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Austrian wine importer launches in Hong Kong

RTW, a specialist Austrian wine company, has launched in Hong Kong to establish “strong links” between Austria and Asia, following a surge of interest at trade show HOFEX.

Austrian winemaker Walter Berl, Franz Jagersberger from Winery JbN, Austria Consul General Dr Claudia Reinprecht and Robert Strasser from RTW at Hofex

Founded in 2014 and named after the three cofounders, Robert, Thomas and Walter, RTW had previously focused on the US market but then turned its attention to Asia where there is “huge potential,” following the trade show, Hofex in May of this year.

“You would be surprised at the level of interest for Austrian wines that we got this year and how it has improved compared to last year at the Hong Kong Wine Fair,” said Walter, a winemaker himself.

“We had a full house for the tasting and our booth was one of the busiest at Hofex,”

Aside from Gruner Veltliner, Austrian wine is not well known in Hong Kong – though it has a small presence in China – but the brothers hope to change that with a push on small and boutique wineries, as well Austria’s more familiar producers such as Hofstädter, Franz Jägersberger, Moritz and Wenzel.

“We have chosen red wines first as it is quite difficult to find red Austrian wines in Hong Kong and China at the moment,” continued Walter.

“Being on the same latitude as Burgundy, our red wines are simply stunning and yet different than what you can find from other producing countries. We are very proud of our Blaufrankisch from Hofstadter, Paul Lehrner and Alfred Moritz and also our Pinot Noir from Waldherr.”

The brothers hope to tap into Hong Kong and China’s bar and restaurant scene where they see Austrian wines being a good match for Asian cuisine.

“We do believe that the Hong Kong market is ready for enjoying our wines and the people we met at HOFEX proved us right,” said Robert.

“The interest was really palpable and we are already having discussions with several retailers who will distribute our wines in Hong Kong. We hope to import 10,000 bottles of wine by the end of 2015.”

In Asia, China is still the number one market for Austrian wine and export value has increased over the last 10 years from €54,000 in 2003 to €2,548,000 in 2013, according to the Austrian Wine Marketing Board.

A sample of Austrian wine at Hofex.

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