Vinexpo In Hong Kong

Vinexpo Asia Pacific, the International Wine and Spirits Exhibition for the Asia Pacific region, will again be held in Hong Kong on 27, 28 and 29 May. The last Vinexpo in Hong Kong was held in 2006 and was hailed as a resounding success. More than 7,500 visitors are expected and by January the exhibition was full.

A further 1,200 sq. m of floor space was added in the main hall of the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre, reaching a total stand area of 7,000 sq. m to help fit all the exhibitors in.

France is the leading supplier of Asian countries with a 34% market share in Japan and China. As in 2006, a 100 sq. m French pavilion managed by Sopexa, will host a large number of French wine companies.

Some reputed names will also be exhibiting: Baron Philippe de Rothschild, Lanson International, Castel Frères, Maison Louis Latour, Les Grands Chais de France, Maison Louis Jadot, Champagne Thiénot, CVBG Dourthe Kressmann and Rémy Cointreau. This diverse French offering will total almost 3,300 sq. m of stands.

There has been a great deal of spin on the promising markets awaiting in the East – see my Blog En Primeur – Is This The End As We Know It? I am rather cautious about jumping on the band wagon until those markets are sufficiently developed.

There are 31 countries exhibiting with 700 exhibitors in total. On behalf of Asia, the emerging producer country China will be represented by Dynasty Fine Wines Group Ltd., MC Group, Oeno Wines Ltd., Bugeaud Wine Limited, etc. Singapore will be there with Red & White International Ltd. and for the first time there will be a Korean pavilion accommodating about 10 producers.

The US will attend with a Californian pavilion (The Wine Institute of California). South America will be represented especially by Argentina and Chile, whose wine sales are booming in some Asian countries. Venezuela, Mexico, Uruguay and Canada will attend Vinexpo Asia-Pacific for the first time.

China already consumes the largest volumes of wine in Asia, while Japan’s wine drinking budget is the highest. Overall, Asia leads the world in consumption of spirits. Earlier this year Hong Kong abolished its customs duty on wine, which augurs well for the future. (check out my Blog: East Meets West: Hong Kong Opens Door to Wine)

This will enable Hong Kong to take one step closer to being the control centre of the international wine and spirits trade in Asia. Sophie Kevany reported in Decanter that a call for Hong Kong to become the Asian hub for wine distribution was made in Paris earlier this week by the island’s Chief Secretary.

Speaking on a visit to Paris earlier this week, he said that since the lifting of import duties on wine into Hong Kong earlier this year, volumes were up by about 78% and values by 215%.

There have been a lot of figures touted about the rising consumption in Asia and doubtless Hong Kong will make an excellent centre having a good location, transport and logistics infrastructure and experience in promoting, storing and distributing wine – however the rest of Asia does not.

The industry is still in its infancy and despite figures estimating that the consumption of still and sparkling wines in Asia will grow by 79.3% between 2002 and 2011 it is important to remember that statistics can be deceptive. By 2011 – according to these figures – Asia should drink 11.85 million hectolitres of wine. Sounds a lot doesn’t it? But it is only 4.85% of total world consumption.

China may very well be the golden goose that lays the golden eggs – but I wonder if too many people are counting those eggs before they have hatched?

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