Hong Kong International Wine and Spirits Fair 2017, China

The 10th edition of the Hong Kong International Wine & Spirits Fair, a cellar full of wine knowledge and business opportunities, last from November 11-13, at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. A total of 1,070 exhibitors from 38 countries and regions presented exquisite wines from around the world.

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.

Seven new pavilions from APEV – Asociatia Producatorilor si Exportatorilor de Vinuri; Confederação dos Agricultores de Portugal; Enterprise Mauritius; Setúbal Península Wines, Portugal; the Russian Export Center; the Southern United States Trade Association and the Syndicat Général des Vignerons de la Champagne, France (SGV).

With over 70 spectacular events and 32 themed group pavilions, network with top producers and uncork the industry’s finest with wine tastings, masterclasses, seminars and rare vintages in a fascinating global showcase.

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, our 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 2017
Entering its 10th anniversary, the Wine & Spirits Fair has grown to become a major event of its kind in Asia. This year’s fair features 1,070 exhibitors from 38 countries and regions. Include first-time exhibitors from Malaysia, Mauritius, Romania, Serbia and Ukraine.

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.

Theme zones include Liquor & Beverage Products, Friends of Wine, Wine Education and Wine Accessories Equipment and Services, helping to foster the industry’s development.

Champagne Avenue: Champagne Avenue is a cozy event venue showcasing exhibit of grandeur, elegance and celebration of Champagne producers from various regions include seven producers presented by the Syndicat Général des Vignerons de Champagne, France (SGV).

Whisky and Spirits Zone: The popular Whisky and Spirits Zone is back this year with over 100 leading exhibitors showcasing the grand whiskies and elegant spirits. Learn all about the journey of excellence taken by some of the world’s finest spirits.

Hop to the Beer Zone: Sample excellent craft beers and learn about this iconic happy hour staple from some of the world’s most skilled producers in the Beer Zone. Cheers!

Guide Zone: The vibrant world of mixology has a home at the Ice Bar where top bartenders host expert cocktail demonstrations and look to the future of smart drinking with a robotic bartender demonstration.

The central European country Slovenia, which has a growing beekeeping industry, is debuting the “Bee World” Interactive Pavilion at the fair to promote “World Bee Day” (20 May), as proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly. Some Slovenian exhibitors also showcase wines made from honey.

Highlights
Over 30 pavilions also proudly present their finest wines produced from various terroirs, among which The Syndicat Général des Vignerons de la Champagne, France makes its debut and brings seven top winegrowers rarely seen in Asia.

Global exhibitors are showcasing an array of wines and exhibits at the fair. Some of the highlights include:

The new Champagne Avenue, where SGV presents seven growers from four wine regions, along with Champagne tastings by small and medium-sized producers

Chateau Mercian Nagano’s Chardonnay Unwooded 2015 from Japan, the Gold Award winner of the International Wine Challenge 2017. Japan’s oldest winery, Chateau Mercian has been operating since 1877. This white wine presents a refreshing peach and lemon peel flavour.

Dictador 20 Years Solera System Rum from Colombia. With 15 international awards to its name, the rum is one of the world’s most awarded varieties of its kind, thanks to its combined use of ancient recipes and modern technology.

The 2014 Girard Cabernet Sauvignon from the United States. It was served at the first state dinner US President Donald Trump hosted for Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Produced by the renowned boutique winery Girard in Napa Valley, California, whose warm climate ripens the grapes and make them fleshier, Girard 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon carries a hint of cocoa powder, intertwined with the notes of black currants and black raspberries. Hints of leather and dried herbs join the tannins to fill the palate with an integrated texture.

Apart from reds, sparkling chardonnay also made its appearance in the arena of international politics. Winery Aleksandrovic from Serbia integrates the recipe of royal cellar masters with modern science and winemaking technology to launch the country’s first-ever Trijumf Chardonnay Sparkling made by the traditional Champenoise method. The gem was served when President Xi visited Serbia.

Dark Lady brought by Doolhof Wine Estate (pty) Ltd is produced from Pinotage grapes. The deep red wine blasts with notes of mocha, dark chocolates, rich black fruits and almonds, with firm and well-integrated tannins on the palate. It garnered the gold medal at the China Wine and Spirits Competition 2017.

BIOtiful Wines is a group of eco-conscious French independent winegrowers dedicated to use only organic grapes to make wines. The absence of pesticides and chemical fertilisers compromises production volume, but vineyards are thriving, robust and healthy, optimal for winemaking. They are bringing La Galoche Beaujolais from Domaine Saint Cyr, whose new proprietor Raphaël Saint-Cyr innovates Beaujolais wines by introducing organic viticulture. His cuvées are elegant and superbly refined, carrying a balanced fruit structure, and a soft and lush body.

“Mori no Kanade,” a sparkling sake from Japan. This wine is the result of five years of research and development. This traditional Japanese rice-based alcohol has evolved into the first-ever sparkling sake with secondary fermentation in Suntory’s Hakushu Distillery whisky barrel.

Chinese Taiwan is emerging as a significant producing region in recent years due to its hot and humid climate. Nantou Distillery used to make fruit liqueurs, but it has converted to whisky production since 2008. Its OMAR Cask Strength Malt Whisky (Sherry Cask) won the hearts of many when it was released in 2008. OMAR means amber in the aboriginal language. The amber dram is matured in Spanish sherry casks for at least four years, rounding it with aromas of strong toffee, brown sugar and herbs. It earned the title of Best Taiwanese Whisky.

