Hong Kong Wine & Spirits Fair ends on a high note

With increased attendance at this year’s Hong Kong International Wine & Spirits Fair (HIWSF) and newly introduced preferential measures towards wine imports from Hong Kong to mainland China, Hong Kong’s role as a wine trading hub was affirmed at the 10th edition of the wine fair.

The 10th edition of the Hong Kong International Wine & Spirits Fair welcomed nearly 20,000 trade buyers and over 25,000 public visitors during its three-day show.

Held from 9 to 11 November at the Hong Kong Exhibition and Convention Centre, the fair attracted nearly 20,000 trade buyers from 70 countries and regions as well as 1,070 exhibitors from more than 30 countries and regions.

This year’s attendance saw a 2.3% increase over previous ear, and visitors from individual countries also recorded encouraging growth, including the Chinese mainland, Malaysia, Vietnam, France, the United States, Australia and Chile, said the fair’s organiser HKTDC.

In addition, over 25,000 public visitors attended the fair on the last day when it was open to the public.

The three-day trade fair provided a platform for wineries who are looking to enter or expand their reach in Asia especially in China, bolstered by the recent announcement that mainland customs have opened up all ports for wine imports from Hong Kong. The measures were previously applicable to only five mainland customs districts, namely Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Guangzhou and Shenzhen.

Under the customs facilitation scheme, pre-registered Hong Kong wine traders can submit advance wine consignment information online and enjoy instant customs clearance when the consignments arrive at mainland ports. The measures apply only to wines re-exported to the mainland through Hong Kong.

Benjamin Chau, deputy executive director of the HKTDC, welcomed the new measures, affirming the new measures are going to further boost Hong Kong’s position as a gateway to the mainland market after the elimination of wine tariff in 2008 in the city.

“In particular, Hong Kong has become a platform for trading wine with the mainland, which has long been the largest market for wines re-exported from the city. As the facilitation measures have now been extended to all customs districts, our wine traders will enjoy faster customs clearance and greater certainty when re-exporting wines through Hong Kong,” Chau explained.

Hong Kong’s former Financial Secretary and fervent wine collector Henry Tang visits the Wine & Spirits Fair and tastes a variety of wines.

“Adding to our advantages such as advanced infrastructure, transportation networks and experienced industry professionals, the new measures will further bolster Hong Kong’s standing as a wine trading hub by attracting more global wine traders to access the mainland market through the city,” he continued.

This year’s Wine & Spirits Fair featured a new pavilion organised by the Syndicat Général des Vignerons de la Champagne of France, which showcased seven Champagne makers from four wine regions in Champagne. Wine tastings were held at the new Champagne Avenue to promote the Champagnes from small and medium-sized wine producers.

To provide the industry with a comprehensive trading and exchange platform, the HKTDC organised more than 70 events during the Wine & Spirits Fair. Asia Wine Academy, co-organised by HKTDC and the Hong Kong Polytechnic University School of Hotel and Tourism Management also made its debut at the fair.

Additionally, the fair provided a platform for wineries that are looking to tap or expand in the Asia market, according to a couple of wineries interviewed by dbHK.

“Our participation in the HKIWSF was fantastic,” said Oscar Rosa, co-owner of Mount Cathedral Vineyards from Australia. “We made some great contacts with trade professionals from all over the east Asia market which we hope will translate into sales and an ongoing involvement by Mount Cathedral Vineyards in the region. The presentation was outstanding and we will definitely participate in future HKIWSF exhibitions.”

Cecile Terrien of Susana Balbo winery in Argentina, added: “I think this fair is a nice platform to give exposure to our brands not only in the Hong Kong market (and introduce our new releases such as our barrel-fermented Torrontes) but also to reach a wider audience in Asia. The quality of the attendance was very good.”

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