How times have changed. About 12 or so years ago, there were adverts for a certain Cognac on local television in which a woman cut her hair and sported a false moustache so she could join the men's club frequented by her husband and partake of the fine beverage. And winemaker Andrew Hardy remembers a visit to Hong Kong 10 years ago during which, at a Jockey Club function with fine red wine, many of the guests poured cola and mixed it with the wine in their glasses. These days, wine is much more widespread and loved in Hong Kong, with wine institutes to train connoisseurs and also training courses for businesspeople interested in knowing more. Hardy, senior winemaker for Petaluma Australia wines in the Adelaide Hills, is the fifth generation of his family in the wine trade. He was making a pit stop in Hong Kong after a trip to Europe and before heading to Vietnam, where wine was a lot less well known, he said. 'The market here has diversified a lot,' he said, while supping a chardonnay at the J.W. Marriott at a dinner organised by ASC Fine Wines. 'Before, there was very much a preference for French wines, but now Hong Kong is accepting new world wines.' Many Australian wines really packed a punch, said Hardy, with alcohol content ranging around 13 per cent, but sometimes more. Those from the Adelaide Hills, though, tend to have more delicacy and elegance, partly due to the cooler climate. 'The perception with Aussie wine is that it is cheap and cheerful, and very fruity. But there is as much diversity throughout Australia as throughout the old world. So it's a matter of changing that perception.' Yesterday, Hardy was off to Vietnam to promote Aussie wine. Due to its former French Indochinese heritage, they prefer French wine there, too.