This post outlines some interesting trends in Asian wine culture. What’s good for you is that these trends are opening up new opportunities in the wine hospitality industry.
If you are considering a career in this field, there are a multitude of programs to choose from, with many of the best programs listed on this website. This blog features content from a recent article from Hotelintel.co that highlights the career-focused programs such as those at the School of Hotel and Tourism Management, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, one of Majoring In Wine’s premier universities.
Learning to Manage Wine in Asia
If you are serious about wine, enrolling in a university-based wine management degree program could be a good option.
In some parts of the world, drinking wine might be seen as a very typical thing; in Asia, wine is a status symbol and the rich like to drink expensive French wine.
In many parts of the West, drinking wine with your meal is a ‘normal’ thing, as wine is generally affordable. In Asia however, even ‘cheap wine’ is relatively expensive and only the wealthy drink the select high-end French wines that are available. It is also not part of many Asian cultures to drink wine with meals; it’s actually the other way around. Consumption of hard liquor is more during the main course, and in Thailand, wine is consumed with a class of food called Kap Kham.
Wine Drinking is a ‘Statement’ in Asia
So drinking wine is almost a ‘statement’ made by affluent Asians, and those who do it, don’t generally do it half-heartedly. It becomes a lifestyle choice, and along with their consumption will go education about their wine. The most renowned wine courses in Asia are the WSET accreditation programs. There are also other high-end private classes that can cost up to $6,000 per course. In reality, many of these private courses amount to exclusive social gatherings with friends and peers of the same social status where you get together and learn about the different brands, visit vineyards and network with other people with whom to share your new passion.
But, if you are serious about the business of wine, enrolling in a university-based wine management degree may be a good investment for you. It’s particularly important for anyone looking to enter the wine industry on the business side vs. the viticulture and enology side.
In Asia, we have seen shifts in wine consumption over recent years. According to Wine Intelligence, wine has a very high appeal to both men and women, especially in China. In Mainland China and Hong Kong, red wine is still dominant, but white wine has continued to increase its consumer reach.
Another wine-focused trend that has become more and more popular in Asia is food-pairing. Studies have shown that a majority of diners in South Korea, Hong Kong and Japan all think that it’s ‘important’ or ‘very important’ to buy wine that complements or pairs well with food. That doesn’t just mean red wine with red meat and white wine with seafood. The pairings are very nuanced and extend to local cuisines that don’t fall under the traditional European-centric categories of food around which wine connoisseurs have traditionally framed their selections.
What Do You Need to Learn About Wine?
To become an expert in wine in the hospitality industry, you need to learn about:
- Viticulture and enology
- The wine business environment
- Brand management and communication in the wine business
- Wine economics
- Conducting professional research and analysis
- Wine management
Like many other management practices, wine management is just as much of an art as it is science. If you want to be a leader in your wine market, you’ll need to develop a taste for good wine, know how to market it, and have the analytical skills to do your own research and forecast what you’ll need to respond to the market(s) you’re targeting.
Take a look at the featured wine programs on this website to get started. With this information, you can find the right program for you!