In terms of wine auctions, Hong Kong now boasts that it's the second most important venue in the world, outside of New York, and has warned that the Big Apple had better start watching its back.
Moves are afoot to further establish the city's credentials, too, and and this month the city welcomes the wine world to town for the industry's biggest annual event Vinexpo (www.vinexpo.com), which will run from May 25 to 27 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.
Always quick to get in on the act, a bunch of savvy local event organizers are tapping into the all the attention at the same time by holding a Wine Week (http://www.hongkongwineweek.com) from May 20-30, the highlight of which will be a Wine Walk that will take wine lovers around the center of the city and through its many bars and club all the while tasting the best wines available.
Since the Hong Kong government abolished all duties on wine in 2008, business has boomed in Hong Kong with new stores opening up all over town and sales by international auction houses regularly setting records. As recently as March when a bottle of Lafite 1996 sold for 17,300 euros, almost six thousand euros more than expected and the city is proudly saying that such results are breathing new life into the international wine market.
Just how true that claim is will be revealed at Vinexpo, which this year has attracted 842 exhibitors from around 32 wine-producing nations. The event will also be hosting a wine academy to help educate and inform the local public about the wonders of wine and there will be general seminars and workshops as well.
A recent study released by the Vinexpo organizers suggest that wine sales in the region are set to increase by around US$2 billion (1.5 billion euros) in the next three years and Dominique Dubreuil, chairman of Vinexpo Asia Pacific, believes the market in Asia already has most refined tastes.
She claimes one in four bottles of wine bought in Hong Kong comes from France, for example, hence Vinexpo will have a large presence from the likes of Baron Philippe de Rothschild, Louis Roederer, Castel Frres and Rmy Cointreau.
"It is no secret the wine world is looking to Asia and especially to Hong Kong and China," she told Relaxnews. "Some of the finest wines I have ever tasted have been in Hong Kong and the people here really know about their wines. The growth in the industry here and in wine appreciation is remarkable and the city has in a very short time established itself as one of the most important places to by wine and of course to enjoy it."