Hong Kong International Wine and Spirits Fair 2018, China

The 11th edition of the HKTDC Hong Kong International Wine & Spirits Fair, to uncork another vintage journey from vine to cellar. Last from November 8-10 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, 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 bottle to bottle. The three days of intense trading among global business interests and a period of camaraderie, information-gathering and the furtherance of international wine culture.

Hong Kong enjoys a competitive edge over other Asian regions in wine trading, following the abolition of wine duty in 2008 as well as customs facilitation measures between Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland. This provides promising grounds for wine producers around the world to leverage on Hong Kong’s advantages and do business in Asia through Hong Kong. As Asia’s wine trading hub with a global reach, the Hong Kong International Wine & Spirits Fair is the ideal platform for wine traders to source wine products and exchange market intelligence.

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.

Hong Kong Wine Fair 2018
The 2018 event gathering over 1,070 exhibitors from 33 countries and regions, the Fair features some 70 spectacular wine events including tastings, dedicated zones, interactive demonstrations and trend seminars, representing a global attraction for every wine and spirits lover, from beginner to connoisseur.

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.

Each year the Wine Fair’s Gala Dinner delights with themed decoration and entertainment. The Wine Fair’s Gala Dinner took esteemed guests, buyers, producers and VIPs on a journey of enchanting excellence under this year’s theme “A Forest of Delights”. With good spirits all around, guests enjoyed a night of opulence, networking and good conversation, not to mention fine wines and exceptional gastronomy.

The 11th edition of the Wine & Spirits Fair saw exhibitors offering a wider array of wine and spirits for buyers from around the world. This year exhibitors promoting a greater variety of drinks than ever before, including spirits such as whiskies, gins and rums from Peru, Mauritius and Finland, as well as sakes and fruit wines from Japan and baijius and yellow wines from the Chinese mainland.

Pavilions from various countries and regions, as well as trade organisations take part in Wine & Spirits Fair this year, including Bettane+Desseauve, Business France, Canadian Food Exporters Association, Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Promotion, Italian Trade Commission, Veronafiere, Japan External Trade Organization, ICEX Spain Trade and Investment, Setúbal Península Wines, Portugal, Southern United States Trade Association and Peru Pavilion etc.

This year, pavilions from the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade Sichuan Council, the Department of Commerce of Zhejiang Province, Ningxia’s General Office of Administrative Committee of Grape Industry Zong of Helan Mountain’s East Foothill Wine Region, the Czech Grape and Wine Producers Association, Gifu Prefecture and the Niigata Sake Brewers’ Association from Japan, and Peru was set up for the first time.

Clos Du Val is one of the most historical wineries in Napa Valley which participated in 1976 Judgment of Paris Tasting, which forever changed the world’s view on California’s Cabernet. Royal Orchid Wine (Hong Kong) Company Limited brings Clos Du Val Estate Cabernet Sauvignon which received the highest rank in the 10th anniversary of the Judgment of Paris Tasting. It has aromas of black fruits with rich and complex palate. The texture is round and full of structured tannins, making it stand out from the rest.

Wine’s Link Ltd presents Bleu de Mer, a brand under the French wine giant group Bernard Magrez. Bleu de Mer has launched three different wines, including the refreshing and elegant Sauvignon Blanc; the round in texture, silky Merlot; and the fruity, mouthwatering Rose blended with grenache and cinsault.

Another gem not to be missed is TATENOKAWA Junmai Daiginjo “ZENITH Dewasansan” brought by Liquid Gold Corporation Limited. Located in Ginjo of Yamagata Prefecture, TATENOKAWA is the world’s first and only brewery that accomplishes 1% of rice polishing ratio for brewing sake, demonstrating its excellent mastership in sake brewing procedures. Only 150 bottles “ZENITH Dewasansan” were produced.

Leung Yick Company Ltd presents Fireball Cinnamon Whisky Liqueur which is a Canadian whiskey infused with natural cinnamon. The fiery taste has made it one of the most popular whisky served in the United States.

Norwegian Food & Beverages Co Limited brings Edel Cider, an exclusive Cider from Norway made with organic apples. Edel Cider is produced of 100% freshly pressed apple juice. It takes 7.3 kg apples to produce 1 liter of Cider. It has been awarded in various international cider competitions.

