Hong Kong Wine & Spirits Fair Taps New Consumer Trends

New Asia Wine Academy Serves Practical Insights into Emerging Tastes in Asia

HONG KONG, Oct 30, 2017 - (ACN Newswire) - Wines with layered subtleties, rediscovered heritage grape varieties and food pairings that rely on savoury umami flavours are among the emerging trends among Asian wine drinkers, according to leading wine authority Jeannie Cho Lee, Master of Wine.

For the first time at the HKTDC Hong Kong International Wine & Spirits Fair - to be held from 9-11 November at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC) - wine consumption trends will be examined in a practical course, led by Ms Lee and Steve Charters, Master of Wine. The Asia Wine Academy is a three-hour programme tailored to buyers, traders, winemakers and keen consumers. The course is based on core teachings from the curriculum of the Master of Science in International Wine Management taught by the two wine experts at the School of Hotel and Tourism Management (SHTM) at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

"In three hours, we plan to teach six hours of university-level material and to take people's understanding of wine and the Asian wine consumer to another level," says Ms Lee, who is SHTM Professor of Practice (Wine) at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

"For advanced consumers of wine, the Asia Wine Academy will uncover their strengths and weaknesses, and provide the opportunity to better understand consumer trends. The focus is very much on trends in wine consumption and I hope the Asia Wine Academy will offer professionals insight into what the future may bring."

The Asia Wine Academy is available at a special rate to registered guests at the Hong Kong International Wine & Spirits Fair. The programme is offered in two, 90-minute sessions titled "Contemporary Trends in Wine Consumption," and "Mastering Tasting and Rising Wine Trends." Attendees who complete both sessions will be presented a certificate of attendance.

Search for authenticity

This year's International Wine & Spirits Fair features more than 30 group pavilions representing wine-producing regions, trade organisations and governmental organisations from around the world. There will be new pavilions by the Syndicat General des Vignerons de la Champagne, France, Southern United States Trade Association, the Russian Export Center, Enterprise Mauritius, Confederacao dos Agricultores de Portugal, Setubal Peninsula Wines, Portugal, and Asociatia Producatorilor si Exportatorilor de Vinuri, Romania.

There will also be first-time exhibitors from Malaysia, Mauritius, Romania, Serbia and Ukraine, a trend that Ms Lee says reflects the emergence of a new wave of consumers; the millennials. "I see wine-purchasing by millennials as moving the needle of wine trends. There's a demand for more authentic wines, including those made organically by small producers who are passionate about what they do."

Exploring new flavours

Ms Lee suggests that wines from Eastern and Central Europe are poised for popularity. Wineries from Slovenia, Georgia, Austria and Greece are likely to be at the forefront of this trend, she says. "Look out for cool climate regions from all parts of the world, such as coastal Chile and high-altitude vineyards from Argentina emerging with lovely, affordable red and white wines," she says.

However, understanding what Asian consumers want today lies in pairings with the region's cuisine. "The secret is umami," says Ms Lee. "Asians love umami, the fifth basic taste discovered by a Japanese scientist more than 100 years ago. There is a definite preference for wines that are subtle, with layers and a balanced taste with depth."

Hong Kong's global role

Euromonitor International estimates that demand for wine in Asia will grow by 8.5 per cent annually between 2016 and 2021. In the Chinese mainland, wine sales will grow by 10 per cent annually over the same period of time. "Most mainland Chinese consumers are new to wine," says Ms Lee. "They have only a limited understanding of wine and want help in figuring out how to select the best wine, how to decipher the label, and to learn about wine in a welcoming environment."

The Hong Kong Government eliminated all duty-related customs and administrative controls on wine in 2008, creating the city's global standing as a wine trading and distribution centre. Since November 2015, the agreement facilitating the import of wine into the mainland through Hong Kong has been expanded to cover all ports in Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen. Hong Kong's leadership role in wine trading and distribution is supported by thriving wine auctions, retailing, catering, transportation, warehousing and education.

As a duty-free port with good air connectivity and excellent storage facilities, Hong Kong is globally recognised as the most cost-effective distribution hub. Wine merchants worldwide favour Hong Kong as a launch pad to expand their business to Asia and the mainland.

Events scheduled across Hong Kong

Across Hong Kong during the International Wine & Spirits Fair, more than 90 activities are scheduled, coming together under the banner of the Hong Kong Wine Journey. The programme includes specially selected menus and food pairings at restaurants across the city, free corkage at some exceptional dining hotspots, wine tastings and tours. For these special offers, refer to the Hong Kong Wine Journey website.

The Hong Kong International Wine & Spirits Fair concludes on 11 November when doors open to public visitors aged 18 or older who are eager to enrich their wine knowledge and experience this signature event. Admission is HK$200 per guest and visitors with a valid ticket will receive a Lucaris crystal wine glass, while stocks last.

Asia Wine Academy: http://hkwinefair.hktdc.com/dm/2017/asia_wine/1st_edm/index_en.html
Hong Kong Wine Journey: www.hktdc.com/hkwinejourney
Fair Website: http://www.hktdc.com/hkwinefair/

Media Registration:
Media representatives wishing to cover the event may register on-site with their business cards and/or media identification.

Full release can be viewed at http://bit.ly/2yXgkZr.

About HKTDC

Established in 1966, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) is a statutory body dedicated to creating opportunities for Hong Kong's businesses. With more than 40 offices globally, including 13 on the Chinese mainland, the HKTDC promotes Hong Kong as a platform for doing business with China, Asia and the world. With 50 years of experience, the HKTDC organises international exhibitions, conferences and business missions to provide companies, particularly SMEs, with business opportunities on the mainland and in international markets, while providing information via trade publications, research reports and digital channels including the media room. For more information, please visit: www.hktdc.com/aboutus. Follow us on Google+, Twitter @hktdc, LinkedIn.
- Google+: https://plus.google.com/+hktdc
- Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/hktdc
- LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/company/hong-kong-trade-development-council

Contact:
HKTDC Communication and Public Affairs Department Agnes Wat Tel: +852 2584 4554 Email: agnes.ky.wat@hktdc.org

Copyright 2017 ACN Newswire. All rights reserved. www.acnnewswire.com
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