Hong Kong, ten years later
This year Hong Kong officially celebrates 10 years as a tax-free haven for wine and Asia’s major wine trading hub. Much has changed over the past decade: Hong Kong has zoomed past both London and New York to become the world’s wine auction capital. Hong Kong’s number of wine importers per capita is probably unmatched in the world, although since wine importers no longer need to be licensed, it’s a hard fact to prove.
The following are the extended remarks on the matter given to Meininger by Sarah Heller MW, for their piece published December 21, by Nimbility Founding Partner Francesca Martin.
”The development of a healthy mid-market is, meanwhile, a trend in and of itself. Only within the past five years or so has interest in wine trickled down from the fine wine sphere to the broader populace. Francesca Martin of branding consultancy Nimbility remarks that younger consumers are after unique products: wines made in lesser known regions or using unusual grape varieties or techniques hold more appeal than the branded wines their parents drink. The preferred setting also seems to be trending towards the casual, with unconventional efforts like Detour – a coffee bar by day, an organic wine bar three nights a week – drawing more customers than many conventional wine bars did mere years ago.
Ian Wong, proprietor of boutique importer Cork Culture, concurs, reporting that he sees an increased interest in skin-contact wines. Perhaps as a consequence of the popularity of collectable Burgundy, even the mid-market has developed an “insatiable thirst” for Pinot. However, much of this enthusiasm for the alternative has, as ever, equally benefited competitor products like craft beer, sake and artisanal spirits. Martin of Nimbility notes several wine importers are expanding their portfolios with spirits in particular. “