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Delhi Wine Club

Posted: Wednesday, 26 May 2010 10:17

Bordeaux Shines at Hong Kong Vinexpo

Vinexpo Hong Kong, the Asian avatar of the Bordeaux based biennial wine expo, opened yesterday at the Hong Kong Convention Center, featuring 840 exhibitors from 32 countries focusing on the most promising markets of Hong Kong and China.

The continuing love affair of Bordeaux with these two markets continues with a fifth of the exhibitors’ stands taken by the wineries of this region, ranging from the basic wine producers to the First Growths with Thomas Julien, representing the Bordeaux Wine Council in Asia promising the wide range of wines available from the region.

Among many known wine celebrities, the international flying winemaker Michel Rolland who also consults with Grover Vineyards in India is here, showcasing wines from his own winery in Pomerol, Ch. Bon Pasteur. 

Spain, Italy and the USA are all present in large numbers in an effort to grab a share of the growing market. The German Federal Ministry of Agriculture has once again organized and financed Germany's presence with wines from more than 60 German producers being offered. Asia has developed into an important export market for German wine in recent years.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Mr. John Tsang, the Finance Secretary observed that the number of Pacific-based exhibitors had seen a jump of 30 % since 2008 when the taxes had recently been waived off on imports. ‘This move has proved to be a winner for our wine industry, even though we do not produce a single grape here,’ he said. This move has also resulted in over 150 new companies being established since the exemption was announced.

Mr Tsang added, ‘Over the past two years, we have seen robust growth in wine-related business. The value of our total wine imports increased 80 percent year-on-year in 2008, and a further 45 percent last year reaching almost US$600 million. Since February 2008, Hong Kong has hosted 27 wine auctions, with sales fetching a total of more than US$130 million. We have even leapfrogged London to become the world's second largest wine auction centre, next to New York.’

He also talked about the wine co-operation agreements signed with many countries, the largest exporting nation France being the first. Hong Kong has entered into similar agreements with eight more countries and regions, Oregon and Washington being the most recent ones. A supplement agreement was signed with Bordeaux yesterday.

China is an increasingly important wine market for every country. According to a recent Vinexpo study, consumption of imported wines in China is projected to grow by more than 60 % between 2009 and 2013, Hong Kong is all set to capitalize on this growth. Reportedly, it has recently made an agreement with the Customs authorities in China that would facilitate the movement of wines bound for China and sold by Hong Kong importers.

Registration was started last week and the scheme is expected to begin operation next month. Hong Kong has also launched a certification scheme for companies whose high-quality wine storage facilities meet certain international standards, with 9 companies already receiving the certification.

‘Hong Kong has no visa issue, no barriers, no taxes, easier to trade, located centrally and people from all over Asia come there,’ says Robert Beynat, CEO of Vinexpo who was in India last March to promote the Show and released a Vinexpo initiated  Study of wine consumption pattern in India.

It would be interesting to see how the International Wine and Spirits Show that debuted under the organisation of Hong Kong Trade Development Corporation fares later this year. India had taken part in that Show through the Indian Grape Processing Board and chose to participate also at the London International Wine Fair last week.

The Vinexpo Hong Kong will last from 25-27 May.


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