Asia Scope

Another Wine Health Perk; Some Asia Trends

This week a study revealed possible good news for type 2 diabetics…of drinking age. The new findings suggest that a compound contained in red wine may work to moderate insulin levels, as was shown in experiments with mice. Resveratrol, found in red wine, is a plant substance that is also sold as a nutritional supplement for claimed potential anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory and blood-sugar-lowering effects. This is just another in a steady flow of pro-wine reports.

And certainly for reasons beyond just its potential health benefits, Asian markets have been rapidly taking up the wine trend in recent years. This week alone, two major spirits events are taking place in Hong Kong and Singapore.

Wine for Asia, an annual three-day wine and spirits show runs from October 22 to 24 at the Sun-Tec City in Singapore. Organizers are said to be very upbeat despite the global recession. At last year’s event, they reported a growing Thai, Indian and Chinese presence, judging from the number of country delegates in attendance.  

Wine & Gourmet Asia in Macau will also run between October 22 and 24, and is a large-scale industry event that is supported by organizations like the Macau Trade and Investment Promotion Institute and the Macau Government Tourist Office. This event is expected to draw in over 10,000 visitors.

And coming next month is the 2009 Hong Kong International Wine and Spirits Fair which will be held from November 4 to 6 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre and feature ‘the world’s first truly Asian wine competition.’

The Asian market for wine, minus Japan, is forecast to grow at an ‘extraordinary 10 to 20 per cent’ rate per year over the next 5 years according to Allen Gibbons, who is the executive director of the International Wine and Spirit Competition in London.

Since Hong Kong and Macau dropped their taxes on wine in 2008, the overall price of wine has fallen in both regions, while foreign imports and sales have soared. For some local information on HK, there’s an article of interest in the Wall Street Journal this week (‘In Hong Kong, The Stirrings of a Serious Wine Scene’). Jake Lee asserts: ‘…venues for wine—shops, tasting bars and even a winery—now flourish in the city’ and goes onto describe some of the ‘best and most interesting sites’ for wine to be found right now in Hong Kong.