One result of scrapping the wine duty in 2008 has been that Hong Kong has become a fiercely competitive market. The number of wine importers, shops and bars has grown exponentially, and consumption has matched this growth. According to the organisers of the French trade show Vinexpo, the average Hongkonger purchased 4.7 litres of wine in 2010. The flourishing market is reflected in the choice of venues to buy wine. Below are the pros and cons. Supermarkets These are probably the most convenient places to pick up a bottle. Most supermarkets stock the large volume, international brands such as Gallo and Yellow Tail. Wines are good value for money, and there are plenty of crowd pleasers. Not to be overlooked is Marks & Spencer, which has a good, diverse selection. Wine merchants Merchants stock a much larger range of producers than supermarkets and may carry some boutique, hard-to-find labels with smaller production volumes. Salespeople should be able to recommend a wine if you are not sure what you are looking for. There are also more shops that specialise in wines from specific regions, including bordeaux etc in Causeway Bay. Wine and Glass in Wan Chai is a hidden gem specialising in Hungarian wines. Buying online To save on costs and high rents, some wine merchants sell online. Usually there is a minimum order to qualify for free delivery in Hong Kong. Wines are competitively priced, and you can do your shopping from home. If you are buying from overseas, check on delivery details, including frequency and cost. Shipping may offset any savings on the wine itself. Auctions Auctions have been making news recently for the record prices paid for trophy wines. International auction houses from Sotheby's, Christie's, Acker Merrall & Condit and Zachys hold frequent auctions. If you are a beginner, do some research on the wine lots you are interested in and set a budget. You may come across harder-to-find mature vintages. Mixed lots may also offer some value and the chance to try a range of different wines. Restaurants and bars You will pay a premium to drink in restaurants and bars. Markups will vary, with hotel outlets tending to be the costliest. However, some places will have knowledgeable sommeliers. Restaurant wine lists will tend to be more extensive, and wine bars offer chances to taste different wines. With the growing trend of self-service wine dispensing machines, you can have your own customised mini-tasting and try many wines in small portions.