The 9th edition of Hong Kong International Wine & Spirits Fair, last from November 10-12 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. Over 1,000 exhibitors join the fair this year. It serves as an effective platform for exhibitors to promote their products to quality buyers in the region. The blend of trade and public participants at the fair created a vibrant platform for doing business.
Fuelled by booming market demand and an established reputation for excellence, the fair in 2016 attracted over 1,060 exhibitors from 37 countries and regions to showcase a sparkling range of global wine offerings. The three-day fair attracted close to 20,000 buyers from 68 countries and regions.
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.
Since the Government of the HKSAR eliminated all duty-related customs on wine and implemented special clearance measures under CEPA (Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement) in 2008, Hong Kong has developed into a wine trading and distribution centre for the region.
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 2016
This 9th of Hong Kong Wine & Spirits Fair showcase fine wine and spirits from more than 1,060 exhibitors from 37 countries and regions. The fair will feature various zones including Liquor and Beverage Products, Whisky and Spirits Zone, as well as Friends of Wine. Wine Investment, Wine Education, and Wine Storage and Logistics are also spotlighted. The HKTDC is bringing around 65 buying missions from over 20 countries and regions to visit the fair.
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.
The Fair also serves as a hub of market knowledge with a lineup of educational events, seminars, master classes, tastings and demonstrations revealing emerging trends and industry insight. The last day of the event was open to public visitors, offering an exceptional opportunity for Hong Kong’s wine lovers to enrich their knowledge and sample a broad selection of wines from around the world.
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.
This year’s fair also has an extensive list of overseas exhibitors, pavilions from various countries and regions, as well as trade organisations take part in Wine & Spirits Fair this year, including: Argentina Pavilion, Austrian Wine Marketing Board, Canadian Food Exporters Association, Sopexa and Bettane + Desseauve, Veronafiere, Japan External Trade Organization and Spanish Institute for Foreign Trade etc. Finland is exhibiting at the fair for the first time.
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 present fine Slovenian wines that are less familiar to consumers in Hong Kong and Asia. Buyers was able to sample the wines and find out more about the climate and terroir that are conducive to viticulture in Slovenia.
An array of exquisite wines was on display, including:
For the first time, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food of the Republic of Slovenia will host a pavilion introducing exquisite wines. The Venia Grand Cuvee, often referred to as the “Tuscany of Slovenia”, Dry Red Premium Wine stands out among the others, as the softness of Merlot, full body of Cabernet Sauvignon and fruity scent of Cabernet Franc mingle to create a unqiue charm reminiscent of romantic hills, fragrant mulberry and warm sun rays.
The Californian winemaker Andrew Jones ingeniously puts still wines in a can, producing Fiction White Chardonnay 2015 – Can 500ml at the young age of 35. Cans are recyclable and they can prevent light transfer to ensure stable quality of their contents. Andrew was recognised by Wine Enthusiast magazine as one of the America’s Top 40 under 40 in the wine industry. Fiction Chardonnay 2015 is in golden yellow with heading aromas of citrus, stone fruit and honey along with a touch of tropical fruit and nuts flavours.
Heirloom Vineyards has been titled the Barossa Winery of the Year in 2014 at the New York International Wine Competition, and the Southern Hemisphere Winery of the Year by Critics Challenge the year after. Its Lionheart of the Barossa Shiraz also earned the Double Gold Medal at the San Francisco International Wine Competition this year. The Shiraz brims with the sweetness of blackberries, raspberries and plums with lashings of sweet spice. Tannins are firm but fine with dark chocolaty nuances throughout the lengthy palate ending with a youthful finish.
The inventive Italian winemaker Piero Lugano also flirts with the versatility of sparkling wine by making it underwater, resulting in the ABISSI Pas Dosé Sparkling which is the first of its kind. Inspired by well-preserved food salvaged from ancient wrecked ships, Piero attempted to second-ferment 6,500 bottles of sparkling wine 60 metres underwater for 18 months. The underwater environment works like the best underground cellar and enriches the wines with aroma and structure. On the palate, the ABISSI Pas Dosé is soft and almost sweet, with a taste of white peach followed by bracing acidity and a dry mineral finish.
