Jane Austen wrote in her first published novel, Northanger Abbey: 'There is not the hundredth part of the wine consumed in this kingdom that there ought to be. Our foggy climate wants help.' She was, of course, writing about 18th century England but she could just as easily have been commenting on modern-day Hong Kong. More a region of beer lovers, there's not a great tradition of wine drinking here (Hongkongers have the lowest per capita wine consumption of any city in the developed world - approximately two litres per adult per annum), there are no working vineyards and no wineries. Until now. The 8th Estate is Hong Kong's first winery and its cellars contain enough of the stuff to fill 85,000 bottles. Wine master Gianni Seminari, business partner Lysanne Tusar and their team oversee the importing of high-quality grapes, which are brought in frozen and processed in the traditional way and matured in oak barrels for a few months before being bottled, ready for distribution to local consumers. Grapes include chardonnay, gewurztraminer, sauvignon blanc, cabernet franc, merlot, cabernet sauvignon, shiraz and ice wine - so there's something for every palate - and bottles start at an affordable HK$195. Says Tusar: 'Our concept is inspired by the known principal that wine doesn't travel well. So, we've imported the grapes and we have the expertise to make it right here in Hong Kong. 'I hesitate to say it but you can drink our wine without getting a hangover,' she says, explaining that 8th Estate wine contains few sulphites (the preservative that can give drinkers a headache). Aspiring oenologists might want to make use of the expert advice offered by Gianni and Lysanne at their regular wine-tasting events, advertised on their website (the8estatewinery.com). On Saturdays from 2pm to 5pm it's open house at the 8th Estate, when anybody is welcome to come along and view the winemaking process and sample some of the exquisite produce. The winery's elegant premises are located incongruously in the heart of an industrial estate, in Ap Lei Chau, amid sundry furniture warehouses and outlets bulging with household bric-a-brac. But don't let that deter you, once inside, the seductive aroma of fermenting grapes lingers in the cosy, inviting barrel room, which leads onto an attractive yet informal entertainment terrace. Both can be hired for special events. It's so very convivial, Austen would surely have approved. The 8th Estate Winery is at room 306, 3/F, Harbour Industrial Centre, 10 Lee Hing Street, Ap Lei Chau, tel: 2518 0922.