I’m sure it’s no news to you that Bordeaux is flying off the shelves in Asia. Recent sales figures by the CIVB (Conseil des Vins de Bordeaux) show that of the 42% of Bordeaux sales that went to the export market in 2012 (that’s 2.36 M HL or 315 million bottles for a sales value of €2.28 billion)
China is now the leading market in volume having bought 538,000 hl in 2012 for a total of: €338 M (second only to the UK at €420) however add on Hong Kong and the total is a whopping € 580 M in value – and that’s before we look at the other Asian markets many of whom would be bigger players if it weren’t for punitive import taxes in many countries (350% in Thailand for example).
If you needed more proof, the sale a few weeks ago while I was in Hong Kong, of part of Henry Tang’s wine cellar for almost 50 M HK$ by Christies should do it.
The idea that all this top Bordeaux is being mixed with Coca-Cola is now just another urban myth. It was reassuring perhaps for a lot of traditional Bordeaux consumers to poo poo this buying power of Asia by saying ‘well they might be able to afford it but they don’t appreciate it the way we traditional drinkers do’
Well get over it! Not only do they appreciate it but also they are willing to spend the time, and yes money learning more about it.
Asia now has 5 MWs considered by many as the highest distinction in the wine world, (4 of whom happen to be women) and watch out there are many more in the pipeline
Wine schools are booming with almost 100 WSET providers throughout the region for example
The Bordeaux Wine School now has 11 Accredited partner schools throughout Asia each offering Bordeaux programmes by 75 tutors trained about Bordeaux at the Source!
The Worldwide Accredited Bordeaux Wine Schools
On a recent quick tour of the some of the key cities I was once again amazed by the enthusiasm for education amongst wine enthusiasts and the quality of the schools be they private, business or hotel schools. Judging by the quality of state academies the governments obviously attach a huge importance to investment in education, especially vocational and continuous training for people in the service industry. An important sector, for not just tourism but also supplying this growing local market of budding connoisseurs.
Hotel Schools such as IVE and VTC in Hong Kong , the Institute For Tourism Studies in Macao Korea and TEMASEC Polytechnic in Singapore, amongst many others, are bringing to the market young well-trained service professionals that really know there wine. Such courses are completed with visits to major wine growing areas. Private schools such as WSA, ASWEC and other Academie du Vin are also training in the retail trade and service staff as well as a growing public of enthusiastic amateurs and business men who understand that wine knowledge can be a helpful tool to oil the wheels of business.
The new tasting studio at TEMASEC in Singapore
UNWTO (The United Nations World Tourism Organisation) figures just realised say that the Chinese overtook the Germans as the worlds biggest spending travellers in 2012 increasing their spend by 41% to $102bn – so we better be ready to know how to serve them those top wines.