It has been two years since the Hong Kong government threw its support behind the city’s burgeoning wine trade by reducing the import tax on wine – which in 2006 stood at 80 percent and was reduced to 40 percent in 2007 – to zero.
The intent was to turn Hong Kong into a wine hub, said Hong Kong’s financial secretary in his budget speech on February, 2008.
From March to December that year, Hong Kong’s wine imports rose by more than 80 percent year on year.
Hong Kong has now overtaken London to become the second-most-important wine-auction center in the world after New York.
Of course the mainland Chinese has contributed to the growing wine scene in Hong Kong.
These often crass peasants are into “show off” wines.
The king of show-off wines is the Chateau Lafite Rothschild, and the 1982 vintage – which typically sells for about US$5,000/- in Hong Kong – is considered the one to go for when sealing a deal with business associates or government officials.
In a sign of its cachet, thieves stole 228 bottles of 1982 Lafite valued at US$877,000/- last month.