Asia is not only a vast region, it is also extremely diverse in terms of climate, topography, culture and customs. Over the centuries, this diversity has given rise to a multi-faceted drinks industry, accounting for a large share of global production and consumption. Within Asia, however, awareness of this plethora of wines and spirits and the customs that accompany them has often stopped at national boundaries.
Developing a platform for sharing knowledge and experience was therefore the logical next step in Asia’s rise to global prominence. Vinopres and the Beijing International Wine & Spirit Exchange joined forces with the Fangshan district, a showcase for the country’s still nascent wine industry, to host the 2016 Asian Wine & Spirits Silk Route Conference and Competition, the first event of its kind in the region. The 2016 edition was followed by a second one, organized in the Ningxia autonomous region, in September 2018.
After a first successful edition in the burgeoning Fangshan region of Beijing in 2016. Vinopres and the Beijing International Wine & Spirit Exchange teamed up last year with representatives from one of China’s most prominent, and talked-about wine regions – Ningxia – to host the 2018 Belt & Road Wine and Spirit Competition along with a series of conferences, tastings and winery visits.
The second conference was a great success and received warm applause from the industry. A delegation of journalists, producers, educators, marketers, sommeliers and other industry members from around the world got a unique opportunity to view this pioneering wine region “from the inside”, whilst Ningxia’s wine industry was given a chance to showcase its up-and-coming wine proposition.
In September 2019, Ningxia will host the event for the second time, as this region is the largest concentrated production area of wine grapes in China. The aim is not only to promote dialogue amongst members of the Asian drinks industry but also to offer insight into the region for the global wine community, and to broaden the scope of Asia to include lesser-known producer countries.
The event’s ambition is to turn the spotlight on producer and consumer nations within the region, mirroring the dynamics spreading from China to the rest of Asia, just as the Silk Road promoted trade and communication between them in centuries past.