Other exhibits on display at this year’s fair include:
2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley from the famous United States winery Castello di Amorosa, which resembles a medieval castle, was featured. The wine was awarded 93 points by renowned wine critic James Suckling;

Barahonda Organic Barrica 2015 is an organic product from the Barahonda winery in Yelca, Spain, which won praise from wine critic Robert Parker for being good value for money. The 2015 vintage is produced from a blend of Monastrell and Syrah grapes;

MasahiroOkinawa Craft Gin (Recipe 1) is the first handcrafted gin produced by a distillery in Okinawa, Japan. The distillery has been producing awamori, an indigenous distilled spirit, for more than 130 years. The gin is a concoction of Okinawan local produce such as bitter melon and pepper, giving it a unique flavour;

Pisco Huamani from Peru employs a 125-year-old recipe and a traditional Peruvian distillation method that uses freshly fermented grape juice instead of aged wine. It received a silver medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition;

Wheat Blanc from Sweden is an organic beer that uses champagne yeast during brewing, giving it a fruity tone and a unique taste.

The fair also feature a Liquor & Beverage Products zone, a Whisky and Spirits zone and a Beer zone, together with zones that promote the industry’s all-round development, including Wine Education, Wine Accessories, Equipment and Services and Wine Investment. Food-pairing products was showcased in the Friends of Wine zone.

Whiskies have seen a sharp rise in popularity in Hong Kong in recent years. Attention has primarily focused on the major brands from Scotland and Japan, but the willingness of people to try whiskies from other production areas and smaller-scale brands shows that the market is maturing.

Exhibitors this year presented whiskies from many different regions, including Chinese Taiwan, Scotland, Japan, the United States, France and the Czech Republic. Besides products from distilleries of various scales, a number of exhibitors also showcased whiskies from smaller independent bottling companies to suit buyers’ needs.

To further enhance the diversity of exhibits, World of Olive Oil, a dedicated olive oil section debut this year. Visitors can enhance their knowledge on different kinds of olive oil by participating in various activities and visiting the tasting bar.

Industry interactions
A panoply of events take place during the three-day fair, including grand tastings, master classes, wine tastings, cocktail demonstration and seminars. It is an excellent opportunity for buyers to soak up the latest market intelligence and product and marketing developments in the wine industry.

The HKTDC organise about 70 events during the fair, including more than 10 tasting sessions showcasing wines from around the world. It will also host numerous industry-exchange events, including a wine industry conference, thematic seminars, master classes, educational talks, a cocktail reception and a gala dinner, providing a comprehensive business and exchange platform for industry players.

At the Wine Industry Conference to be held on the first day, Master of Wine Debra Meiburg MW host a session entitled “Driving Growth: The Flourishing Asia Wine Market”. Speakers include Sarah Heller MW, Wainwright Advisors’ Director David Wainwright and Wines of South Africa Asia Market Manager Marcus Ford, who share their insights on the prospects and trends for the wine industry in the Asian market.

Following a successful debut in 2017, the Asia Wine Academy, co-organised by the HKTDC and the Hong Kong Polytechnic University School of Hotel and Tourism Management, returns this year. On the theme of “Seeking Greatness: Decoding Wine Quality”, Masters of Wine Jeannie Cho Lee and Sarah Heller share their insights into Italian and French wines, exploring how wine style, regions and production methods affect wine quality, and teach methods for assessing wine.

Asia’s premium wine and spirits competition
The Hong Kong International Wine & Spirit Competition has been the guide to quality international wines and spirits for the booming Asian market. An adjudicating panel comprising Asia’s top wine and spirit judges 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 Green Wine Award.

Public Day
The Fair’s final day is open to the public, giving Hong Kong’s passionate wine fans a chance to experience world-class industry events. Visitors can enjoy grand tastings, master classes, cocktail demonstrations and seminars that enrich wine knowledge. Meanwhile, buyers and exhibitors can gain valuable first-hand market intelligence by engaging directly with their target consumers.

The Hong Kong Wine Competition was one of the main attractions on Public Day. Visitors can join seminars, wine tastings and master classes, with whisky and cocktail demonstrations helping to enrich their drinks knowledge. Wine expert Stephen Mack, CEO and Principal Tutor of the Asia Wine Service and Education Centre host two sessions: “An Introduction to Key Sake Styles” and “West-meeting-East: Comparing Wine & Sake”. The fairground also feature a wine-pairing station hosted by the International Culinary Institute to provide visitors with wine-and-food pairing experiences.

This year, the HKTDC once again organise the Hong Kong Wine Journey citywide promotion, putting together more than 90 wine-related activities in November. In addition to enjoying free corkage at selected restaurants, the public can take part in a series of wine tastings, themed tours and wine-pairing events, among others.

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.