Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Markets Moving East

The old American and European centers of gravity in the wine world are moving east. Among the most striking trends in wine in recent years is the increasing importance of the Asian markets, from retail to auction to media.

This morning, for example, Decanter.com reported that “Hong Kong has overtaken London as the second-biggest wine-auction market after New York.” The news item explained, “Lifting all wine taxes in February 2008 spurred demand for wine, creating an auction market that was 'zero' before the tax exclusion, Boris de Vroomen, chairman of the Hong Kong Wine & Spirits Industry Coalition, told Decanter.com.”

Of course, this movement east is about more than just Hong Kong’s tax policy.

As Wine Spectator reported in August of 2008, Vinexpo Asia-Pacific, a huge trade show “sponsored by Bordeaux's chamber of commerce and held in Hong Kong in May [2008], broke attendance records with more than 8,000 visitors, an increase of about 24 percent from 2006.

China's and Hong Kong's gross domestic products are continuing their double-digit growth, and other Asian economies are close behind. Newly wealthy consumers are flocking to wine.”

Add to that the growing power of the wine media--Sommelier India, the very highly regarded wine magazine [NB: I have an article coming out in the magazine in 2010], recently held “the first Indian organized competition to assess wines produced in India, as well as international wines available for consumption in India,” the competition’s web site said; judging was conducted under the expert eye of the renowned Steven Spurrier--and you have a recipe for a powerful, growing, and passionate wine culture. Which is a very good thing for wine lovers all over the world.


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