Top 10 defining drinks trends of this century so far

2. Eastern emergence: wine in China

Ask anyone with a longstanding experience of the global drinks trade what the biggest change has been to the wine market since we entered this century, and it’s fair to say that the majority would cite the rise of China and the Far East as a major market for wine. As proof of Asia’s emergence as a driver of growth in the world of wine, we opened a second office in this part of the planet, choosing Hong Kong as a complement to our London base. From this we added to our international magazine with the launch of the drinks business Hong Kong in October 2011 – a bi-monthly magazine dedicated to this part of the fast-developing wine world.

The launch edition came out not long after Hong Kong had scrapped duty on wine, a move completed in February 2008 that had turned the city into a major hub for fine wine, following its established status as a serious consumer of classed-growth claret. Although the surge in fine wine demand in Mainland China – fed in part by merchants in Hong Kong – would see a rapid correction in 2012, following the launch of a government austerity and anti-corruption campaign, the market for drinks in China has since recovered. Such a comeback is based on more solid foundations and more closely reflects actual consumption among the middle and moneyed classes, rather than the excesses of state banquets and gift giving in the corporate world.

Today, wine culture in China is strengthening further, as this nation becomes one of the world’s biggest producers of wine, including fine wine. As proof of the latter, in 2016 Moet-Hennessy launched its first Chinese wine, Ao Yun, with the inaugural 2013 vintage hitting shelves with a US$300 price tag. The red blend has since reached the secondary market, trading for the first time in 2016 on Liv-ex, the fine wine exchange.

Meanwhile, we launched our Global Masters competitions in Hong Kong, welcoming wines and spirits seeking distribution in Asia, but also recognising products made in this part of the world. Among our top performers in these blind tastings have been wines from Japan – a country well known for its appreciation of fine European wines but also now one becoming a serious player in the production of red blends based on Bordeaux grapes, as well as delicate whites made from its native Koshu grape. Wines from China and Japan are finding new markets in the West, as sommeliers and retailers in the UK and US start to seek out these exotic arrivals.

Toast: Helan Mountain Xiao Feng Chardonnay, Ningxia, China, 2015 (medal-winner, Chardonnay Masters – Asia, 2018)

One Response to “Top 10 defining drinks trends of this century so far”

  1. Greg Fischer says:

    With green drinks in mind – The most sustainable wine on Earth is Mead. Craft Mead has developed not to be that off tasting syrupy overly sweet wine. With the different varietals of honey we are seeing craft meadmakers make fine mead both dry and sweet. Our Meadery Wild Blossom in Chicago produces the most locally wine made in the city.

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