enabled them to secure exclusive distribution of the wines of eminent wineries.
During this period, Melina gained for herself international recognition as an exceptionally talented chef, as a result of which she had been invited to do short stints as Guest-Chef at the Hotel Le Montrachet in Puligny-Montrachet in Burgundy, at Cakebread Cellars’ Harvest Workshop in Napa Valley, at Château Cos D’Estournel in Bordeaux, and at Domaine Romanée-Conti in Burgundy. In their own home, Melina and Dr Yong frequently host wine dinners for visiting wine producers and connoisseurs.
Since retiring from medical practice in 2004, Dr Yong and Melina, aside from building up the fine wine business of Giron Private Ltd, have continued to play an active part in initiating and organising charity wine tastings and dinners.
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