Asia is not only a vast region, it is also extremely diverse in terms of climate, topography, culture and customs. Over the centuries, this diversity has given rise to a multi-faceted drinks industry, accounting for a large share of global production and consumption. Within Asia, however, awareness of this plethora of wines and spirits and the customs that accompany them has often stopped at national boundaries.
Developing a platform for sharing knowledge and experience was therefore the logical next step in Asia’s rise to global prominence. Vinopres and the Beijing International Wine & Spirit Exchange joined forces with the Fangshan district, a showcase for the country’s still nascent wine industry, to host the 2016 Asian Wine & Spirits Silk Route Conference and Competition, the first event of its kind in the region.
The aim is not only to promote dialogue amongst members of the Asian drinks industry but also to offer insight into the region for the global wine community, and to broaden the scope of Asia to include lesser-known producer countries such as Armenia, Turkey and Georgia.
The event’s ambition for the future is to turn the spotlight on other producer and consumer nations
within the region, mirroring the dynamics spreading from China to the rest of Asia, just as the Silk Road promoted trade and communication between them in centuries past.
The first conference was a great success and received warm applause from the industry. Around 70 foreign guests – wine and spirits producers and exporters, journalists and specialist writers, sommeliers, educators and representatives of industry organisations – were invited to the AWS Silk Route Competition and Conference, some of them as speakers at the twenty-four conferences.
In 2018, one of China’s best-known quality wine regions, Yinchuan City in the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region will host the event.