In Hong Kong yesterday, living a Travelife, I had a long layover and several hours to spare before catching my next flight.
So I decided to hop into a car and head straight to Vinexpo Asia Pacific 2014 to taste some good wine and to talk grapes with some industry contacts for a few hours.
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Vinexpo Asia-Pacific 2014, which closed yesterday,was the largest and most successful in the history of Asia’s premier professional wine and spirits expo.
Held at the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre (HKCEC), the three-day trade exhibition, which ran from May 27-29, exceeded all expectations. 1,300 exhibitors representing wines and spirits brands from 34 countries participated in this major wine event.
To meet demand, 50% more exhibition space was booked and the venue was extended over two large halls of the Convention Centre for the first time.
Just hours before closing, the first estimation of attendance was approximately 16,800 wine decision-makers including importers, distributors and major purchasers.
This set a new record forthe number of industry professionals attending the show, up 6.4% from the data for Vinexpo Asia-Pacific 2012.
During the closing press conference, Chairman of Vinexpo Xavier de Eizaguirre remarked: “Buyers from China slightly increased, but the most significant changes came from Southeast Asia with an increasing number of buyers from Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand or Vietnam.”
The Vinexpo Academy also staged its largest ever line-up of top-flight tastings, conferences and master classes with the following eclectic programme:
– 54 premium events including 30 seated tastings
– five standing tastings
– 15 conferences and four master classes
Participants in the Vinexpo Academy of tastings, seminars and presentations numbered more than 9,000 professionals.
Meanwhile, the tutored tastings highlighted the best appellations and vintages of France: Burgundy, Beaujolais, Saint-Emilion and Bordeaux.
Wines from Chile, Italy, China, Switzerland, Argentina and South Africa were also represented.
Leading figures of the wine world also hosted events at the show, included masters of wine, oenologists, winemakers, sommeliers and consultants such as Paolo Basso, Jeannie Cho Lee, Hubert de Boüard, Li Demei, Michel Rolland, Simon Tam, Jane Skilton, Debra Meiburg and Nelson Chow.
At this year’s show, more focus than ever before was on China as the market soars in importance, becoming the world’s largest red wine consumer. Chinese producers were also out in force, including Yantai Changyu Pioneer Wine and the country’s premier fine wine maker Dynasty Fine Wines.
For the first time at Vinexpo, a number of China-centric events took place to give exhibitors and visitors important insights into the future of the Mainland wine market.
A highlight was the China Wine Forum which included apanel debate with China experts discussing the following topic ‘The China Wine Market – What does the future hold?’
Guest panelists included:
1) Judy Chan, CEO of Chinese wine producer Grace Vineyards
2) Don St Pierre Jr, Board Member of ASC Fine Wines one of the country’s leading distributors
3) Simon Tam, Head of Wines for China at Christie’s
4) Dixon Yuan, CEO of China’s leading online wine portal yesmywine.com
Dixon Yuan commented;“Wine, especially red wine, is the drink of choice for China’s young generation these days. But brand building is very important in this competitive market. You have to establish direct relationships with consumers,and get the knowledge about your wine over to them.”
“The response has been truly amazing, confirming Vinexpo’s standing as Asia’s premier wine and spirits exhibition,” said Vinexpo CEO Mr. Guillaume Deglise. “Hong Kong is without any doubt the gateway to China and the Asian hub for our industry.This market is also far more sophisticated than ever, which is reflected in the business and atmosphere this year.”
A glamorous new bar concept called ‘Spiritual’ presented a vast array of spirits and cocktails for visitors to taste in the liveliest, customer-friendly ambience encountered at any trade show before.
Exhibitors and visitors were also unanimous in their praise for Vinexpo 2014, commenting on the increased levels of knowledge, sophistication and spirit of openness to the business of wine and spirits.
Rodoflo Marallli, Commercial and Marketing Director of the Tuscan wine producer Castello Banfi said: “This is the fourth consecutive year for us at Vinexpo Hong Kong and we continue to see a growing wine knowledge amongst visitors. Vinexpo is the best opportunity to network with key industry professionals in this market.”