Zero wine duties are expected to increase consumption in Hong Kong but it is difficult to assess by how much, organisers of the Vinexpo wine and spirits trade fair say. Much depended on how distributors and importers passed on the tax savings to consumers through lower prices, Vinexpo chairman Dominique Heriard Dubreuil said. Robert Beynat, chief executive of Vinexpo Overseas, said a clearer picture should emerge in the next six months. Vinexpo Asia-Pacific will be held May 27-29 at the Convention and Exhibition Centre. Last year, doubts emerged about whether consumers were enjoying the full tax savings despite an industry pledge to reflect the halving of the wine duty to 40 per cent. Duty on wine and beer was abolished in February's budget. An annual survey by the International Wine and Spirit Record, which researches the market, shows the city's wine consumption by volume is forecast to rise 61 per cent to 23.4 million litres in the five years to 2011. This is up from the 54 per cent growth recorded between 2002 and 2006. Wine consumption was 14.5 million litres in 2006, up from 9.4 million litres in 2002. By value, Hong Kong spent about US$152 million in 2006 on still wine. This is projected to rise to US$257 million by 2011. In 2002, the figure was US$104 million. The survey was completed last year and reflects data from 2006. Consumption of spirits in Hong Kong is expected to recover slightly by 2011 after falling about 8.7 per cent to 1.73 million nine-litre cases in 2006, from 1.89 million such cases in 2002. The survey estimates consumption will rise 1.3 per cent to 1.75 million cases in 2011. Spirits continue to be subject to a 100 per cent duty, with the government fearing a lower tax would lead to health problems due to increased consumption.