The wine world prepares for Vinexpo in Hong Kong

Vinexpo Asia-Pacific kicks off May 29 in Hong Kong

In the four years since the Hong Kong government scrapped all taxes on wine the city has established itself as Asia's wine trading "hub" while positioning itself as the gateway to the market everyone in the world wants to get into -- China.

And those roles will be strengthened in May when the city plays host to the Asia-Pacific version of Vinexpo, the globe's premier wine and spirits industry exhibition.

More than 1,000 exhibitors from 30 countries are expected for the May 29-31 event, to be staged at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.

"Having removed duty on wine, Hong Kong has clearly made moves to become the regional nerve centre for wine imports," Robert Beynat, chief executive of Vinexpo Asia-Pacific, said on announcing the event.

Much of the focus of the three-day event will be the emerging Chinese market and more than 9,500 wine and spirits importers as well as other industry representatives such as retailers and restaurant and hotel professionals are expected to make the trip south for the expo.

Organizers of the event have predicted that wine and spirit sales across Asia will grow by almost 20 percent to the end of 2014 -- faster than any other region in the world -- and that mainland China will in three years become the world's sixth-largest wine producer, behind France, Italy, Spain, the United States and Argentina.

China's love affair with wine has captured the world's attention over the past three years as Chinese wineries and investors have snapped up six prestigious chateaux in Bordeaux, including the Chateau du Grand Moueys.

Hong Kong, meanwhile, has since abolishing wine duties in 2008 become the center of the world's fine wine market.

As well as the main exhibitions, Vinexpo will be hosting The Academy, a program featuring more than 40 special events, conferences and wine tastings, a Certificate Programme and 12 Master Classes -- themed on wine tasting, pairing food and wine, and market sales -- which will be translated into English, Mandarin, Korean and Japanese.

Vinexpo was first held in Bordeaux in 1981 and now switches on alternate years between the French city and Hong Kong.

Vinexpo Asia-Pacific

May 29-31

Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre