How U.S. Trade ‘Wines Up’ in Hong Kong
The largest wine expo was unveiled this week in Hong Kong, attracting high-profile members of the wine industry.
Vinexpo has attracted more than 9,500 wine and spirits importers, wholesalers, retailers, duty-free buyers, and food and beverage professionals from 18 countries, organizers reported.
More than 40 events have been arranged over the three-day show that began on Wednesday, including tastings, seminars, and presentations by well-known wine and spirits experts, and industry specialists.
The U.S. delegation traveled to Hong Kong in an effort to open the market to U.S. wines. Headed by Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, the United States wants to expand its trade mission to Asia.
Hong Kong has revolutionalized its wine industry by deregulating the 40 percent import tax in 2008. The elimination of wine duty in Hong Kong has changed the landscape for fine and vintage wine markets around the world.
According to Serena Sutcliffe, who heads Sotheby’s International Wine department, “Sotheby’s first year of selling wine in Asia, Hong Kong has become Sotheby’s most important wine centre, ahead of very successful auctions in New York and London.”
By the end of 2008, the value of imported wines had increased 82 percent over 2007. Competition may be aggressive, whereby seven other international wine-producing regions have signed agreements with Hong Kong, hence the promotion of quality wines with local and regional cuisine is endorsed as a pivotal part of growing business in Asia.
Hong Kong has embraced wine appreciation in the mainstream, which has offered an injection into the Special Administrative Region’s tourism and the expansion of wine auctions and improved preservation services.