Hong Kong imposed its toughest social distancing measures yet. (pic: iStock)
Hong Kong Wine

Hong Kong Wine Market at a Crossroads

Hong Kong's wine market rebounded with vengeance in 2021 but with the city imposing the toughest Covid curbs yet, will 2022 reverse all gains?

These days, it seems everything about Hong Kong’s past laurels are the risk of the city’s intensified self-isolation. With record-breaking Covid cases for a city that for two years virtually had no local cases, Hong Kong is doubling down on its tough Covid curbs, threatening its status as a free-trading and free-flow financial hub.

While countries like the UK, Finland, Australia and even cautious New Zealand have relaxed Covid restrictions, Hong Kong is handling the pandemic as if it’s still February 2020. Starting from February 10, gatherings in public space and at home will be capped at two, and 23 businesses in the city including bars, gyms, beauty and hair salons will be suspended till April 20.

It’s hard to find anything to be optimistic about the city, when two years into the pandemic with over 80% vaccination rate, the city’s medical experts are now pleading for a two- to three-month lockdown to curb the rampant Omicron spread.

Restaurants in Hong Kong will suffer HKD 8 billion loss due to the 6pm dine-in ban that will last until February 17, missing out the crucial Chinese New Year business. (pic: iStock)
Restaurants in Hong Kong will suffer HKD 8 billion loss due to the 6pm dine-in ban that will last at least until April 20. (pic: iStock)


Wine, however, to be precise the city’s resilient wine market does offer a much-needed dose of optimism for wineries and the city’s 1,300 strong wine merchants, even with disruptions of on-trade business and absence of international visitors last year.

Coming off from a tepid year in 2020, the city’s wine market made a triumphant rebound in 2021, reversing the losses in 2020 and defiantly returned to pre-pandemic level.

Wine imports comparison (infographics produced by Vino Joy News)
Wine imports comparison (infographics produced by Vino Joy News)

From January to December last year, the Asian hub imported HKD 10.6 billion (US$1.358 billion) worth of wines, representing a year-on-year increase of 41% for a city of 7.4 million population.

To put it into perspective, that’s more than double South Korea’s entire imports in 2021 (US$ 506 million) or just slightly shy of mainland China’s US$1.72 billion wine imports but for a country of 1.4 billion people.

Still wines, the bulk of the city’s imports, surged from 2020’s HKD 6.9 billion to HKD 9.7 billion (US$1.24 billion) in 2021, up by 41%, and sparkling wine imports also rose by 47% to HKD 833 million (US$106.7 million) over the previous year.

Scroll the pages below to read more about Hong Kong’s top wine exporters and what to expect from 2022.

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