Asia's biggest wine expo opens in Hong Kong

The who's who of the wine world gathered in Hong Kong on Tuesday for Asia's biggest wine and spirits fair, hoping to tap the booming but still relatively young Chinese market.

Organisers of the three-day Vinexpo Asia-Pacific expect demand for imported wine to weather the slowdown in Chinese economic growth, forecast to fall to 7.5 percent this year from 9.2 percent in 2011.

A deep dip in prices of Bordeaux's most prestigious, investment-grade wines last year suggests the Chinese-driven speculative bubble may have burst, but the market for more modest mid-range wines will open up, they said.

"The promise of the Chinese market and the Asian market continues to be very high. The growth is still there," Vinexpo chief executive Robert Beynat told AFP.

China leapt to fifth place of top wine consuming nations last year, overtaking Britain, and Asia is expected to account for more than half of worldwide growth in consumption over the next three years, organisers said.

China is the world's biggest drinker of spirits, with 995 million cases guzzled in 2010 -- almost double the volume consumed in 2006, according to Vinexpo.

But the average mainland Chinese drinker still only consumes 1.3 litres (0.34 US gallons) of wine a year, compared with 2.4 litres in Japan and 50 litres in France.

Wine producers are looking forward to a "bright future" as the market matures and consumption grows, especially as Chinese drinkers learn that good wine need not cost a fortune, Beynat said.

"It's fashionable (in China) to have very expensive wine and to offer your friends very expensive wine. The challenge for the industry is to show that there is good wine at every price," he said.

Around 1,000 exhibitors attended the expo at Hong Kong's harbourside convention centre, from the great French chateaux to major global distributors and the best of the "new world" such as California and Australia.

French wines account for around 45 percent of Chinese imports in terms of value. The Bordeaux region alone sold 334 million euros ($420 million) worth of wine to China last year, a 91 percent increase over the year before.

"The solid base we have, but we need to look at how we go to the next step," Bordeaux Wine Council president Georges Haushalter said.

"We need to make sure that the knowledge of wine, and of Bordeaux wines especially, goes deep down to the Chinese consumer so that it's beyond a fashionable item as it is nowadays."

He said the big Bordeaux names such as Lafite Rothschild and Petrus were already well known in China, but the mid-range appellations tended to be overlooked.

"Probably where we deliver the best value is in the middle of the range, and when this core range starts to make inroads you really feel that Bordeaux has built some roots," Haushalter said.

Nikki Palun, the Mandarin-speaking Asia-Pacific export manager for De Bortoli Wines of Australia, said Chinese consumers were becoming increasingly sophisticated.

"The Chinese consumer is very intelligent and they are learning fast, and they can discern quality," she told AFP at the Australian pavilion in the cavernous expo hall.

"We're really trying to pitch that you can get a wine of similar quality to some of the Bordeaux, but not pay the price."

She said there was an "incredible suspicion" in China about counterfeit wines, which was hurting the premium labels.

"A lot of the wealthy Chinese are buying their Bordeaux, but with counterfeit problems they're now looking to buy other brands," she said.

China and Hong Kong represent the third-largest export market for Australian wine by value, at more than Aus$268 million (US$262 million), according to official figures.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Philippines to fly over disputed South China Sea: Aquino
    Philippines to fly over disputed South China Sea: Aquino

    Philippine military and commercial aircraft will keep flying over disputed areas in the South China Sea despite Chinese warnings over the airspace, President Benigno Aquino said on Monday. "We will still fly the routes that we fly based on the international law from the various conventions we entered into," Aquino told reporters when asked whether the Philippines accepted China's position. The Chinese military last week ordered a US Navy P-8 Poseidon surveillance plane away from airspace …

  • Mitsubishi reaches out to far-flung Batad community
    Mitsubishi reaches out to far-flung Batad community

    A “Dadbod” is a newly coined term now trending in media. It was introduced to the world by Clemson University sophomore Mackenzie Pearson as she refers to any man—father or bachelor—with a physique that’s a “nice balance between a beer gut and working out.” “It’s more human, natural, and attractive,” she adds. For this writer, […] The post Mitsubishi reaches out to far-flung Batad community appeared first on Carmudi Philippines. …

  • Aquino: Philippines to fly usual routes over disputed reefs

    MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Philippine aircraft will continue to fly their usual routes over disputed reefs in the South China Sea, the country's president said Monday, defying China's challenges to its planes and those of the United States. …

  • A weekend of premium cars
    A weekend of premium cars

    Good news to all luxury car fanatics as PGA Cars, the exclusive importer and distributor of Audi, Porsche, Lamborghini and Bentley cars in the country, will be holding the PGA Cars Premium Festival from May 29 to May 31 at the PGA Center in Global City in Taguig. The 3-day event will showcase PGA’s latest […] The post A weekend of premium cars appeared first on Carmudi Philippines. …

  • APEC ministers to endorse Boracay Action Agenda
    APEC ministers to endorse Boracay Action Agenda

    Trade ministers at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting in Boracay, Aklan agreed yesterday to endorse the proposed Boracay Action Agenda to the member countries’ leaders, presenting opportunities for global trade for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). In a press conference following the conclusion of the APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade Meeting, Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo, who also served as chairman, said ministers agreed to recommend the adoption of the …

  • Talks with China over sea row urged
    Talks with China over sea row urged

    The Philippines should engage China in bilateral talks in its efforts to maintain peace and order at the disputed West Philippine Sea, Sen. Francis Escudero said yesterday. Escudero supports the government’s move to bring the issue before international arbitration but also stressed the need for the Philippines to pursue talks with China. Escudero made the statement after UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Friday called for a peaceful solution to territorial disputes in the South China Sea. …

  • House panel tackles bill on regular disaster drills
    House panel tackles bill on regular disaster drills

    The House committee on national defense is deliberating on a measure mandating the regular conduct of disaster risk reduction drills in educational institutions nationwide. Authored by Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando Andaya Jr., the bill mandates that risk reduction drills be held annually in all educational institutions throughout the country in coordination with the schools’ respective local government units. “The Philippines’ location along the Pacific Ring of Fire and close to the equator …

  • PCSO running out of funds
    PCSO running out of funds

    Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) chairman Ireneo Maliksi has admitted that the revenue-generating agency is running out of funds as it continues with its mandate to provide financial assistance to indigent Filipinos. Aside from providing financial help to individual recipients, Maliksi cited at least 13 laws that mandates the PCSO to provide mandatory contribution to different government agencies. Just last week, PCSO released P100 million to the Commission on Higher Education as …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options