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Delhi Wine Club
Asian Producers form Association at Hong Kong Fair

Posted: Wednesday, 12 November 2014 11:48

Asian Producers form Association at Hong Kong Fair

Nov 12: Asian Wine Producers Association, an alliance of Asian wine producers who represent the new face of wine in Asia, was founded at the Hong Kong Wine and Spirits Trade Fair (HKWSTF) last week on November 7, to focus on promoting Asia as a respected wine region, publicizing wine tourism options and planning a regional forum to share and exchange experience

Click For Large ViewThe Association is a grouping of Asian wineries owning or managing vineyards and producing wine from locally grown grapes. GranMonte and Siam Winery (Thailand), Sula Vineyards and Grover Zampa Vineyards (India), Hatten Wines (Bali) and Château Mercian (Japan) are the founder members. The Association expects other Asian wineries will see it in action and consider joining the Association for future activities.

After several years of discussion among wine producers in several countries in Asia, a Steering Committee met at the HKWSTF in November 2013 to consider a membership charter, a functional focus and a range of practical activities that would benefit members.  This conclusion was then presented to a broader group of wine producers attending the Fair and 10 Foundation Memberships were committed.

According to a Release by AWPA, wine is being produced from locally grown grapes in 13 countries across Asia. The biggest producer is China, now ranked the No.5 wine producing country globally according to the ranking by the Organization of Viticulture and Wine (OIV).  The next largest is Japan, followed by India, Thailand, South Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam, Myanmar and Indonesia (Bali).  Besides, there are ‘minor scale’ or experimental projects in Cambodia, Nepal, Bhutan and Sri Lanka.

AWPA can provide a platform to pursue the regional industry’s interests with appropriate wine-related industry and government bodies - both within the region itself and outside. Its initial activities will focus on promoting Asia as a large and respected wine region, publicizing wine tourism options in the region and planning a regional owner, winemaker and vineyard manager forum to share and exchange experience. Of course, it will concentrate on expanding the membership base which would be essential for it to be successful.

Nikki Lohitnavy is the Oenologist and Winemaker and Technical Director of the internationally acclaimed winery in Asoke Valley, Thailand-Granmonte founded by her father. She is also the Winemaking and Viticulture Coordinator of the AWPA. Excited about the new Alliance, she says, ‘this is going to be a great association that makes an impact in the Asian wine industry and the wine world.’

Explaining the concept she adds, ‘it is formed by a small group of Asian vineyards and wineries, big and small, where owners and oenologist are so driven by the passion to make Asian wine as a whole make a greater step-up in quality and recognition. I strongly believe in ‘sense of origin’ and grape growing and winemaking philosophy of making wine from the land with 100% expression. So our main criteria of membership will be of wineries which make wines from their country of origin. Since there is a huge flood in imported bulk wine or juice or must in Asia, quality and origin can mislead consumers and then they lose trust in Asian wines.’

‘Between the members, we share technical information on viticulture and winemaking as Asia is a huge continent with so many varying climates. There are vineyards with tropical climate, tropical monsoon climate, temperate with high rainfall and also with extreme cold climate. Sharing techniques will help each other with our challenges. The alliance will also help in the marketing aspects and education of consumers,’ she adds.

Cecilia Oldne is the Global Brand Ambassador and Head - International Business of Sula Vineyards Pvt Ltd, the leading wine producer of India. She has just returned from Hong Kong where she was also at the HKWSTF. She has been in constant touch with delWine for the last two years, keeping us posted on the developments about this Alliance. She says, ‘the association is more of an alliance and the main criteria to join are quality and origin of grapes. A declaration will have to be signed by any member who wishes to join the alliance.’

Click For Large View‘The foundation idea came from a common interest in wines from Asia and the benefit members would have from sharing experiences, knowledge, information, marketing activities, stalls at exhibitions, contacts etc. The idea is also to market Asia as an important wine producing region, create awareness and enhance the image of the wines from this region including promoting wine tourism in Asia as a destination,’ she adds.

Sharing her tasting experience of members’ wines she says, ‘I had the opportunity to taste their wines. I was in particular impressed by the wines from Granmonte. Their wines have gone from good to, I must say remarkable during the last few years. I am also looking forward to visit their vineyards sometime soon. I was fascinated to learn that they have had 70,000 visitors last year!’

It is truly a great initiative but a baby step. Hopefully, AWPA and the Asian wine producers will go from strength to strength with members continuing to improve quality as is obvious from the increasing number of medals they have been winning at the international wine competitions.

For more info, visit

 Subhash Arora

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Tags: Asian Wine Producers Association, Hong Kong Wine and Spirits Trade Fair, Organization of Viticulture and Wine (OIV), Nikki Lohitnavy, Asoke Valley, Cecilia Oldne, Sula, Granmonte

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