140,000 visitors expected for biggest Hong Kong Wine and Dine Festival, with many from mainland China
- Organisers hope newly opened links to mainland will draw more crowds for 10th anniversary of festival
- Event this year is biggest ever with 450 booths and the return of a wine-tasting session
The annual CCB (Asia) Hong Kong Wine & Dine Festival, which opened to the public on Thursday, is expected to draw more tourists from across the border this year following the launch of the world’s longest sea-crossing bridge linking the city to mainland China.
Organised by the Hong Kong Tourism Board, the event, marking its 10th anniversary at the Central harbourfront, is set to draw 140,000 visitors, with tourists making up at least 10 per cent of the number.
“With the opening of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge and the high-speed r ail, we hope more mainland tourists will make use of the convenience to attend our event,” said Mason Hung Chung-hing, general manager of event and product development at the Tourism Board.
Featuring some 450 booths, up 10 per cent from last year, this year’s event is the largest ever, and will stretch from the Central Harbourfront Event Space to Tamar Park.
More than 300 booths are dedicated to fine wines from 34 places, including France, Spain, Australia, Georgia and for the first time, from the French region of Burgundy.
First held in 2009 at the West Kowloon Waterfront Promenade, the festival will mark its landmark 10th year by offering a selection of premium wines from the 2009 vintage, all selected by renowned wine authority Robert Parker.
A seven-metre tall birthday cake sculpture will also be playing a birthday song at regular intervals throughout the day, during which attendees can use their mobile phones to scan special QR codes on their coupons and around the site to play an interactive game. Winners of the game stand to go home with prizes such as discount vouchers and a holiday to famed Bordeaux in southwestern France.
Every night at 7pm, the festival will also feature an LED light and music show by 100 drones flying over the waterfront.
Fresh additions to this year’s event include popular street foods from around the world, such as from Taiwan, Europe and Latin America, as well as a zone dedicated to all things coffee.
Ninetys, a new local cafe known for its coffee and local fusion dishes, is one of the exhibitors. “We’re pleased to be a part of such a large, mainstream event,” assistant brand manager Anastasia Wan Hei-yi said.
“We hope to encourage Hongkongers to adopt a deeper appreciation for coffee.”
And returning after a three-year hiatus to celebrate the festival’s 10th anniversary is the “Sunset Tasting” segment – a wine-tasting session at 5pm daily, with the Grand Vin De Lafite Rothschild 2003 as one of the highlights.
Eighteen up-and-coming eateries have also been selected to strut their stuff at the festival, including Cookie Department, a Taiwanese brand known for its mega cookies. Founder Wil Fang-wei, who plans to expand his business to Hong Kong, says the festival has given him the opportunity to test the waters.
“Asian consumers aren’t always into decadent Western desserts,” Fang said. “But the great reception in Taipei has given us confidence to expand our presence in the Asian market.”
Wining and dining aside, attendees can also enjoy live music by local performers, including Rubber Band and Dear Jane.
The festival will run from Thursday to Sunday with an admission fee of HK$30.