Perrot-Minot: Hong Kong is top market for grand cru Burgundy

With an eagerness to collect sought-after wines and ready cash, Hong Kong has become the top market in Asia for grand cru Burgundy, far surpassing Japan or Singapore, says Christophe Perrot-Minot, owner of Burgundy’s Domaine Perrot-Minot in Morey‐St‐Denis.

Linden Wilkie, director of Fine Wine Experience, and Christophe Perrot-Minot of Domaine Perrot-Minot (right)

“The business is very good for me, and I think it will be better and better… You have more people who are educated, and the demand grows year after year. A bright future for me and all Burgundy. [It’s] just the beginning of the story really, the market will increase more and more in a few years,” said Perrot-Minot when asked by dbHK about his Hong Kong market.

Admittedly, Hong Kong has never been a volume market for Burgundy, but its strength for top domaines such as Perrot-Minot is its high value consumption.

Last year, 15% of Burgundian red wine exports to the city consisted of grand cru Côte de Beaune and Côte de Nuits, according to figures released by Bourgogne Wine Board (BIVB). In comparison, Japan, Burgundy’s third biggest export market, was the destination of only 5.2% of grand cru red wines, underlining Hong Kong’s expensive taste for top Burgundian reds.

“It’s not in a matter of the number of bottles but their value. [Hong Kong] is a top market for grand cru and premier cru, Japan, however, buys mostly village and premier cru,” commented Perrot-Minot, adding that Japan’s relatively smaller share of the top end wines might also be a result of its back vintage stock from years of purchasing.

The winery started exporting to Hong Kong more than 10 years ago, and in the last five years demand has been growing year after year.

“It’s a new market for wine, and [there is] a lot of money…The market needs more wines, and we sell fewer bottles and more value, [it’s] completely different in Japan or in Singapore,” he continued.

Singapore, he recalled, used to be a top market from expensive Burgundy, but the market has become more cautious in spending following the 2008 financial crisis, whereas Hong Kong at the time completely scrapped wine import taxes, ushering in a new era for imported wines.

Notably in Hong Kong the on-trade channel is not a primary outlet for top Burgundies. According to Linden Wilkie, director of Fine Wine Experience, the exclusive importer of Domaine Perrot-Minot in the city, about 70% of the winery’s wines are sold to private clients, and only 30% to restaurants. Furthermore, out of the 70% private clients, 90% of them buy only grand cru wines.

“The private clients are buying grands crus, while restaurants are not buying grands crus, more villages, and premiers crus,” Wilkie revealed. However, he went on: “It’s not unusual. It’s typical for our experiences for high quality domaines that private customers are the main clients.”

The 2017 vintage, which was recently offered by Fine Wine Experience in Hong Kong en primeur, is likened by Perrot-Minot to the 2014 vintage in Burgundy.

“Good vintage, [and for] the first time in the six years, good quantity too,” he commented but revealed it will be a great vintage for reds from the Côte de Nuits. “I think it will be reds from Côte de Nuits. For me, ’17 is superb, 2014-like with finesse and elegance, and it’s very fruity and juicy with very ripe and refined tannins in general.”

The 2016 vintage, ravaged by frost, however saw the domaine’s production drop by roughly 50% to around 23,000 bottles compared with a normal year’s 45,000 bottles, he admitted.

The hardest hit area for him were his premier crus at Chambolle-Musigny, which were wiped out by the frost, he lamented. Village levels and grand cru sites also suffered.

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