The reasoning behind a push of wine and spirits into the Far East is compelling

Vine Expo

Vinexpo is a big deal. The annual wine and spirit trade fair alternates between Bordeaux and Hong Kong and has industry movers and shakers licking their lips in anticipation when the event rolls around. It’s widely acknowledged as Asia’s principal wine and spirit expo.

It’s Bordeaux’s turn this year, with the trade-only show taking place in June. A significant number of buyers from Greater China typically attend. With this in mind, Vinexpo’s CEO, Guillaume Deglise, visits Hong Kong just ahead of the main event to promote it. He brings with him the findings of the benchmark study of the global wine and spirits market.

This bit of educated crystal ball gazing is commissioned annually by Vinexpo from International Wine & Spirits Research (IWSR) and is regarded in the trade as the most reliable source of wine and spirits market data and analysis. The study has been produced by the IWSR for 15 straight years, and has generally turned out to be impressively accurate.


The picture that emerges this year is one of increasing dependence on Asia Pacific markets for growth, and particularly on China. According to the IWSR, global consumption of still and sparkling wines will increase by just 1.9 percent between 2016 and 2020.

The sad truth is that while Asians and Americans appear to be getting thirstier, Europe – the continent to which we owe our wine culture – is cutting down on consumption. The biggest old-world producers of fine and not-so-fine wines are all facing contraction in their domestic markets.
“It is not a surprise that Europe is losing market share,” said Deglise. “It has been happening for years now. Growth in the wine business is coming from Asia and the Americas.”

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Although 64 percent of all still wine produced globally is currently consumed in Europe, by 2020 the IWSR forecasts a fall to 59 percent. France, Germany, Italy, the UK and Spain are all expected to experience a decline in wine sales and consumption, or at best, for their markets to remain flat.
It’s a similar story for spirits. Between 2016 and 2020, Asia Pacific is expected to increase its spirits consumption by 51.7 million 9-litre cases. Europe, Russia and the former Soviet Union states are all expected to consume significantly less.

Text: Robin Lynam

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