Organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), the ninth HKTDC Hong Kong International Wine & Spirits Fair will be held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre from 10 to 12 November.
A renowned trading and promotion platform for the industry, this year’s fair will feature fine wine and spirits from more than 1,060 exhibitors from 36 countries and regions, and offer over 60 special events. To promote wine education and the wine appreciation among the community, the fair will be open to public ticket-holders on the final day (12 November).
Speaking at today’s press conference, Sophia Chong, Assistant Executive Director, HKTDC, said that Hong Kong is a prominent wine trading and distribution hub in the region.
“In the first eight months of this year, Hong Kong’s wine imports reached HK$8.2 billion in value, a 26 per cent year-on-year-increase; as for the city’s exports, they totaled HK$3.8 billion in the same period, up 38 per cent over the previous year. Based on these figures, Hong Kong’s wine trading market remains vibrant and demand is still trending up.”
Since the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government scrapped import duties on wine in 2008, the wine industry has recorded tremendous growth. The value of wine imports rose from HK$1.6 billion in 2007 to HK$10.8 billion in 2015, a more than six-fold increase.
Since last November, the immediate customs clearance facilitation measures for wine entering the Chinese mainland through Hong Kong have been extended to all ports under the Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen customs districts.
Wine consignments from around the world that are shipped by qualified Hong Kong wine merchants from the city to specific regions of the mainland receive immediate customs clearance facilitation by mainland customs, which greatly reduces the cost. This is the only arrangement signed by the mainland authorities, offering Hong Kong an unrivalled advantage as an entry point to the mainland market.
Global selection of fine wine and spirits; new pavilions to present exotic flavours
With the mainland being Hong Kong’s largest export market for wine combined with the growing demand for wine among Asian consumers, wine exporting countries worldwide are seeking to tap into the Asian market through Hong Kong.
This year’s fair features wine producing regions, wine associations and trade commissions from around the world, which are forming close to 30 pavilions to promote their products.
Among them, first-time group pavilion organisers include the Wine Export Association from Bulgaria, the Guizhou Economic and Information Technology Committee from the Chinese mainland, the Fukushima Prefectural Government and Kyushu Shochu Culture & Tourism from Japan, FENADEGAS from Portugal, the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food of the Republic of Slovenia.
Slovenia’s pavilion will present fine Slovenian wines that are less familiar to consumers in Hong Kong and Asia. Buyers will be able to sample the wines and find out more about the climate and terroir that are conducive to viticulture in Slovenia.
This year’s fair also has an extensive list of overseas exhibitors, while Finland is exhibiting at the fair for the first time. On display will be an array of exquisite wines including:
• ABISSI Pas Dosé from Italy — the world’s first sparkling wine that is fermented at the bottom of the sea. In the absence of strong sunlight and with a stable temperature as well as underwater pressure that keeps the bubbles in the wine intact, the structure and aroma of the wine are enhanced. The wine has a smooth and sweet taste, with a peach aroma and a hint of minerals.
• Canned Chardonnay — Hong Kong exhibitor Oriental Pearl brings to the fair canned Chardonnay by Andrew Jones, a 35-year-old winemaker from California. Mr Jones broke the rules by choosing cans over glass bottles. The aluminum can is recyclable, and the quality of its contents is stable since it is not exposed to direct sunlight.
• Komagatake 2013 Single Cask Whisky Heavily Peated — With only 184 bottles available in Hong Kong, it will surely become a collector’s item for whisky aficionados. While Japanese whisky is often referred to as light, this product is characterised by the fragrance of a bourbon barrel, with a mellow well-rounded flavour of smokiness and wood, ending with a bold powerful finish.
A wide range of other products will also be on display at the fair. In addition to the Liquor & Beverage Products zone and Whisky and Spirits zone, there are also dedicated zones to promote the industry’s all-round development, such as Wine Investment, Wine Education and Wine Accessories & Equipment.
Exciting events to promote industry exchange
The HKTDC will stage more than 60 events during the fair including over 40 tasting sessions showcasing fine wine from such countries and regions as Austria, Australia, Bulgaria, Germany, Guizhou (Chinese mainland), France, Slovenia, Japan, Spain and the United States. In addition, there will be a range of industry exchange activities such as thematic seminars, master classes, educational talks on wine varieties, industry networking, a cocktail reception and a gala dinner, providing a comprehensive platform for trading and exchange at the fair.
The Wine Industry Conference on the first day of the fair adopts the theme “Uncover the Opportunities of the New Cool Climate Wine Trend”. World-famous wine writer Robert Joseph; Christine Parkinson, Group Head of Wine of Hakkason Group; Professor Ma Huiqin from China Agricultural University; and renowned French wine critic Michel Bettane will share their expertise regarding new cool climate wine and its market trends. German Master of Wine Romana Echensperger will also host a seminar on the same day, discussing German grape varieties and vineyards and other interesting aspects of the German wine industry.
The highly anticipated Cathay Pacific Hong Kong International Wine and Spirit Competition Award ceremony will take place during the cocktail reception on the evening on 10 November. More than 50 awards will be presented at the ceremony. Award-winning wines will be exhibited at the Wine Gallery during the fair. Following the cocktail reception, the Gala Wine Dinner titled “I FEEL SLOVENIA” will feature a menu prepared by Janez Bratovž, head chef of celebrated Slovenian restaurant JB RESTAVRACIJA.
Public Day to enhance visitors’ wine appreciation
On its final day (12 November), the fair will be open to members of the public aged 18 or above, with tickets priced at HK$200*. Public visitors with valid tickets on that day will receive a Lucaris crystal wine glass valued at HK$110 on a first-come first-served basis while stocks last.
The first Hong Kong Inter-University Wine Competition will be held during the Public Day. The event aims to strengthen the promotion of wine culture and education, offering university students insights into the social value of wine. Members of the public can also enhance their knowledge of wine by attending the seminars, tasting sessions, master classes and whisky and cocktail-blending demonstrations. The master classes will be conducted by wine masters Debra Meiburg and Jeannie Cho Lee. Stephen Mack, CEO and Principal Tutor, Asia Wine Service and Education Centre will conduct a seminar entitled ‘Choosing from a Wine List’. The seminar will be open to the public.
This year’s fair once again headlines the Hong Kong Wine Journey citywide promotion, which encompasses a series of wine tastings, wine and food menu pairing, seminars, themed tours and Lan Kwai Fong carnival. More than 160 restaurants will feature promotions such as “Birthday Wine” and “Wine and Food Pairing Menu”. For more details, please refer to the Hong Kong Wine Journey map or the website. – EventsNewsAsia.com