The largest-ever international celebration of Australian wine will be held at Vinexpo Hong Kong, Asia’s premier wine and spirits trade fair, for three days from Tuesday (May 29).
Australia takes centre stage as ‘Country of Honour’ at the 20th anniversary of Vinexpo, and a record 151 exhibitors will be showcasing more than 225 Australian wine brands from 51 wine regions.
A showcase of this scale has been made possible by the Australian Government’s $50 million Export and Regional Wine Support Package.
The three-day program will celebrate Australia’s diverse and energetic wine scene, with more than 1,400 Australian wines presented, from world famous, award-winning wine brands to boutique wineries, many pioneering new styles, trends and grape varieties.
Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Senator Anne Ruston, said the landscape for the Australian wine sector had never looked brighter.
"Australia has an exceptional global wine reputation, and to have over 50 regions represented at Vinexpo reflects the strength of our industry," she said.
"Australia is honoured to be taking centre stage at Asia’s premier wine and spirits event, with the flow on effects to be felt by our wineries, producers and country towns.
"Importantly, rural and regional Australia, and the more than 170,000 people employed in the wine sector across the country will benefit from our national presence at the key trading event."
Wine Australia Chief Executive Officer Andreas Clark said the record showcase would help the 17,000 trade and media who are expected to attend understand what’s great about Australian wine and the authenticity, camaraderie and innovation of our Australian winemakers.
"Australia is a high-quality wine-producing nation and our winemakers have great stories to tell," he said.
"They’re at the forefront of innovation in experimenting with new grape varieties and different styles of wine-making.
"We’ll be shining the light on the diversity and premium quality of our wine, with an exciting program of master classes, wine tastings and keynote conferences."
On the Australian wine stand there will be six regional bars and on-stand master classes focusing on the Barossa Valley, Coonawarra, Margaret River, McLaren Vale, Orange and Yarra Valley.
James March from Barossa Grape and Wine said "the Barossa welcomes the opportunity to share our premium wines and engage with the 17,000 trade and media expected at Vinexpo Hong Kong 2018".
Coonawarra Vignerons Executive Officer, Olivia Nunn, will be accompanying the wineries featuring at the event and said: "Vinexpo is a fantastic platform for all seven wineries to showcase their wine internationally".
Speaking about the master classes, Amanda Whiteland from Margaret River Wine said "Margaret River is renowned for its world-class fine wines and we look forward to sharing these with the international wine trade".
Jennifer Lynch from the McLaren Vale Grape Wine and Tourism Association said: "McLaren Vale grapegrowers and winemakers embrace innovation and we are really excited to bring our terroir-driven wines to Vinexpo Hong Kong".
"Orange is delighted that our cool-climate wines are part of Australia’s largest-ever international wine showcase’, said Justin Jarrett, President of the Orange Region Vignerons Association.
Caroline Evans from Wine Yarra Valley said "the Yarra Valley has steadily grown in reputation to be globally recognised as a leading wine region and we look forward to connecting with new ambassadors for our wines".
Another highlight of the Vinexpo program will be a conference that explains how Australia protects the reputation and ensures the legitimacy of exported Australian wine. The session, ‘Ensuring authenticity and integrity of Australian wine’, will delve into recent changes to regulations that have strengthened Wine Australia’s ability to prevent the export of ‘copycat’ wine brands.
Additional sessions will focus on Australia’s 19th-century colonial vine stock heritage – one of the most fascinating stories in the world of wine – and the Langton’s Classification system, a ‘form guide’ of Australia’s best-performing and most-prized wines.
Throughout the trade show, guests can join intimate tastings with some of the master class presenters and winemakers at the ‘Australian Wine Tasting Bar’. They can also discover the importance of aroma in tasting wine at the ‘Aroma Wall’, a unique sensory and interactive experience.
The Australian wine stand is the Happy Hour venue from 5.30pm each day, where guests can enjoy a glass of wine and meet some of the winemakers and other exhibitors.
In keeping with ‘Country of Honour’ tradition, Australia will also partner exclusively with The Blend, Vinexpo’s official networking party for 1,300 exhibitors from 30 countries, to showcase Australian wines at themed bars in the Grand Foyer of Level 3 on May 30 from 6.30–9 pm.
China is Australia’s number one and fastest growing export market by value. For the year to March 2018, exports of Australian wine to China (including Hong Kong and Macau) increased by 51% to $1.04 billion (equivalent to 20 million 9-litre cases) – a first for exports to a single country.