Hong Kong's first winery in operation

You won't find any vineyards on the island of Hong Kong, but you will find wines made there.

A new enterprise, the 8th Estate Winery, has produced Hong Kong's first wine, using grapes that are shipped frozen from other countries. The winery is housed in a high-rise warehouse and has just released its first batch of reds, whites and ice wines.

"There is an initial novelty value, a little bit of a shock seeing a bottle which says 'Product of Hong Kong' because there has never been a wine bottle that has said that before," winery director Lysanne Tusar told the Reuters news service. "We always label where our grapes came from and we are quite proud to say where the varieties are sourced."

All the winery's grapes for 2007 came from Washington state. For 2008 wines, the grapes came from Italy. The white wines include sauvignon blanc and chardonnay, the reds merlot and cabernet sauvignon.

The winery has produced 100,000 bottles; 60,000 have been sold and the rest are being aged. They are being initially distributed to local restaurants and hotels, and thus use no preservatives.

8th Estate was created in response to Hong Kong's decision last year to eliminate taxes on wines in an effort to become Asia's wine hub.

The wine industry estimates that total spending on table wine in Asian economies, excluding Japan, is around $7 billion, which accounts for about 7% of the global market.

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