The legendary winemaker Patriarche from France has been bubbling with new wine ideas since 1780, establishing series of brands for signature and easy-drinking wines as well as sparkling wines. Made in accordance with French tradition, their golden Veuve Du Vernay Ice is a twist to the ordinary sparkling wine. It is designed to be enjoyed over ice in a large wine glass, while it is also great on its own or as a summer drink with garnish and chopped fruit.
The Crown Royal’s Northern Harvest Rye from Canada, as the first Canadian whisky to be titled the World Whisky of the Year with a stunning score of 97.5 in the authoritative Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible. It is made with 90% rye, teeming with baking spices, spicy wood and grain on the nose and gently spicy with soft pepper, vanilla and butterscotch notes. Jim Murray gave the wine a rare 25/25 in the nose discipline.
Roundstone Rye, the flagship spirit of Catoctin Creek in Virginia, the United States, is one of the few organic whiskies in the world made from organic grain. It has won the hearts of every whisky critic from Jim Murray to the Washington Post, and it hauls in over 12 international gold medals. Made from 100% rye grain and aged in new Minnesota white oak casks for less than two years, the whisky is smooth with a true grain character as well as a delicious woody taste.
Komagatake 2013 Single Cask Whisky Heavily Peated — With only 184 bottles available in Hong Kong, it 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.
Domaines Francis Abecassis from France has earned the title of “Excellence in Craftsmanship” in 2010 at the International Spirits Challenge, London. It has taken one step further to perfect its cognac with honey to produce ABK6 Honey Cognac Liqueur, with additional layers of intense and aromatic flavours. The cognac reveals notes of jasmine, violet, honeysuckle and rose petals, as well as warm feelings of spices and candied orange linked with vanilla wood and coffee.
Alphine Distilling hailing from the United States pleases the tea and spirits-drinking crowds with its Preserve Liqueur inspired by black tea, fruit and spice, which has won the Platinum Award of the International Consumer Tasting Awards. The distiller imbues the rich, restorative qualities of nature into every sip to bring out the fragrant, sensual journey accompanied by a well-balanced sweetness.
RJ Family Wine Malbec from Argentina. RJ Vinedos’ Family Wine Malbec’s aromatic palate is intense and complex with a spectrum of fruits such as cherry and raspberry, followed by delicate notes of violet, blackberry, vanilla and a touch of herbs. It is chosen as one of the 20 Wines of Argentina Superstar Wines by wine critic Jancis Robinson.
Dai-Ginjyo Gokujyo from Kitaya Co., Ltd. of Fukuoka, Japan. The sake is made with locally-produced rice, Yamada Nishiki, which is polished down to 35 per cent. It is fermented in a controlled environment, then collected through a “Drip Filtration” process. Dai-Ginjyo Gokujyo Kitaya is top-of-the-range sake that beat 583 brands to clench the Best Sake of the World award in the International Wine Competition (IWC) 2013.
Wine from Israel, a country with 5,000 years of wine-making history. Produced by Hevron Heights, Armagedon is brewed using traditional methods. Using grapes grown on the Judean Mountains at high altitude (950m) and aged for 24 months in French oak barrels, Armagedon is regarded as kosher wine, produced in accordance with Judaism’s religious laws.
Bulgarian orange wine from Wine Cellar Villa Melnik Ltd. Orange wine, in spite of its name, is not made from oranges. Its darker colour results from extended contact of white grape juice with grape skins over a longer period of time. Orange wine is intense with a dry, tannic taste and nuttiness derived from oxidation, and can be paired with a wide variety of dishes ranging from beef to fish.
A wide range of other products was also 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.
The HKTDC 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 was 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 take place during the cocktail reception on the evening on 10 November. More than 50 awards was presented at the ceremony. Award-winning wines was exhibited at the Wine Gallery during the fair.
Following the cocktail reception, the Gala Wine Dinner titled “I FEEL SLOVENIA” feature a menu prepared by Janez Bratovž, head chef of celebrated Slovenian restaurant JB RESTAVRACIJA.
On its final day (12 November), the fair was open to members of the public aged 18 or above. The first Hong Kong Inter-University Wine Competition was 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 was conducted by wine masters Debra Meiburg and Jeannie Cho Lee. Stephen Mack, CEO and Principal Tutor, Asia Wine Service and Education Centre conduct a seminar entitled ‘Choosing from a Wine List’. The seminar was 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 feature promotions such as “Birthday Wine” and “Wine and Food Pairing Menu”.
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.