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

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

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?


Hong Kong's top 10 wine exporters by value (infographics produced by Vino Joy News)
Hong Kong’s top 10 wine exporters by value (infographics produced by Vino Joy News)

France indisputably tops as Hong Kong’s No. 1 top wine supplier. The country alone was responsible for shipping 61% of the city’s total wine import value or HKD 6.5 billion (US$832 million), an increase of 34% over 2020.

This percentage compared with other major Asian markets such as mainland China or South Korea or Japan is much higher and, in some cases, even double. This means French wine drinking culture particularly Bourgogne and Bordeaux is deeply ingrained in Hong Kong market and wines of other origins might have a harder time to gain a foothold in this market. Or to put it more bluntly, French wine is king here in Hong Kong, leaving little or not much space for competition.

Tailing behind France is Australia. The country recorded what could only be described as an astonishing surge with a 131% increase in export value. Exports of Australian wine totaled HKD 1.9 billion (US$ 243.58 million). That’s roughly 18% of Hong Kong’s total market share.

Hong Kong's total wine imports in 2021 (infographics produced by Vino Joy News)
Hong Kong’s total wine imports in 2021 in Hong Kong dollars (infographics produced by Vino Joy News)

Across the border, it’s a different story. Australian wine exports to mainland China in the past year plunged by nearly AU$1 billion or 97% to just AU$29 million (US$20.67 million), thanks to China’s crippling anti-dumping tariff of up to 218%, according to the country’s wine trade org Wine Australia.

Whether the Aussie wines shipped to Hong Kong stayed within the tax-free wine hub is another question, as many suspect the wines are funnelled into the mainland market through illegal channels to bypass the tariffs.

It’s fair to say that all the city’s top 10 exporters contributed to the city’s rebound except one. The only country in the top 10 list that saw a contraction of exports is the US. Wine exports dropped by 15.1% from HKD 395.4 million to HKD 335.7 million, which could be a combined result of low-yielding vintages and global shipping delays due to port congestion.  

Chablis in Hong Kong (pic: BIVB)

Italy, the world’s biggest wine producing country, ranks as Hong Kong’s 5th largest wine supplier by value. Its value jumped by 34.5% to HKD 280.8 million (US$35.9 million) in 2021 over 2020.

Interestingly, Chile which had become one of the biggest winners in mainland China from Australia’s ordeal is seeing much more lukewarm reaction in Hong Kong market.

The South American country exported HKD 88.1 million (US$11.2 million) worth of wines to Hong Kong last year, representing a 2.6% increase year on year.

In comparison, Chile shipped at US$250 million worth of wines to mainland China throughout 2021.  

Scroll to the next page to read about where Hong Kong wine market is heading in 2022.

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