I can't believe it took me a whole month to write about Vinexpo...but I guess better late than never. It was my first trade convention ever and while super overwhelming and insane at the sheer amount of booths and visitors there, I enjoyed and learned a lot.
Technically it was 3 days long from May 24-27 however I just did two days as yours truly had to head back to the office. It was the first time I've been back at HKCEC after the crazy nightmare of the Spring Sales, so it's weird to just relax and enjoy. Although not too relaxed since these are all trade people you want to know well and connect.
The first day I spent mosing round the 1st floor of the convention, where they had non-French wines. A big portion was taken up by Italy as they were this year's main theme. All my favourite regions were present, from Piedmonte (of course) all the way to Sicily. I miss Italy so much!
There were also a huge section of new world wines from USA, South America, South Africa and Austria. California had their own separate booth because #napa. I tried my first Oregon pinots and they were amazing. I can definitely understand why some say they are the new Burgundies, not that I can afford any DRCs anyway. I attended the masterclass on Barossa Wines, which was conducted by the CEO of Barossa Valley and Steven Mack of AWSEC wine school, where I take my own WSET classes! Very cool fine and rare wines were tasted, including some great Torbreck RunRig that I keep running across to at work but never tasted. And of course, a great 100 year old Para Vintage Tawny which was a nice intense syrup. I ended up rightly buzzed after class and all the tasting done during the day.
Day 2 was spent mostly in the masterclasses or the symposiums they held away from the main trade floor. Two I attended were re-evaluating Bordeaux first growths and buying your chateau/vineyard (targeted 100% for the Chinese nouveau riche). I wish I know more about these and will definitely plan ahead for next time, especially a few were invite only (grrr). Then whatever was leftover and in between I drifted to the 2nd floor which was entirely dedicated to French wine. All the major wineries were there, the negociants and important people — definitely saw Baron Philippe de Rothschild at his own booth talking to the media as well. Surprised that he would come all the way. I also got to try all of the new LVMH wines, most interesting of which was Ao Yun, their new premium fine wine made in China! I definitely need to get my hands on bottle and devote an entire post on this. Ao Yun was very fruity and complex — makes you really think about the possibility of China's wine production and capabilities! Likewise, with a less high profile but equally prominent, Grace Vineyards, an entirely Chinese production.
You hear a lot about the down turn of the (particularly fine) wine market in Hong Kong since the high's of the 2009-2010, however what I saw at Vinexpo this year proves that Hong Kong is definitely the entry point for the wine market in Asia. Until next the one in two years.