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In pictures: Hong Kong Wine and Spirits Fair

db jetted off to Hong Kong this week to attend the eighth Hong Kong International Wine and Spirits Fair, and was greeted by perhaps one of the most colourful skylines in the world.

The fair was officially opened on 5 November at Hong Kong’s Exhibition and Convention Centre by John Tsang, financial secretary for the HKSAR Government. He gave a brief overview of the state of the Hong Kong wine market in an opening address to the media, using the platform to announce the extension of customs clearance rules to wines imported to all districts in Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, enhancing HK’s position as a hub of the Asian wine trade.

Getting down to business, dbHK’s publisher Ivy Ng and managing editor Rupert Millar check out the latest issue at db’s stand. Rupert seemed to be suitably impressed.

Among the many stands on display, Rastignac Cognac was perhaps one of the fair’s grandest exhibitors. Its circular bar, red curtains and lighting proved a head turner, with more than a few visitors stopping in for a drop of Cognac.

Judy Chan, president of Grace Vineyards in China’s Shanxi province, was one of four speakers at a wine conference hosted by Debra Meiburg MW. An engaging and animated speaker, Chan gave an insightful look into how China’s wine industry has evolved in recent years, highlighting social media and austerity measures as key drivers of change. The latter, she believes, has had a positive effect giving rise to the “real consumer” in China.

Between stints at the fair db was able to catch a glimpse of Hong Kong, taking in its sights, sounds and smells.

Usually emblazoned with ‘Samsung’ atop its light display, this is where the dbHK team toils to produce content for our Hong Kong edition of the drinks business. With views over Victoria Harbour, it almost certainly has a better outlook than the London office.

Represented among the many global publications working to support fair was the drinks business, which featured in this poster that greeted visitors as they entered the fair.

On Thursday dbHK’s publisher Ivy Ng hosted a well-attended masterclass in partnership with the WSET on wines from Burgundy. Titles from Chablis to Saint-Véran – Hidden Gems from Bourgogne, guests were able to sample these wines.

We spotted these intriguing labels on the Wines of Chile stand. Make up your own minds about what each emoji means for each wine, especially the Merlot and the Pinot Noir.

Wines of Argentina put in a strong showing at this year’s fair, taking up a stand at which many a visitor stopped by for a glass of Malbec.

The BrandHouse team stopped by the dbHK stand to show off their latest product, a Beau Joie Champagne encased in a copper cage. The special cuvée Champagne is produced by Champagne Charles Ellner in Epernay, with its packaging inspired by the armour that the Knights wore to protect the Kingdom of France and the copper roofs of Paris. It is made from 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay.

Looking to France, Bettane+Desseauve and Sopexa joined together to create a pavilion to showcase their wines, with more than 120 wineries from France represented. Following the fair Michel Bettane, chairman of Bettane+Desseauve in France, highlighted a positive trend in Asia, which was seeing consumers becoming increasingly knowledgable about wines and looking for good quality products. “This is an encouraging trend”, he said. “We’ve met with many potential customers from different markets such as Japan, Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore. Our participating wineries are very happy with the fair and some of them have already concluded sales with buyers.”

Passing by this beer ice cream contraption, curiosity got the better of db, with our International Sales Director Andrew Oliver stopping off for a shot of Hoegaarden-flavoured ice cream. We concluded the slightly odd treat was best described as savoury, a yeasty ice cream if you will, that was not at all unpleasant.

Wines of Germany’s stand could be seen for miles across the fair’s three cavernous exhibition halls, its trademark green lighting helping its fans to find their way to its stand.

However the fair’s partner country could not be outdone, with Wines of Portugal staging an impressive stand spanning the width of the exhibition hall. Using the city as a springboard to tap into the mainland and Asia Pacific markets, increasing number of Portuguese merchants have set up business operations and distribution networks in Hong Kong in recent years. More than 40 exhibitors from Portugal took part in this year’s fair, showcasing more than 500 wines.

As the fair’s official partner, Portugal provided a selection of wines paired to fine Portuguese cuisine at the fair’s Gala Wine Dinner on the second night of the event.


Portuguese chef Matino Moniz prepared an impressive fine dining spread, demonstrating the diversity of Portuguese cuisine. Dishes included sea urchin and foie gras with a Ruby Port dressing (left), and Sado oysters with crab, caviar and gazpacho soup (right).

Debra Meiburg MW used the fair to launch her Guide to the Taiwan Wine Trade hosting a seminar on the industry having uncovered some of its quirks while researching the market. Describing Taiwan as a “unique, robust and eager market”, Meiburg urged producers not to dismiss it as “another little China”.

This impressive mural caught the attention of db on a jaunt to Hong Kong’s Soho area – Banksy eat your heart out.

Thomas Le Grix de la Salle, winemaker at Chateau le Grand Verdus, talked db through his latest range Crosswinds, which has been designed to simplify French wine by taking design cues from New World wines. A collaboration between Verdus in Bordeaux and Vignobles Alain Maurel in the Languedoc, its name comes from the two winds that whip each region; one from the west, the other from the east.

(L-R Deputy chairman David Rose, International sales director Andrew Oliver, deputy editor Lauren Eads, senior staff writer Lucy Jenkins, managing editor of HK Rupert Millar and marketing director David Hennelly.

Following three days of fun at the fair, a suitably exhausted team enjoyed a send off drink at the Grand Hyatt. Until next year!

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