Hong Kong International Wine and Spirits Fair 2014, China

The 7th Hong Kong International Wine & Spirits Fair, last from 6-8 November at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC). More than 1,000 exhibitors from 34 countries and regions take part in the fair, showcase a wide variety of wine, spirits and other alcoholic beverages, along with wine accessories and equipment. The event also places a strong focus on wine-related services, investment, logistics and training.

Fuelled by booming market demand and an established reputation for excellence, more than 70 buying missions with over 2,000 companies from around the world attend the fair, which serves as the perfect platform for wine and spirit lovers for tasting, and industry players for sourcing.

The fair deliver an incomparable platform of top-tier wine and spirits from across the globe and remains the perfect stage for sourcing extraordinary vintages, catering to global buyers on the search for greatness from production to sales. The three days of intense trading among global business interests and building of interpersonal relationship, information-gathering and the furtherance of international wine culture.

Wine appreciation is a rising trend in Asia, as the demand for wine remains strong and consumers being increasingly wine savvy. The optimistic business outlook will continue to encourage wine trade across the Pacific Ocean and fuel the vibrant wine market.

Since the Hong Kong government eliminated wine duties in 2008, Hong Kong’s wine sector has taken off. Hong Kong is turning into a regional wine-trading hub and becoming a wine gateway to the Chinese mainland.

As a duty-free port with good air connectivity and excellent storage facilities, Hong Kong is globally recognised as the most cost-effective wine distribution hub. Wine merchants worldwide favour Hong Kong as a launch pad to expand their business into Asia and the mainland.

In particular, Hong Kong has become a platform for trading wine with the mainland, which has long been the largest market for wines re-exported from the city. As the facilitation measures have now been extended to all customs districts, wine traders enjoy faster customs clearance and greater certainty when re-exporting wines through Hong Kong.

Adding to Hong Kong’s advantages such as advanced infrastructure, transportation networks and experienced industry professionals, the new measures further bolster Hong Kong’s standing as a wine trading hub by attracting more global wine traders to access the mainland market through the city.

Hong Kong Wine Fair 2014
This year’s Wine & Spirits ­Fair runs under the theme of “Leisure in Chateau”, embracing the atmosphere of a relaxing yet luxurious environment. Exhibitors showcase their latest collection and to impress and satisfy unique palates. The blend of trade and public participants at the fair created a vibrant platform for doing business.

The Wine & Spirits Fair is more than just an elite trading platform for wine; the event is also a showcase of market expertise that attract buyers, producers, sommeliers, hoteliers, restauranteurs, importers and distributors. There is also far more to experience than just wine as the Fair also features spirits, craft beers, cocktails and other beverages that reflect world culture.

This year, the International Wine & Spirits Fair feature new exhibitors from Belarus and Macedonia alongside such traditional wine growing countries as France, Germany, Italy and Australia.

Among close to 30 pavilions at the fair, three was participating for the first time: Australia In Vines Association from the Yarra Valley in Australia, Sichuan Provincial Economic and Information Commission from the Chinese mainland, and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Economy of the Republic of Macedonia.

This year’s fair with a new Whisky and Spirits Zone, which includes a Whisky and Brandy Bar and Ice Bar. These areas was focal points for tastings and information-sharing sessions. More than 90 exhibitors showcase spirits at the fair, including a number of Scottish whisky brands.

Among the products available for tasting at the Ice Bar was rum from the Dominican Republic and gin from Spain. These and other products also feature in a Cocktail Demonstration at the Ice Bar.

This year’s highlight offerings include wine from Nicolas Potel, one of the most successful and exciting Burgundy winemakers, who founded his own Maison Roche de Bellene in 2008; the official wine of 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, Burnier Krasnostop 2008 from Russia; and wine from a first-time exhibitor from Macedonia.

Special wines and spirits on display at the fair include 21 wines from boutique wineries across Italy hand-picked by Anna Fendi, the legendary Italian fashion designer. There is also champagne from the 700-year-old Comtes de Dampierre dynasty and beers and spirits from such countries as Germany, Sweden and Spain.

Hong Kong has seen strong recent growth in whisky imports. Consumers have started paying attention to Japanese whiskies after Yamazaki Whisky claimed the top title at a recent global whisky competition. Wine Spirit Hong Kong showcased three types of Japanese whiskies at the fair, including the Umeshu Whisky, Akashi and Twinalps, all which were well-received.

Star products displayed at the exhibition include:
The 700-year old Comtes de Dampierre only uses exceptional grapes from selected Premier Crus vineyards. The “nobleness” of the Cuvée Prestige is reflected on the corks that are tied to the bottles with hemp twine in a royal statute promulgated in 1735. Kamnik from Macedonia is famous for its intense flavor and fragrance. Produced from Temjanika, a rare and indigenous grape variety, the wine carries a fruity hint of rose, basil, dry apricot, lychee and sweet citruses.

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Another rarity is the official wine at 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, Burnier Krasnostop 2008. It is made with the native Russian grape, Krasnostop, which has almost extinct. Aged in oak barrels for 18 months, the Krasnostop has a complex aroma of ripe fruits with noble rot and prunes on the nose, making it one of Russia’s most exclusive wines. Also at the fair is an innovative ginger liqueur, Ginger No. 1, a noble brandy distilled from fresh and genuine ginger, topped off with spicy lemon grass carrying a fruity hint of lemon with full-bodied, gentle ginger spiciness.

