Vinexpo Hong Kong: a guide to the fair

EVENT LINE-UP

As always there will be a full line-up of events, sometimes run by exhibitors on their stands or through Vinexpo’s Academy.

Around 60 events have been organised so far for this year’s show – some already mentioned above in relation to the focuses on Italy and Shiraz. Other key events include the China Market Conference with Grace Vineyard’s co-owner, Judy Chan, and chief executive of Vinfolio, Don St Pierre Jr.

The conference will offer a “deep insight” into the Chinese market, its evolution, tendencies and consumption trends. There will also be tastings and masterclasses on topics as diverse as investing in a vineyard, the wines of Gevrey-Chambertin, Greece and Chinese wine regions, including a presentation by Moët Hennessy Estate Wines’ president, JeanGuillaume Prats of the company’s Shangri-La winery. Leading Chilean estate Almaviva will also be holding a vertical masterclass of its back vintages to show the evolution of the wines from its founding in 1997 to the present day.

56-VinexpoDSLS-(Page-56)-3Look out for tastings on stands and pavilions as well. The French pavilion always has a particularly extensive programme.

Tastings and masterclasses this year include pairing Rhône wines with chocolate, a look at the wines of the Loire, Bordeaux, France’s sparkling wines, Burgundian appellations, Gamay, spirits and organic wines. Likewise, the Spanish pavilion, organised by the Spanish Wine Federation (FEV), will be hosting 29 producers from Rioja to Rías Baixas as well as eight unique masterclasses and tastings throughout the fair.

The FEV’s Luis Blanca said: “Vinexpo Hong Kong is one of the most relevant wine trade fairs of the Asian market for Spanish wineries. This influential fair is a great opportunity to increase the presence of the Spanish enterprises in the region.

“It gives Spanish wineries and distributors the opportunity not only to meet professionals from Hong Kong, but also from many other major Asian markets.” The Vinexpo Challenge, a blind tasting contest led by Deglise and the recently crowned ‘Best Sommelier of the World 2016’, Arvid Rosengren from Sweden, will take place on 24 May.

The Blend returns

In addition to the main show in Hong Kong in May, Vinexpo will be returning to Japan from 15 to 16 November for another edition of Vinexpo Tokyo. The Tokyo event was launched in 2014, the decision being taken to hold a fair in Japan owing to its already well established wine market and impressive growth rate of 19.3% between 2008 and 2012. Spanning two days at the Prince Park Tower Hotel, the show will feature around 500 wine and spirit brands from 15 countries, and welcome over 3,000 visitors. It may be a lot smaller than the Hong Kong show but, “being at Vinexpo Tokyo is about capitalising on a mature market, one of the most dynamic in the Asia-Pacific region”, says organiser Guillaume Deglise.

Further events will be hosted by Dixon Yuan, Jeannie Cho Lee MW, Li Demei, Michel Rolland, Simon Tam, and Michel Bettane and Thierry Desseauve. These last two, under their joint banner bettane+dessauve, recently announced a new partnership with Vinexpo which will be debuting at the Hong Kong show. ‘Vinexpo feat. bettane+desseauve’ is designed as a series of tastings unveiling new products, the talents of up and coming winemakers, and rare and surprising wines, in order to “put winemaking back at the centre” of Vinexpo’s events schedule.

New releases will also be much in evidence. Chile’s Santa Rita Estates for example is launching three new wines for its ‘Secret Reserve Range’ at the show as well as four new wines from its Carmen winery. Fellow Chilean winery, Montes, will be showing its ‘Sparkling Angel’ which will launch in Korea immediately afterwards and its 2016 ‘Angel’s Selection’ Sauvignon Blanc which is geared towards Japan.

It will also be presenting the latest vintage of its “super icon” wine ‘Taita’ and a premium Cabernet Franc from its Argentine winery, Kaiken. Marketing manager, Eduardo Wexman, said: “Montes was one of the pioneers in opening the Asian market for Chilean wines and particularly for premium wines. And we believe the same for Kaiken. Asia is a focus market and we are putting all our efforts to promote not only our wines but Argentina as well.” ASIA OFF-BALANCE? When Vinexpo last visited Hong Kong in 2014 it was undoubtedly at the toughest time for Asia’s biggest wine hub since the abolition of tax in 2008.

In 2013, years of uninterrupted growth came to an end when the market slumped 7.4%, largely due to the mainland Chinese government’s crackdown on corruption and accompanying austerity drive. Since then, sales have lifted 1.4% and, interestingly, Vinexpo and the IWSR’s survey shows it is sparkling wine that is leading the recovery, with demand up 46.9% between 2010 and 2014. However, it is Cava and Prosecco, not Champagne, that are driving the volume.

dbHK to host Spirits Bar

Once again, the drinks business Hong Kong will be hosting a Spirits Bar during the fair. The bar can be found on Level 1, stand GH67, and will be serving a broad range of cocktails made using boutique spirits by Hong Kong’s best mixologists. The Spirits bar will also feature spectacular flairing shows performed by Hong Kong’s leading bartenders. The Spirits Bar will be open from 12pm to 6pm each day of the show.

There is also greater activity in lower price brackets, and the average price for a bottle of wine dropped from HK$154 to HK$124 between 2010 and 2014. Red wines, of course, remain the most popular styles and still command a 43.4% market share. Likewise, France is still the leading country for imported wines, although the faltering demand for premium wines has seen its share decline 26.5%. By contrast, the demand for less expensive wines has been a boon for Chile and Spain – sales of the latter are being helped by continued growth in tapas bars and restaurants.

Whisky (Scotch, Japanese and Bourbon) and Cognac remain the standout imported spirits in Hong Kong but Vinexpo has also noted the growing trend for niche products such as rum, gin and Tequila – with gin in particular seeing a revival in popularity that mirrors the trend in the UK and US.

German spirit producer Deheck, which boasts an exotic range of flavours such as cassis-flavoured sparkling vodka, will be hoping to capitalise on this increasing interest in the niche and unusual when it exhibits for the first time at the German pavilion. the drinks business will be hosting a Spirits Bar at the fair for the second time.

As well as on-stand masterclasses, a team of bartenders from both the International Bartenders Association and Hong Kong Bartenders Guild will be making cocktails from a number of spirits such as Beluga’s ‘Noble’ and ‘Gold Line’ Siberian vodkas.

One Response to “Vinexpo Hong Kong: a guide to the fair”

  1. Wines of Germany will return as well with 28 exhibitors and a comprehensive programme
    at the German Pavilion 1EF-43-01
    Please join the following guided tastings
    by Romana Echensperger, MW

    Tuesday, 24th May
    11.00 License to Sparkle
    12.00 Happy Birthday Scheurebe!
    14.00 The Other Grapes of Germany
    15.00 Perfectly Riesling
    16.00 The Magic of Sweetness
    17.00 Spätburgunder: Germany’s Red Star
    17.30 Chinese Buyers Meeting

    Wednesday, 25th May
    11.00 License to Sparkle
    12.00 Happy Birthday Scheurebe!
    14.00 The Other Grapes of Germany
    15.00 Perfectly Riesling
    16.00 The Magic of Sweetness
    17.00 Gracefully Aged
    18.00 Spätburgunder: Germany’s Red Star

    Thursday, 26th May
    11.00 Japanese Buyers Meeting
    12.00 Happy Birthday Scheurebe!
    14.00 The Other Grapes of Germany
    15.00 Perfectly Riesling
    16.00 The Magic of Sweetness
    17.00 Spätburgunder: Germany’s Red Star

    No Registration is needed.
    See you in Hong Kong

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