The Kiwi Connection @ Vinexpo

Simon Nash MW, Director of MN Consultancy, gives his thoughts and opinions on this year’s Vinexpo Hong Kong

Simon Nash is not your normal kind of wine writer. His articles appear in Wine NZ magazine – New Zealand’s premium quarterly independent wine journal, but he also judges wines as a Master of Wine. We asked him what his key tasks were at Vinexpo Hong Kong.

I came up to Vinexpo Hong Kong partly to report back to our readers in New Zealand as to what’s going on, especially in the Asia region, and there is no other window like this.

I ENCOURAGE ALL THE PEOPLE I WORK WITH AND KNOW IN NEW ZEALAND TO COME HERE, BECAUSE THIS IS WHERE THINGS ARE HAPPENING

I do a lot of work in the trade in New Zealand, and I keep wondering why are there not a lot more people from New Zealand in the retail channels and also distributors, importers and so on, coming to Vinexpo Hong Kong. It’s a unique once every two-year window. I am a huge fan of the show. The other half of what you do is commercial. Tell us a little more about that. I do quite a bit of matchmaking between producers and importers from around the world. It goes both ways – either New Zealand out to the world, or other brands into New Zealand.

What have your thoughts been about this show?

The ongoing growth of interest by China in the world of wine is the most important factor of course. At the last show, China was just huge, but at this show we can see a deepening of the understanding. I think that’s what is coming through with me. More and more of the Asian attendees I’m seeing here are beyond the point of “This is red and this is white, or who are you?”, and now it’s “I know this brand, and I like it, but I wonder what the new vintage is like?”. It’s very encouraging for the future. The attendance at the workshops and master classes is incredible. People were queuing down the corridors to get into them. I think that’s phenomenal.

Rosés still have a way to go here though…

Indeed. Neither do people here know sparkling wine very well, if you think about it. In the third issue of Vinexpo Daily, you talked about Provence Rosés selling like crazy. I think you have to have the confidence in your palate to understand Rosé and really get it, and that’s not quite where the Chinese market is at. They still stay safe with red wines, but you won’t see too many Chinese men drinking Rosé now… But they will, once Rosé gets more critical acclaim in its own right here.

What do you like most about this show?

I regularly go to Vinexpo Hong Kong and also Vinexpo Bordeaux, and I find the Bordeaux event is more oriented towards the traditional channel, with a brand, an importer, who has a retailer, and it gets to the consumer. Here at Vinexpo Hong Kong I love the dynamic, with Alibaba showing their future retail concept, and all the discussions on developing new channels to the market. There are so many ways into the Asian markets, and they’re so much more tech-savvy, and I believe that’s a key differentiating factor that makes this show so exciting, even versus the last one two years ago. There are more and more routes into the market being developed, we don’t need bricks and mortar, obviously. But it’s gone beyond that; it’s wine clubs, and all kinds of other routes to the market, and I think that’s where this show is really cutting edge. That’s why I encourage all the people I work with and know in New Zealand to come here, because this is where things are happening. It’s just happening so fast.

Thoughts on Vinexpo Daily?

It’s great. I love it. I’ve got my three copies – day one, day two, day three, and I just think it’s brilliant.


Photo: Simon Nash MW, Director of MN Consultancy