Asia's largest wine industry gathering kicked off today with 32 wine-making nations represented but with all eyes firmly fixed on China.

Vinexpo Asia-Pacific runs until Thursday, May 27 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre and such is the international interest in the event that organizers are this year providing daily updates on to their website about what is going on.

Much of the focus will be on China - the country predicted by expo organizers to be the world's seventh-largest wine consumer by 2013, some leap considering as recently as five years ago the nation didn't even factor as part of the international wine market.

Leading the Chinese push on the opening day were the people from Dynasty Fine Wines, mainland China's leading winemakers who unveiled their Premier Royal Selection - Dynasty Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2005 and the Dynasty Muscat Sparkling Wine.

The Dynasty label was established in 1980 as a joint venture with Remy Cointreau - its grapes are grown in Tianjin and by the lakes near the Wunushan mountains - and the label is for the first time this year marketing its vintages to the international wine world.

"Our award-winning history since is a remarkable reflection of the proud traditions and state-of-the-art expertise of Remy Cointreau,'' Bai Zhisheng, the chairman and executive director of Dynasty Fine Wines Group Limited, said in a press release.

Meanwhile, to coincide with the expo launch today a survey was released by Nielsen Co which showed Hongkongers last year drank 1.8 million more bottles of wine last than they did in 2008.

The Hong Kong government scrapped its duty on wine in 2008 and the locals are obviously loving it - prices have dropped by around 13 per cent on average ever since.

About one in three bottles bought come from France too, according to Vinexpo organizers, hence that country's wine makers are occupying around half the space at the event.

VInexpo has this year attracted more than 9,500 wine and spirits importers, wholesalers, retailers, duty free buyers and food and beverage professionals from 18 countries, organizers claim.

More than 40 events have been arranged for the event's three days, including tastings, seminars and presentations by well-known wine and spirits experts and industry specialists.

MS

www.vinexpo.com

www.dynasty-wines.com

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