Most in the wine trade would assume that Hong Kong’s leading wine supplier is France. And they’d be wrong.
According to the latest figures supplied by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, the biggest supplier of still wine to Hong Kong by value in the first seven months of 2009 was the UK, at close to 80 million USD. This is more than the UK accounted for in the whole of 2008 – and a massive 9 times more than in 2006. This growth has pushed France, which has traditionally dominated the market, into second place.
At first glance these figures seem extraordinary. How can a non-producing nation account for more of a nation’s wine market than Australia, Chile and the USA combined? The reason, of course, is that UK exports to Hong Kong tend to be of extremely high-value Bordeaux and Burgundy (which also explains the appearance of Switzerland on the list). Just one case of Lafite Rothschild 2000, at £12,000, equates to an entire 1,000-case container of a typical mainstream brand (at approximately £12 a case, ex-cellars).
This growth in UK market share isn’t all bad news for the French, of course, as almost all the wine shipped from the UK is, ultimately, French. But it does underline London’s position as the global trading hub of the fine wine market.
For those interested in the burgeoning Hong Kong wine market, the forthcoming Hong Kong International Wine and Spirits Fair, taking place in November, is worth taking a look at. Liv-ex will be attending and we will feature a preview on the blog in the coming weeks.