In 2010 Hong Kong overtook New York as the world’s biggest venue for wine auctions and wine imports to the Asian city has soared, as it acts as a gateway to the rest of the region. In 2008 the Hong Kong government eliminated wine taxes, subsequently pushing up the sale of low- and mid-end wines. The result is that, as global wine sales have slipped globally over the past two years, wine sales in Hong Kong have climbed 13%.
According to a recent article on www.app.com, this change in the wine sales landscape has brought unique challenges to importers and wine brands. There is not a embedded culture of food and wine pairing, and Chinese palettes are currently regarded as quite rudimentary. Hong Kong, however, is capitalising on this booming trend, with wine bars appearing everywhere in the city, and they are hoping that their title as Asia’s wine capital will draw more tourists to the city.
The article elaborates further:
Last year, the city's second annual Wine & Dine festival, which pairs food and wine from around the world, attracted 110,000 people, up 57 percent from the event held the year before.
"Wine is a growing phenomenon here," says Bill Flora, U.S. director for the Hong Kong Tourism Board. "The number of wine bars that are opening up in Hong Kong is pretty incredible."’
Hong Kong is famous for being a brand-conscious city (Chinese from the mainland take the ferry over weekends to queue for hours to get into the city’s massive Louis Vuitton stores), and this is reflected in the wine being sold. At auctions, bottles of premium Bourdeaux go for as much as $6000, but as consumers become more educated about wine, they are increasingly searching for interesting ‘diamonds in the rough’ and top New World wines.
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