On the ground at Vinexpo Asia: Highlights from Day One 

May 28, 2024
By Cody Profaca

Vinexpo Asia, the leading wine trade event for producers looking to import into the Asian market, has today kicked off its 2024 installment in Hong Kong with a full schedule of masterclasses, conferences, and tastings. 

According to CEO of Vinexposium Rodolphe Lameyse, “Hong Kong stands out as a key success factor thanks to its strategic geographical position, the diversity of importing countries nearby, and its direct access to the Chinese market. Attracting a multitude of importers, wholesalers, wine merchants, distributors, retailers, hoteliers and restaurateurs, the city offers a unique platform where these professionals can meet, exchange, taste and do business with experts in the wine and spirits industry.”

In total, 1,032 producers from 35 different nations are in attendance at this year’s event, with Australia having the third highest count of exhibitors behind France and Italy. This includes the 51 unique wine exhibitors being represented by Wine Australia. 

One of these exhibitors was Best’s Wines Great Western: “What we want to do is strategically tap into the Asian market and, now that the tariffs have lifted in China, to have a look at the market there,” said Graeme Hogan, National Sales Manager.

“It’s significantly down on what it used to be, but [we’re] still interested in that market, as well as Hong Kong: we would be interested to get [an importer] there too.”

Wine Australia also hosted a series of masterclasses throughout the day that provided greater insight into Australian wine. The first of these, called Modern Australia, was a look at six expressions of less typical Australian wine styles conducted by one of Hong Kong’s leading WSET educators.

Following the session, the Drinks Trade team sat down with Matt Hui, principal educator at Sommelier Education Centre Hong Kong, to discuss the current positioning of Australian wine in Hong Kong and greater Asia markets.

“There are quite a lot of knowledgeable population/wine-knowledgeable population in Hong Kong, but then I think most people still think Australian wine is all about commercial, cheap, bold, powerful; but then that’s not true,” said Hui.

“That’s the reason why we have things like this: to tell people who are looking for the cool climate region, looking for alternatives… they’re really trying new things. That’s the reason why if you look at a wine shop in Hong Kong nowadays, you can actually quite easily find those [traits] I mentioned, like alternative and then modern styles, from across the country.”

Riverland Wine hosted the next masterclass in Wine Australia’s masterclass space, providing visitors with insight into the stylistic and value-based variations of the South Australian region. As it stands, the Riverland wine region, which is responsible for 34% of Australia’s annual crush, features more than 930 wine grape growers that collectively grow more than 100 individual grape varieties.

Following this, Margaret River Wine conducted a masterclass focusing on Chardonnay, Wine Yarra Valley conducted a masterclass covering Pinot Noir, and McLaren Vale Grape Wine & Tourism dove into the region’s expressions of Grenache and Shiraz.

The first day of Vinexpo Asia 2024 also featured various international masterclasses as part of the Vinexpo Academy program. This included a panel consumer trends and challenges of Hong Kong and the Greater Bay Area, deeper analysis of current trends and considerations related to various prominent wine styles and regions, and a lesson in blind tasting with one of the world’s best palettes, Reeze Choi.

Drinks Trade will be sharing more exclusive interview content and wine industry insight from Vinexpo Asia over next two days of the show.

Share the content