Vinexpo 2012 Watch: Pendock, dragons, tweets and more from Day One

By Jim Boyce

Given my experience of observing Wine Future Hong Kong from afar last November, I figured Vinexpo 2012 would offer just as much intrigue and unintentional comedy. Stuff like this:

Unfortunately, not so far. To this outside observer, it is more like watching a bunch of kids let loose in a candy shop on the last day of school. Except the candy is very good wine, fun tasting sessions and awesome dinners. Anyway, while we wait for important people to fall asleep on the shoulders of each other, here are five notes from day one…


The ‘Neil Pendock Needs a Hug’ Alert

South African wine writer Neil Pendock isn’t off to a good start at Vinexpo. It’s not only that the wine marketing budget of Italy beats that of South Africa by a score of approximately 500,000 Euros to zero, but also that he got stuck flying economy to Hong Kong.

Once there, he got stuck with crap Australia wine at Yellow Door Kitchen: “a mediocre Aussie Riesling from the Clare Valley and an oxidized 2006 Cabernet from McLaren Vale. Unfortunately chef Lau Chun was in Macau or we’d have told him his Aussie wines sucked.”

For more on Pendock’s experiences at Yellow Door, and his eight-gauge shotgun approach to covering the China wine market, see this post about his 2009 trip. If you want a nice South African wine in Beijing, try Springfield Estates from distributor Links Concept.


A short quiz

Q: Do marketing teams still get paid for suggesting a dragon image on bottles aimed at the China market?

A: See here.


More expensive than a case of gold medal-winning Reifeng-Auzius

Decanter officially opened entries today for its new contest: The Asia Wine Awards. I already wrote here that producers from China did better — both in terms of total medals and percentage of wines winning medals — in the Decanter World Wine Awards in 2012 than in 2011. We’ll see if those same producers jump into this contest. The entry fee is ~rmb1400 — plus value-added tax. Entry forms available in English, French, Italian, Spanish and Chinese.


Early to Vinexpo

I started scanning Twitter yesterday and here were fifteen of the earliest operations I saw cited in terms of Vinexpo:

  • Ferngrove: @ferngrovewines
  • West Cape Howe: @westcapehowe
  • Xabregas: @Xabregas_Wines
  • Chivite: @BodegasChivite
  • Dante Robino: ‏@DanteRobino
  • Cecchi: @cecchiwinery
  • Gérard Bertrand: ‏@GBvins
  • Domaine de Mourchon: ‏@MourchonWine
  • Donnafugata: @DonnafugataWine
  • Leopard’s Leap: @LeopardLeapWine
  • Faustino: ‏@bodegasfaustino
  • Lagarde: ‏@BodegaLagarde
  • Altimar: ‏@chateaualtimar
  • Billecart-Salmon: ‏@BillecartAsia
  • Babich: ‏@BABICHWINES


Tweets that merited a ‘copy & paste’

“Vinexpo HK is just like LIWF [London International Wine Fair] – on steroids. Lots of steroids. Not q[uite] as big as expected, but packed and buzzy. Everything London wasn’t.” — robertjoseph

“1st day of Vinexpo: buzzing w[ith] people, lots of activity. Visitors dominated by mainland Chinese, I hear more Putongua than Cantonese!” — JeannieChoLee

And this one from EuropaCellars:

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