Hong Kong International Wine & Spirits Fair returns next weekBy Natalie Wang
A record 1070 exhibitors from 38 countries and regions will return for the 10th edition of the Hong Kong International Wine & Spirits Fair, taking place from 9 November to 11 November, and featuring 30 group pavilions of wine-producing regions, trade organisations and governmental organisations from around the world, with highlights from grower Champagne to honey wine from Slovenia.
Stressing Hong Kong’s position as a wine hub in Asia, Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC)’s deputy executive director, Benjamin Chau, said: “In the first eight months of this year, Hong Kong’s wine imports reached HK$7.56 billion. Most of the wines were imported from France, the UK and Italy. Imports from the US and Italy even recorded a 16% and 22% growth respectively.
“In terms of exports, Hong Kong’s wine exports amounted to HK$2.96 billion. The Chinese mainland is Hong Kong’s largest export market, followed by Macau and Vietnam.”
After the Hong Kong Government eliminated all duty-related customs and administrative controls on wine in 2008, Hong Kong has grown to be a wine hub in Asia, serving as a wine distribution and trading centre as well as a gateway to mainland China. Its wine imports jumped from HK$1.6 billion in 2007 to HK$12 billion in 2016, up more than 700%.
Since November 2015, the agreement facilitating the import of wine into the mainland through Hong Kong has been expanded to cover all ports in Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, furthering its reach. Apart from wine trading and distribution, wine-related businesses also include auction, retailing, catering, transportation, warehousing and education.
This year at the wine and spirits fair, the Syndicat Général des Vignerons de la Champagne in France (SGV), Southern United States Trade Association, the Russian Export Center, Enterprise Mauritius, Confederação dos Agricultores de Portugal, Setúbal Península Wines, and Asociatia Producatorilor si Exportatorilor de Vinuri from Romania will make their debut at the fair scheduled from 9 to 11 November at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC).
Featuring seven growers from four wine regions, SGV will host Champagne tastings at the newly launched Champagne Avenue and introduce Champagnes by small and medium wine-producers.
Another highlight is the honey wines from Slovenia. The central European country, with a growing beekeeping industry, will stage Asia’s first Bee World Pavilion at the fair to showcase honey wine and promote World Bee Day (20 May, to be confirmed by the United Nations General Assembly).
Dejan Židan, the country’s deputy prime minister and minister of agriculture, forestry and food, will attend a wine-tasting session organised by his ministry on the first day of the fair (9 November). In the first half of this year alone, Slovenian food companies and wine producers exported more than €500,000 worth of products to Hong Kong.
In addition, this year the HKTDC has teamed up with the Hong Kong Polytechnic University School of Hotel and Tourism Management (SHTM) to co-organise the Asia Wine Academy, with two intensive courses, ‘Contemporary Trends in Wine Consumption’ and ‘Mastering Tasting & Rising Wine Trends’ to be conducted by Masters of Wine Jeannie Cho Lee MW and Steve Charters MW.
The ninth edition of the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong International Wine & Spirit Competition Award (HKIWSC) Presentation Ceremony will be held on the first day of the fair, followed by a gala wine dinner, with the theme ‘Cabaret Festival’.
In addition to the Wine and Liquor Products and Whisky and Spirits zones, dedicated zones will also be set up to promote the industry’s all-round development, including wine education and wine investment, as well as wine accessories equipment and services.
The fair will be open to the public on the last day, where visitors can attend wine tasting sessions and attend whisky and cocktail demonstrations.