Burgundy might have been the only top performer in Hong Kong’s wine market last year, as its official trade organ Bourgogne Wine Board (BIVB) reports a new export record from January to November in 2019, despite monthslong political unrest that has plunged the city’s overall wine imports and sales.

From January to November, Bourgogne wine exports to Hong Kong amounted to €61.8 million, up 11.2% over the first 11 months of 2018. Its export volume also grew by 8.2% to 1.08 million bottles, reaching a new record, says BIVB.

This means Hong Kong now ranks as its fourth biggest export market by value and 13th in terms of volume.

Over the first 11 months of 2019, Bourgogne wines accounted for 10% of volumes of all French AOC wines exported to Hong Kong, and 16% of the revenue, says the trade org.

However, French wine’s overall exports to Hong Kong last year was a different story. From January to October, the country’s wine exports to Hong Kong dropped by 18% to 335,260 hectoliters (equivalent to 44.7 million bottles).

Meanwhile, its overall revenue was down by 24% (€791.9 million), as a result of the monthslong anti-government protests that deterred tourists and affected local retail, hotel and restaurant businesses.

Similarly, Hong Kong’s overall wine imports during the first 10 months of the year took a hit amid the protests. According to data released by Hong Kong government, the city’s wine imports during the period dropped by 17.2% in volume to 35.9 million litres and 26.3% in value to HK$7.39 billion (€874.5 million), though full year figures are yet to be released.


Speaking of the growth, BIVB says, “This is a new record in terms of revenue, after 2018, which was already marked by strong growth, up 2.6% in terms of volume and up 24.5% in terms of revenue over the whole year. 2019 confirmed the strong added value of Bourgogne wines across Hong Kong distribution channels. Volumes were also up, with a rise of 8.2% over the first 11 months of 2018. All Bourgogne wines enjoyed good growth in terms of both volume and revenue.”

Different from other parts of Asia where markets are traditionally oriented towards red wines, Hong Kong imported as much red (49.8%) as white Bourgogne wine (49.6%). Both colors were doing well, although reds offer the higher added value.

According to BIVB, Hong Kong is a top market for premium Bourgogne reds. Red Grand Crus remained the big winners over the 11-month period, up 76.7% in terms of volume compared to 2018.

Hong Kong wine lovers remain firmly focused on the most high-value wines, with sales of Grand Cru reds up 19.5% for revenue of €21.2 million for the same period, accounting for 46% of all sales of red Bourgogne wines.

Unfortunately, whether the momentum will be sustained this year is still a big question mark, as mainland China and Hong Kong are reeling from the deadly coronavirus outbreak. Many wine events are postponed or cancelled, including BIVB’s own Bourgogne Wine Week which was originally scheduled from February 25 to 29 in Hong Kong.

Writing to attendees to explain the decision, the org’s export marketing and communication manager Nelly Blau says, “due to the Novel coronavirus crisis, the Bourgogne Wine Board (BIVB) has decided not to organize these events by the end of February as planned. Indeed, we do not want to put Hongkongese at risk through the organization of multiple public events.” 

“So far we have not decided if we will postpone or cancel these events for this year, we will keep you informed of our decision as soon as possible,” she continued.

The Fine Wine Experience also cancelled its flagship wine event Burghound Symposium in mainland China and Hong Kong due to the outbreak.

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