|Strong participation by major wine growers from all over the world boost this year’s Wine For Asia show. The region’s largest wine show, Wine For Asia 2006, is set to enter its fourth year on a high with a record 19 country pavilions.|
There will, for the first time, be wines from Korea, China, Mexico, Venezuela and Tunisia. Asian newcomer Korea will set up a pavilion to introduce its wines at the show. So will China, while Indian wine producers, who made their debut last year, will be back to fortify their presence at the show, marking an increasingly stronger Asian content. Established wine producers will hold their own by featuring more and new labels too.
Organised jointly by Singex Exhibitions and Wine Resources, WFA2006, to be held at the Singapore Expo from 2-4 November, is expected to draw 15,000 regional and local visitors, including trade buyers from 40 countries.
The show has amassed a stellar panel of supporting agencies, trade bodies and an impressive line-up of exhibitors from all corners of the world. With an aggressive exhibitor recruitment and visitor promotion programme, WFA2006 has become a one-stop shop for buyers from Asia and for international wineries and exporters targeting the Asian market. Fuelled by buoyant growth prospects with the wine market in Asia projected to grow by 20% from 2003 to 2008, wine growers and suppliers are placing greater focus on the region.
The country pavilions to be set up at the show represent Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Argentina, Germany, Holland, Italy, Romania, Portugal, Spain, France, Chile, Mexico, Tunisia, Venezuela, India, China, Korea and Singapore. Most have strong backing from their national governments and a series of activities have been lined up to support their presence at Wine For Asia.
Major players are coming in with a bigger showing at the show and with strong government backing. Australia and New Zealand will have their largest-ever presentation of wines in Singapore. The Australian pavilion will feature 55 exhibitors this year, compared with 45 last year. The New Zealand Pavilion will have 45 exhibitors, taking a spread of over 156 sqm compared with last year’s 33 occupying 72 sqm. It will showcase 37 brands from the country’s key-wine-producing regions.
Italy will set up its biggest pavilion, showcasing wines from regions such as Romagna and Sicily. The country’s participation will almost double to 90 exhibitors taking up 366 sqm this year, compared with 30 exhibitors taking up 189 sqm last year. The French pavilion will also double in size compared with last year with 9 exhibitors taking up 72 sqm compared with four exhibitors taking up 36 sqm last year.
One of the highlights will be the Korean Pavilion, which will showcase the traditional Korean wine, Bohae Bokbunjajoo, made from a wild Korean berry called “Bokbunja”, which is said to have rejuvenative properties. Korea’s most popular wine, Bohae Bokbunjajoo accounted for 90% of Korea’s total exported fruit wines in 2004 and 2005. Others to be featured include the Gold Matchsoon, a premium wine with 99% pure gold flakes. In all, 10 labels of Korean wine will be put up for display and tasting by the four exhibitors: the 56-year-old Bohae Brewery, Millennium Promise, Gochang Goindol Raspberry Wine and Mt. Sun Wun Special Wine Heung Jin.
There will also be a bigger showing from Singapore importers and exporters who are reaching out to the Asia market with their participation in WFA2006. Out to brand themselves at the show as being regional wine suppliers, seven of them are taking up larger booths of 36 sqm each this year, four times the booth size last year. They are Palitalia Importers & Exporters, Intervino Singapore, Magma Trade + Consult Pte Ltd, Republic Fine Wines, Le Raisin Trading Pte Ltd, Hock Tong Bee Pte Ltd and Le Vigne Pte Ltd.
Two prominent wine critics from Australia will be present at WFA2006: Mr James Halliday, and Mr Jeremy Oliver. Mr Halliday, wine journalist, author and winemaker, will kick off a discussion at the opening ceremony of WFA2006 on its rather provocative theme, “Old World – New World: Convergence or Divergence”, which is certain to stimulate discussion on how wine styles are adapting to market demands.
Mr Oliver will conduct exclusive tours of the Australian pavilion and also Australian wine seminars for both the trade and the public.
“The presence of these renowned wine luminaries James Halliday and Jeremy Oliver at WFA 2006 reinforces the growing importance of the event as THE key wine trade exchange in Asia,” said Mr Loy Joon How, Singex Exhibitions’ Director, Lifestyle Cluster.
WFA2006 has been more intensively marketed by the organisers. They have spent close to a quarter million dollars to fly down 100 VIP regional buyers, hold road shows and subsidise the first professional International Wine Import course for regional and local wine importers. The road shows were held in France, Germany and South Africa and via appointed agents in Australia, New Zealand and in Latin America, including Chile and Argentina.
Said Mr Steven Chwee, WFA2006 project manager: “WFA targets the Asian wine markets and hence our VIP buyer programme targets key wine buyers from Asia’s emerging wine markets such as China, Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, and India. We have been working closely with wine importer associations, wine societies, sommelier associations, F&B associations across Asia to identify these key buyers and invite them to be part of our programme.”
A survey of buyers indicates that they are coming with shopping budgets of up to $1m to WFA, which has developed into a one-stop wine-shopping venue. For the first time, an online business matching programme has been launched to enable exhibitors and buyers to interact with one another prior to the show. Key buyers will have access to guided master tastings at the show, participate in industry conferences and forums and play host to exhibitors during a “Buyers-host-sellers Networking Night”.
The WFA2006 programme is packed with discussion and activities. Seminar topics include Bridging the Gap between Wine Exporters and Wine Importers, Surviving in the Competitive Asian Wine Market, and Wine as an Investment Tool.
Apart from country tastings, a series of Master Classes will also be held, including Decanter wines, German First Growths and Wine Style Asia Award Classes. In addition, wine appreciation classes will be conducted in English and Mandarin.
Wine importers from the region can join Asia’s first professional wine course in International Wine Import to be held jointly by WFA2006 and Singapore Polytechnic, a reputed local tertiary institution. It will comprise two days of intensive classroom learning conducted by the Polytechnic from 31 October to 1 November 2006, followed by three days of “vineyard tours” at WFA2006, which will be held at Singapore Expo from 2 – 4 November at Singapore Expo. WFA will provide an incentive of a 50 percent subsidy of the course fee of $600 to wine importers visiting Wine For Asia 2006.
There will be networking opportunities for visitors too, including a “Buyers Host Sellers” Night on 2 November, and a New Zealand Wine Growers Association Lunch.
VIP buyers can also take advantage of a special Rest And Relax programme, offering them package tours to Bintan and Bali after WFA2006.
Note: Sommelier India is a partner of Wine for Asia. Expect to see us at the show!