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Hong Kong to host world’s first Asian wine competition
Pairing Wine with Chinese food and Introducing "Best Wine from China"

Executive Director of IWSC, Allen Gibbons (left) and Assistant Executive Director of HKTDC, Raymond Yip (right) sign the memorandum of understanding to incorporate the inaugural Hong Kong Wine & Spirit Competition as a new initiative of Hong Kong International Wine & Spirits Fair next year.
(From left to right) Competition Director Simon Tam, Allen Gibbons, Raymond Yip and Competition Director and one of Asia's first Masters of Wine, Debra Meiburg toast together for the success of both the competition and wine fair next year.

9 December 2008 - The Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), together with a panel of Asia's most respected wine experts and the world's most prestigious wine and spirit competition organiser has announced it will host the world's first truly Asian wine competition as part of the 2009 HKTDC Hong Kong International Wine & Spirits Fair.

The HKTDC has been instrumental in creating a favourable environment for the wine industry by initiating the Hong Kong International Wine Fair which will be renamed as Hong Kong International Wine & Spirits Fair in 2009.

Raymond Yip, Assistant Executive Director of the HKTDC, says: "Following the Hong Kong SAR Government's elimination of duties on wine in early 2008, the HKTDC responded by creating the first Hong Kong International Wine Fair, which took place in August. The event was immensely successful and, to further enhance fair experience for both suppliers and visitors, we decided to incorporate the first Hong Kong International Wine & Spirit Competition (HKIWSC) in 2009 as a new initiative of our Wine Fair."

"We are delighted that the International Wine and Spirit Competition (IWSC) has accepted HKTDC's invitation to organise this 40-year old competition for the first time in Asia, which we are confident will attract huge interest from both the trade and media worldwide. It will be one of the key highlights of the 2009 fair, and along with activities such as wine tasting, seminars, a conference and voting for favourite wines, will add value and prestige to the event."

The 2008 fair attracted 240 exhibitors from 25 countries and regions, and 8,758 trade visitors from 55 countries and regions, and was attended by 10,096 public visitors on the final day.

The HKIWSC is being developed in conjunction with the IWSC in London, the world's leading wine and spirit competition, which has been at the forefront of recognizing and rewarding quality in wines and spirits. Allen Gibbons, Executive Director of the IWSC said: "We are very excited by the opportunity offered by the Asian market and working with such fabulous partners will allow us to offer the definitive guide to quality wines and spirits in Asia."

The competition will feature food and wine pairing categories, where judges will identify the top wines to match popular traditional Chinese dishes, including braised abalone, Peking duck, Cantonese dim sum and Kung Pao Chicken.

Judging of the food and wine pairing categories will be led by competition Director, Simon Tam, also the Director of the Independent Wine Centre and the world's foremost expert on pairing wine with Chinese food.

Simon Tam said, "The wine industry is flourishing in Greater China and, with wine lovers becoming more savvy and the Chinese palate attuned to different flavours than those in the West, demand for better information about Chinese food and wine pairing is at an all-time high.

"This category is bound to receive widespread attention from international wine producers, as well as meet consumer demand for intelligent dining information."

The competition will also include the "Best Wine from China" category, the first trophy of its kind anywhere in the world to represent the authentic Asian flavour of the competition and in view of China's bourgeoning wine production industry.

The HKIWSC will see a top class panel of Asia's most esteemed wine judges from China, Japan, Korea, Singapore and Taiwan - including the first International Guest Chairman of Judges, Dr Tony Jordan as well as the competition's Director, Debra Meiburg, who is one of Asia's first Masters of Wine. Categories will be judged by country, region, variety and style, and trophies awarded will reflect the unique sensibilities of the Asian palate.

The competition results will serve as a definitive guide for contemporary Asian wine consumers. Additionally, price point categories for the most popular styles of wines will offer wine consumers a comprehensive directory of the world's best wines for all occasions and situations.

Results of the judging process will be announced during the opening night of the 2009 Hong Kong International Wine & Spirits Fair, which will be held from 4 to 6 November, 2009 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Hong Kong International Wine & Spirit Competition's website: www.asiasbestwinesandspirits.com


Media enquiries
Please contact the HKTDC's Media and Public Affairs Department:
Katherine Chan       Tel: (852) 2584 4537     Email: katherine.cm.chan@tdc.org.hk


About the HKTDC
Established in 1966, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) is the international marketing arm for Hong Kong-based traders, manufacturers and service providers. With more than 40 offices worldwide, including 11 in the Chinese mainland, the HKTDC promotes Hong Kong as a platform for doing business with China and Asia. The HKTDC also organises trade fairs and business missions to connect companies with opportunities in Hong Kong and the mainland, while providing information via trade publications, research reports and online. For more information, www.hktdc.com

Tony Jordan
Formerly holding the position of Managing Director and Chief Winemaker for Domaine Chandon Australia, Dr Tony Jordan is consultant to the global wineries of the Estates and Wines group within Moët Hennessy, as well as to other wine companies. Tony's early career included being a research scientist in chemical physics, lecturer at Charles Sturt University and managing partner in Oenotec, a worldwide winemaking consultancy. Tony is currently Chairman of Judges of the Perth Royal Wine Show and a senior judge at other national and international wine shows. He is a past President of the Australian Society of Viticulture and Oenology and the Yarra Valley Wine Growers Association.

Simon Tam
Simon Tam was born in Hong Kong and raised in Australia. Proud of his East-West heritage, he is a passionate advocate in the judicious marriage of Asian food with wine. With a career spanning more than 18 years in the Greater China wine industry, he is widely considered Greater China's industry expert. Simon is a columnist and contributing editor to 23 publications and websites. In June 2007 Simon was voted "The Best Wine Consultant in Hong Kong" by 500 members of the wine trade. He has been educating the Asian wine and hospitality industry for a decade and a half. Simon is the founding director of Independent Wine Centre in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Macao.

Debra Meiburg MW
Originally from Sonoma County Debra Meiburg is a long-time resident of Hong Kong and has worked harvest in Chile, pruned vines in Bordeaux and was a cellar-hand in South Africa and New York. She is a Qualified Wine Judge and Qualified Wine Educator and annually judges wine shows on four continents. Debra was recently awarded the Master of Wine title, which is the highest accolade in the wine profession, with only 277 Masters of Wine worldwide and, until recently, none in Asia. Debra writes weekly wine column in the South China Morning Post and is a contributing editor to the Asian Tatler Magazines. In 2007 she was voted "Most Influential Wine Journalist in Hong Kong" by 500 members of the wine trade.

Allen Gibbons
Allen Gibbons is the Executive Director of the International Wine and Spirit Competition, the UK's oldest and most prestigious wine and spirit competition. He has over 20 years experience in sales and marketing roles across the fast-moving-consumer-goods (FMCG) sector including over 10 in the drinks industry where he worked across Europe, Africa, the US and the Pacific.

Prior to joining the IWSC Allen worked at Diageo for eight years where he held a number of senior innovation and marketing roles and where he was responsible for some of the most high profile product launches of recent years as well as being deeply involved in people development.



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