New wine registration scheme to launch

The Hong Kong Quality Assurance Agency is launching a wine registration scheme aimed at boosting consumer confidence and combating counterfeiting.

hkqaa hkwrA company must register with the HKQAA and be accredited by them before it is allowed to use the mark labels, which are supported by an online platform

Speaking to the drinks business, Ir Ho, deputy chairman of the HKQAA, explained that the scheme, “helps both the trade and consumers,” allowing the former to prove their claims of quality and provenance and the latter to find out for themselves.

As the HKQAA explains on its website: “The HKWR Scheme enables wine businesses to demonstrate their commitment to providing wines with identifiable sources to their customers, which will help enhance the registered orgnisation’s brand image and reputation.

“It will also raise public awareness of the importance of combating counterfeit wines. We hope this programme will, in the long run, be the standard-setter for industry professionalism and strengthen the role of Hong Kong as a wine trading hub in the region.”

The small mark label which is allowed to be placed on the label after accreditation includes a QR code which can be scanned on any smartphone or device.

Each label has a unique code for each product, when scanned the QR code opens a webpage on the support platform which includes that code for comparison as well as basic information about the wine, and a picture of the product.

Of course, any anti-counterfeit measure is itself open to counterfeiting but Ho insisted that they had “thought about all the factors” that would protect the system.

Clearly, these cannot be revealed but they include printing using an ink usually reserved for printing currency.

There is even a small, pen-like scanner which can authenticate the labels and which can be used, for example, by customs officials simply and easily to check wines that might be re-exported from Hong Kong to elsewhere in Asia – particularly China.

HKQAA’s Wine Storage Scheme already has the backing of a great many of Hong Kong’s major wine companies and 28 including Schmidt Vinothek, Corney & Barrow, Abbelio Wines and Watson’s Wines have signed up to the HKWR Scheme so far with more expected to join.

Although it is an independent accreditation service, the HKQAA’s storage and registration schemes are fully supported by the Hong Kong government which sees them as an “integral part of the Hong Kong wine trade”, said Ho.

The HKWR Scheme will be launched officially on 7 November at the HKTDC Wine and Spirit Fair at 3.30pm.

Demonstrations of the label and how it works will also be conducted at the HKQAA’s stand at the fair.

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