Hong Kong is both a prime export destination and a re-export hub for many wine producing countries in the world. There is a strong preference for red wine in the market, as consumers prefer the flavor and perceived health benefits associated with it. In 2017, imports of red wine reached US$1.4 billion, with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Shiraz as the three most popular grape varietals.
White wine, however, has been gaining loyal followers. Imports were at $62 million, with Chardonnay taking most of the market share at 59%. Sparkling wine, especially champagne, is also gaining popularity among young adults. Wine producers have likewise noticed the growth potential of organic wine and non-alcoholic wine in the region. Overall, Hong Kong is a dynamic market for imported wines.
Top Exporters of Wine
The removal of Hong Kong’s wine duty in 2008 is one of the biggest factors that has influenced the growth of the region’s wine market. Top exporters include countries from Europe, the Americas and the Pacific. They all enjoy tariff-free importation of their products.
The European Prestige
Many Hong Kongers have high regards for wines coming from Europe. France has the biggest market share of 65%. In 2018, imports from the country totaled 16.4 million liters, valued at HK$7.8 billion (US$993 million). Bordeaux wines remain the most consumed, while vintages from Burgundy and the Rhone are becoming popular as high-quality alternatives.
Meanwhile, imports from the United Kingdom reached 1.1 million liters (worth HK$1 billion or US$127 million) and holds 8.7% of the market share. Most of these wines were sold in high-value auction sales. Italian vintages likewise remain popular in Hong Kong, especially the Bordeaux blends and Prosecco sparkling wines. Last year, the region imported around HK$286 million (US$36 million) of wines from Italy.
2018 was a big year for Swiss wines. Imports reached HK$142 million (US$18 million), with the highest year on year growth of 59.6%. Germany also saw a sharp increase in volume of imports at 556,000 liters, despite the fact that most of its products are white wines. Meanwhile, Spain imported around 3 million liters at HK$108 million (US$13 million). Spanish wines are known as good value for the price and are quite popular among the younger generation.
Australia, USA, Chile and New Zealand
Australia holds the second biggest market share (13.3%) in the Hong Kong wine market. Imports in 2018 were valued at HK$1.5 billion (US$191 million) at 12.5 million liters. Consumers favor the bold styles of its red wine, which sells comparatively cheaper than those with French labels. The United States is also a provider of good-quality wines, like Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir from Oregon. Imports reached HK$1.6 billion (US$203 million), around 6.7 million liters.
Meanwhile, wines from Chile are highly perceived for their good quality. Imports totaled 4.3 million liters, with Bordeaux blends and single varietals as the most popular choices. New Zealand wines are also favored among the Hong Kong drinkers, especially the Sauvignon Blanc varietal. Imports reached 1.9 million liters, valued at HK$74 million (US$9 million).
The future of Hong Kong’s wine market remains bright as consumers fully embrace the sophisticated wine culture. To establish their brand and gain shares in such a robust market, wine producers planning to sell in the region need to overcome price competition and refine their product offerings.