Monday 8 June 2009

HK's wine thirst

"Product of Hong Kong" is new to Asia's multi-billion dollar wine industry, but The 8th Estate Winery has produced the region's first vintage.ShotlistStory
"Product of Hong Kong" is new to Asia's multi-billion dollar wine industry, but The 8th Estate Winery on the island has produced the region's first vintage.

Hong Kong is without its own vineyards, but thawing, fermentation, aging and blending of imported grapes take place at the winery, producing reds, whites and ice wines.

Last year Hong Kong lifted its wine tax, hoping to position itself as Asia's wine hub, which The 8th Estate's director said was key in selecting its winery location.

Lysanne Tusar, Director of The 8th Estate Winery saying:

"That's a part of the reason we established the business here is that it was obvious that Hong Kong was positioning itself to be a global leader in the wine market. The government is behind the wine industry. It's relatively easy to set up business here, the demographic and the population here love wine. It's becoming a daily beverage. Everything just seems to make a lot of sense to be here."

The 8th Estate produces 100,000 bottles from 50 tons of grapes, with 60,000 sold and the rest kept for aging.

Photographer Michael Chung was impressed by the whites.

Michael Chung, Wine Tasting Customer saying:

"They are quite light, very drinkable wines. I think there are a couple there which are very, very good. But I think it depends on your palate. Everybody likes different things."

The wine industry estimates that total spending on table wine in Asian economies, excluding Japan, is around $7 billion, which accounts for about 7 percent of the global market.

China is not considered a traditional wine-drinking nation but consumption is growing fast, while the forecast for Asian growth is up to 20 percent annually, a result the industry will definitely raise a glass to.

Puja Bharwani, Reuters.

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