In a bolder move, Winepak Corporation (M) Sdn. Bhd. creates Viss (Malaysia Durio) by blending durian, the “King of Fruits” from Southeast Asia, in vodka. The unique and rich aroma engendered by durians and alcohol mixed with a slight bittersweet aftertaste makes it a perfect tropical drink. It was awarded the silver medal in International Wine and Spirits Competition 2017.

The Italian sparkling wine Prosecco is sometimes regarded as “a poor man’s champagne”, but not for Prosecco Valdobbiadene Superiore DOCG “Col de Mez” Extra Dry, hailing from the supreme sparkling wine producing region Prosecco Conegliano Valdobbiadene DOCG from Italy, brought to the fair by Cantina Colli Del Soligo S.C.A. Produced from Glera grapes, the sparkling is lively and creamy, carrying floral notes with hints of golden apple. An epitome of elegance, it won the gold medal at Sommelier Wine Awards 2017.

Kura Single Malt Whisky White Oak 12 Years, an exceptional craft whisky unique to Okinawa, brought by Lillion Wine Limited. In the distillation process, the best Indica rice from the region is added to produce a black culture called Koji, whose enzymes turn the carbohydrates in rice into alcohol and mellow the product. The whisky is then aged in selected North American white oak casks for eight years. The result is light on the palate and velvety smooth in the throat, coupled with the elegant sweetness and complex aromas of citrus peels and plums from oak aging.

Craft beer brewery Birrificio Antoniano SRL from Italy is one of the 26 certified “slow brewing” distilleries around the world. It was also titled “European Brewer of the Year” in the International Beer Challenge 2017. Its Portello Golden Ale is made from natural ingredients, without artificial elements to speed up fermentation. Compared with other beers, slow brewing is more rigorous and takes longer time with a smaller output, but it gives the beer more intense flavours.

Signorello Estate in Napa Valley, California, its Signorello Hope’s Cuvee Chardonnay 2015 is rich and vibrant on the palate with a crisp minerality, singing with scents of green apples, pears and apricots, as well as a kiss of white flowers and baking spice. This Chardonnay can be enjoyed over the next 15 years. Renowned wine critic Robert Parker rates it with the near-perfect score of 98, remarking it as “the best Chardonnay I have ever tasted from Ray Signorello (winemaker)”. Oriental Pearl (Hong Kong) Limited will present it at the fair for connoisseurs and collectors alike.

In addition, a wide assortment of exhibits from around the world was displayed at the fair. Apart from the Liquor & Beverage Products zone, there was zones that promote the industry’s all-round development, including Wine Education, Wine Investment, as well as Wine Accessories Equipment and Services.

Industry interactions
During the fair, more than 70 events was held to provide a comprehensive business exchange platform for visitors. These include a Wine Industry Conference, a gala dinner, thematic seminars and more than 50 tasting sessions presenting fine wines from Australia, Germany, Bordeaux (France), Japan, Italy and Slovenia.

To provide the industry with a comprehensive trading and exchange platform, the HKTDC organised more than 70 events during the Wine & Spirits Fair. Marking its 10th edition, the Council joined hands with the Hong Kong Polytechnic University School of Hotel and Tourism Management to co-organise the Asia Wine Academy. Masters of Wine Jeannie Cho Lee and Steve Charters hosted two intensive courses entitled “Contemporary Trends in Wine Consumption” and “Mastering Tasting & Rising Wine Trends.”

At the Wine Industry Conference held on the first day of the fair, entitled “Trends to Watch in 2018: The Business of Bubbles and Beyond,” as well as the ninth Cathay Pacific Hong Kong International Wine & Spirit Competition Award Ceremony, to be held this evening followed by a Gala Wine Dinner.

Under the theme “Cabaret Festival,” the Gala dinner features a menu prepared by two Michelin-starred Chef Fabrice Vulin from the Macau French restaurant, The Tasting Room.

A seminar entitled “Improve Your F&B Operations by Teaming up with Wine & Beverage Suppliers” was held on the second day, as well as the buyer forum “Easy Access: Facilitating Wine Trade to the Mainland Market,” where speakers discuss the hottest industry topics.

Asia’s premium wine and spirits competition
The 9th Cathay Pacific Hong Kong International Wine & Spirit Competition is open for entries until 21 August (spirit) and 28 August (wine). An adjudicating panel comprising Asia’s top wine and spirit judges will take into account the Asian taste and consumption culture as they select the best wines and spirits of the year. The results serve as the ultimate wine guide for Asia’s wine & spirit consumers. A number of awards was given out, including Asian Food and Wine Pairing awards and Best Wine from China.

Public Day
The Wine & Spirits Fair was open to public visitors aged 18 or above on the last day. Valid ticket holders on that day receive a Lucaris crystal wine glass on a first-come first-served basis and while stocks last.

Events held on Public Day include the wine-tasting master class, “Welcome on Board to a First-class Wine Journey by Debra Meiburg, Master of Wine.” Public visitors can also attend beer workshops, wine tastings, cocktail, whisky and liquor demonstrations, and seminars including “Enjoy Sake from Kumamoto with Kumamon,” “What Makes a Good Wine?”, “Choosing from a Wine List,” and “How a Hongkonger Made Wines in Italy,” a sharing session by Hong Kong Wine & Spirits Writers Association Chairman Ronny Lau. The Hong Kong Wine Competition 2017 will also be held on Public Day.

The HKTDC is again organising the Hong Kong Wine Journey citywide promotion, putting together more than 90 wine-related activities in November. While Fair visitors can enjoy free corkage at selected restaurants, the public can take part in a series of events, including wine tasting, themed tours and wine-and-food pairing sessions.

HKTDC
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.

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