World-class wine storage standards

Early August,BloombergandJing Dailywrote about the tremendous growth of wine storage facilities in Hong Kong and China. In China, Torsten Stocker of the Monitor Group forecasted a sharp increase in such facilities in China over next few years to address the needs of China’s nouveau riche.


In 2009 theHong Kong Quality Assurance Agency(HKQAA) introduced and implemented theWine Storage Management Systems Certification Scheme, the first of its kind in the world. Asian Palate interviewed HKQAA for their vision and future plans to enhance and ensure quality control for this robust segment of the wine industry.


AP: Asian Palate    HKQAA: Hong Kong Quality Assurance Agency


AP: What was the inspiration and the drive behind creating the scheme? Did HKQAA learn from the best practices of similar schemes in other countries?


HKQAA: The abolition of import duty on wine in 2008 calls for a high-quality and unified wine storage standard allowing practitioners to take systematic and effective actions in protecting wine quality during storage, and enhancing customer confidence. The Scheme sets out to help improve the competitive edge of local wine businesses in substance.


Before finalizing the specifications, in October 2009 HKQAA executives visited different wine storage facilities and wine producers in the United States, United Kingdom and France to exchange knowledge with and promote the scheme to the overseas operations in the wine industry.


AP: What other areas will the HKQAA look into in future for further implementation of wine-related quality schemes?


HKQAA: HKQAA is planning to extend the Scheme to the entire logistics sector and help safeguard industry standards across the local wine supply chain. As more and more local facilities gain certification, it will further boost overseas confidence in Hong Kong’s expertise in wine storage, and the city will enhance its reputation as an international wine hub.


AP: Currently there are a total of 29 certifications under the WSMS scheme. Do you see a surge in number in future given the trend of increasing number of wine storage facilities in Hong Kong?


HKQAA: Various figures indicate an anticipated rise in the demand of wine storage facilities for retailing, catering, warehousing and transportation services in Hong Kong.


Hong Kong is firmly establishing its position as a gateway to wine markets in the region. It’s no surprise given its prime geographical location, sophisticated logistical infrastructure, sound legal and financial system and most importantly, duty-free status for wine. Hong Kong now accounts for the greatest annual consumption of wine per capita in Asia, with per capita consumption of 4.3 litres. According to Government statistics, the value of wine imports were up 75% compared with 2009.  Hong Kong has overtaken New York as the world’s largest wine auction centre and by 2014, Hong Kong along with mainland China is expectd tp become the 6th largest consumer of wine in the world. With the government and HKQAA’s support, Hong Kong will have a world-class storage and logistics foundation to support this growth.