Hong Kong Becomes Wine Powerhouse

Wine has never been something that comes to mind when thinking of Hong Kong, but the industry has been growing quickly in recent years. In just three short years, Hong Kong has not only developed a thriving wine culture, it has already been dubbed the “wine capital of Asia” by international wine connoisseurs. Embracing the grape with the same passion it brings to all its endeavors, Hong Kong is “the only major economy to grant wine tax-free status.

In 2008, when the authorities eliminated the import tax on wine (taking it from 40 percent to zero), aiming to make Hong Kong the Asian hub for wine sales – now rivaling (some say already outstripping) New York and London – they ushered in a cultural phenomenon. As retail wine prices adjusted to a more moderate level (even as prices of wine at auction rose), diners ordered wine more often in restaurants and bought more wine at retail. Hong Kong even has its own winery, Eighth Estate Winery, which imports viniferous grape juices and makes fine reds and whites with masterful oenological skill.

In an astonishingly short period of time for the ultra-competitive wine industry, Hong Kong has also taken its place on the global wine auction stage, selling 100 percent of wine lots in nine auctions over the past 18 months, some at record-setting prices.