Served in majestic glasses in Norway, Sauvignon Blanc “Royal” of Skoff from Austria has been awarded the Silver Award in International Wine Challenge 2013, as well as being the best-rated Sauvignon Blanc in 2010 by Vinaria wine magazine. Also of great interest to buyers, John Duval from Australia presents Eligo Shiraz 2010, representing the best of the 2010 vintage. Filled with aromas of blackberry and blueberry, liquorice and dark chocolate, the wine has achieved high compliments from wine critics.

Hokkaido Kerner, a German grape varietal, has won awards in the Japan Wine Competition 10 years in a row. The dry white wine has a fresh aroma of a tasty blend of citrus fruits with pleasant amount of acidity. Another award winner from Japan, Fukuchiyo Shuzo’s Nabeshima Daiginjo was awarded gold prize for seven consecutive years by the Annual Japan Sake Award, as well as the Champion Sake Award in International Wine Challenge 2011.

At the newly launched Whisky and Spirit Zone, White Oak Distillery from Japan feature its AKASHI whisky made with clean and sweet underground water of Hyogo Prefecture and British malt. Apart from Single Malt and Blended Whisky, the distillery also produces flavourful Plum Wine (Umeshu) with whisky.

Given the global popularity of Scotch Whisky, Aroma Academy Whisky Training Kit comprises 24 whisky aroma samples surely enhance whisky lovers’ nosing and tasting knowledge. Also from Scotland, Auchentoshan is the only Scottish distillery to insist on triple distilling. Their Auchentoshan Single Malt Whisky is matured for at least 12 years in fine North American bourbon casks and selected Sherry casks, carrying a hint of sherry matured malt with the tempting aroma of toasted almonds and caramelised toffee.

Kékfrankos (Blue-Frankish) is the star red grape of Hungary that yields tannic, spicy, and an elegant structure. With 100% of Kékfrankos, Takler’s Szenta-Völgyi Kékfrankos 2009 is intensely fruity with a long finish, smooth silky tannins and elegant notes. Portuguese wine Maritávora Grande Reserva Old Vines Red 2009 is made from the best wine grape varietal, Touriga Nacional, containing a complex mixture of high tannins and concentrated flavors of black fruits.

Gin Mare from Spain combines every essence of Arbequina olives from Spain, basil from Italy, rosemary from Turkey and thyme from Greece, produces the elegant and exquisite taste of Mediterranean. Walden Schloss from Russia provides an alternative choice of unpasteurized dark beer allowing drinkers to experience the yeast and flavours of the original brew. The beer is distinguished by a light caramel aroma and rich refreshing taste.

Industry interactions
A series of fringe events enable participants to gather information of the latest market developments. The Wine Industry Conference has attracted hundreds of industry players in previous editions. This year, internationally renowned wine experts including the Programme Advisor and Moderator, Debra Meiburg MW, share the latest industry updates with the audience.

Highlight events include the “Management Power-up Workshop for F&B Operators – How to Well-utilise Sommelier/Wine Steward Position” featuring Mr Nelson Chow, Chairman of the Hong Kong Sommelier Association, Greater China, and representatives from various Asia-Pacific sommelier associations. Asia-Oceania Sommelier Baron’s Table on “Forum of Young Sommelier Development in Asia” etc, give visitors some market insights and ample resources for trade.

Elsewhere, Dr Justin Cohen of the University of South Australia was the keynote speaker for “The State of Play of the China Wine Market” seminar. And Hong Kong-based Master of Wine, Debra Meiburg was hosting a master class on “Sauce and Sauce: Matching Chinese Sauces with Wines”.

The sixth Cathay Pacific Hong Kong International Wine & Spirit Competition is a truly Asian wine competition with awards of cuisine-specific categories such as the Best Wine Paired with Peking Duck, Chicken Tikka, Pad Thai, Sashimi, etc.

Ms Meiburg is also the Director of the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong International Wine & Spirit Competition which is in its sixth edition this year. The Competition’s Award Presentation Ceremony take place in the evening of the opening day of the fair, while the winning products was showcased at the Wine Gallery during the fair period.

A series of fine wine tasting sessions also hosted featuring wine from such countries as Australia, Germany and France as well as a Spanish Fine Wine Tasting by Wines from Spain and Spanish Trade Commission (Hong Kong).

Public Day
Last day of the fair is open to public, wine lovers with valid tickets are welcome to visit the fair and join wine tasting, cocktail demonstration and fine wine tasting sessions to enrich personal experience in wine appreciation.

Public ticket holders can enjoy various seminars to enhance their wine knowledge, including “Things that Wine Enthusiasts Should Know” by Mr Stephen Mack, AIWS, FWS, CEO, Asia Wine Service and Education Centre. The public can also participate in a beer making workshop, crafting beers that suit their personal palate. Whisky, brandy and cocktail demonstrations will also be organised on the Public Day.

November has emerged as a month-long celebration of great food and wine in Hong Kong. In addition to the Wine Fair, the HKTDC has joined hands with the Hong Kong Tourism Board to stage “Hong Kong Wine Journey”, from 30 October to 30 November. It include various events and workshops such as wine tastings, food and wine pairing classes, cooking classes, and wine cellar guided tours. The “Free Corkage Programme” and “Food and Wine Pairing Menu” was also launched at over 160 restaurants in Hong Kong during the period.

Established in 1966, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) is a statutory body dedicated to creating opportunities for Hong Kong’s businesses. With more than 40 offices globally, including 13 on the Chinese mainland, the HKTDC promotes Hong Kong as a platform for doing business with China, Asia and the world. With 50 years of experience, the HKTDC organises international exhibitions, conferences and business missions to provide companies, particularly SMEs, with business opportunities on the mainland and in international markets, while providing information via trade publications, research reports and digital channels including the media room.

Tags: China