French wines are all the rage in Asia. Now California wines are vying for a share of the buzz.
California Vintage, a new chain of California-themed wine bars will launch its first and flagship wine bar in Hong Kong in mid-January. It will then expand to 20 outlets in the next five years which includes a few more in Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Taiwan, and Korea.
Located on Wyndham Street in Central, the bar will have a rustic Californian look and can seat 60 people.
CV will offer 80 wines by the glass from HK$36-$348 ($5-$45) for tasting. All wines will come from 22 California family-owned, boutique wineries including Fritz, Hope, Peachy Canyon and Tierra Roja.
For the hip and tech-savvy customers, the bar will offer iPads filled with wine information, videos and pairing ideas and sommelier-hosted lunches and winemaking seminars.
California wines haven’t quite caught on in Asia. Decanters reports that Hong Kong and China were California’s fourth and fifth export markets in 2009 with $47m and $36m in sales, respectively. Despite being up 84% in Hong Kong and 64% in China from 2008 (albeit from a small base), chief branding officer Susan Darwin says, “Appreciation for California wine is seriously lagging. We believe this is due to a lack of availability, exposure and knowledge about these wines, and our model is well-designed to address that problem.”
photo credit: california vintage