As a result, the Hong Kong Quality Assurance Agency (HKQAA) is launching a new registration programme to maintain and retrieve records of wines shipped into the country and to encourage storage in a controlled environment.
"The Hong Kong Wine Registration Scheme will help wine businesses to provide wines with identifiable sources to their customers,” said Dr Michael Lam, chief executive of the HKQAA.
“We hope this programme will, in the long run, set better standards for professionalism within the industry and strengthen the role of Hong Kong as a wine trading hub in the region.”
This is the first such programme in Hong Kong, and is open to wine traders, merchants, wholesalers, distributors, retailers, warehouses and transportation providers.
Already, 22 organisations have participated in a pilot programme, which leads to a scheme mark that can be used for promotional purposes.
Next year, HKQAA will launch an online platform and issue a scheme mark label containing a unique QR code, which participating organisations can use on their merchandise.
Through the code, consumers can confirm online that the bottles they have bought have been handled by a registered company that is capable of properly maintaining records of the wines they are trading.
“This year, the number of certificates issued has reached a total of 55 certificates. The scheme has received positive feedback and recognition from the industry, which we are so delighted and very proud of.”
At the same time, Hong Kong’s financial secretary was lauding the Chinese territory’s development as an international wine centre at the opening of the Hong Kong International Wine Fair.
John Tsang Chun-Wah said: “The elimination of wine duty has helped Hong Kong become a major wine trading and distribution centre in Asia. And for those with deep pockets, Hong Kong has emerged as the largest wine auction centre in the world.”
The secretary had earlier announced that the territory had just overtaken New York as the world’s most lucrative city for trading in premium wines, having reached HK$1.2bn (US$155m) in total sales of this kind.