THIS MONTH’S VINEXPO HONG KONG (May 24-26) at the city’s Convention & Exhibition Centre is set to attract 1,300 wine and spirit exhibitors from more than 35 countries worldwide. Italian, South American, Australian, French and Italian producers will all be present alongside first-time exhibitors from countries such as Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Mauritius and Slovakia. It’s the seventh time that Hong Kong, the world’s fifth-largest wine-consuming market, has hosted the biennial event.
France has the biggest presence at the show, occupying the whole of Level 3 of the Convention Centre. Such a dominant position is a reflection of the fact that France remains the number one wine supplier to Asia with 27.2m cases imported in 2014. The full range of France’s wine output will be represented through all its appellations, including Burgundy, the Loire, Bordeaux, Provence, Alsace and Champagne.
At each Vinexpo one country’s wines are showcased and this year it will be Italy’s turn for the spotlight. Despite being the world’s biggest wine exporter, Italy is only the fifth-largest wine exporter to China and the sixth biggest to neighbouring Hong Kong. Nonetheless, sales are growing and China is already importing 4.5m cases of Italian wine each year.
At Vinexpo Hong Kong a conference on Italian Wine in Asia will be held along with wine tastings, masterclasses and seminars. A highlight of this focus will be a walk-round tasting of 200 Italian wines and the top 10 Italian spirits on May 25, organised and hosted by Italian food and wine magazine Gambero Russo.
A programme of some 60 wine and spirits events will be held during the three-day exhibition. Seminars planned include ones dedicated to the Asian potential of the Shiraz grape and emerging Chinese wine regions.
Tastings and masterclasses will be presented by luminaries from the wine world such as wine writer Debra Meiburg MW; Dixon Yuan, chief executive of Chinese online wine retailer YesMyWine; Bordeau-based oenologist Michell Rolland; and French wine writing duo Bettane & Desseauve.
All the exhibitors at the show will have access to a new, free One-to-Wine Meetings service. The new platform of qualified, targeted, pre-planned meetings led to a high satisfaction rate among exhibitors (86%) and buyers (85%) when first trialled in Vinexpo Bordeaux last year.
“With visiting professionals just as important to us as the exhibitors, the service adds a superior degree of professionalism to the trade show,” says Vinexpo chief executive Guillaume Deglise.
This year’s show takes place at a time when Hong Kong’s wine business is gradually recovering from the effects of the Chinese government’s austerity drive.
According to the results of a newly published joint study by Vinexpo and IWSR, wine sales were down 1.4% in 2014 with the most notable growth coming from affordable wines costing around HK$100. In this price segment sales were up 16.3%, with cheaper Spanish cava and Italian prosecco driving nearly a 47% increase in sparkling wine sales.
For more details on Vinexpo Hong Kong, see vinexpohongkong.com/en/