Nearly 20,000 trade buyers from 70 countries and regions attended the three-day Wine & Spirits Fair, up 2.3 per cent from last year. Attendance from individual countries recorded encouraging growth, including the Chinese mainland, Malaysia, Vietnam, France, the United States, Australia and Chile. Over 25,000 public visitors attended the fair . when it was open to ticketed public visitors aged 18 and above. The blend of trade and public participants created a vibrant platform for business.
New mainland customs facilitation scheme to bolster Hong Kong's wine hub status
Paul Chan, Financial Secretary of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government, was the guest of honour at the Wine & Spirits Fair's opening ceremony. He used the occasion to announce that wine re-exported from Hong Kong would enjoy instant customs clearance in all 42 mainland customs districts with immediate effect. The measures were previously applicable to only five mainland customs districts, namely Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Guangzhou and Shenzhen.
Under the customs facilitation scheme, pre-registered Hong Kong wine traders can submit advance wine consignment information online and enjoy instant customs clearance when the consignments arrive at mainland ports. The measures apply only to wines re-exported to the mainland through Hong Kong.
Benjamin Chau, Deputy Executive Director of the HKTDC, welcomed the new measures. "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. 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 will enjoy faster customs clearance and greater certainty when re-exporting wines through Hong Kong," said Mr Chau.
"Adding to our advantages such as advanced infrastructure, transportation networks and experienced industry professionals, the new measures will 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."
Asia Wine Academy debuts
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, Debra Meiburg, another Master of Wine, conducted the session "Trends to Watch in 2018: The Business of Bubbles and Beyond", where speakers shared their insights on the market outlook for various wines, with a special focus on sparkling wines.
New Champagne Avenue uncorks Asian opportunities
This year's Wine & Spirits Fair featured a new pavilion organised by the Syndicat General des Vignerons de la Champagne of France, which showcased seven champagne makers from four wine regions in Champagne, France. Wine tastings were held at the new Champagne Avenue to promote the champagnes from small and medium-sized wine producers.
During the three-day fair, a total of more than 20 champagnes were showcased and 14 wine tastings were held at the Champagne Avenue. "The atmosphere at the Wine & Spirits Fair was good. We have met a lot of buyers, especially those from Hong Kong, the Chinese mainland, Taiwan and Japan who have expressed strong interest in our champagnes. We see strong potential for growth for the champagne market in Asia," said Clotilde Chauvet, Winemaker of French champagne supplier Marc Chauvet, an exhibitor at the fair.
Asian buyers thirsty for international wines
Johnson Chang, Purchasing Director of 1919 Wines & Spirits Platform Technology Co Ltd, a renowned mainland-based wine e-retailer and services provider, said: "At the fair, we have placed an order for 150,000 bottles of wine with a French exhibitor and another for 25 container loads of wine with an Australian exhibitor. The HKTDC's business matching service has helped us reach different exhibitors and enhanced our sourcing efficiency."