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California-themed bars to open across Asia

A chain of California-themed wine bars launching across Asia will open its first branch in January in Hong Kong.

Peachy Canyon…coming to Hong Kong

California Vintage, whose backers include 22 California ‘partner’ wineries and a Hong Kong-based importer, will debut in the Central neighbourhood of the city.

It will offer 80 wines by the glass from HK$36-$348 (£3-27). All wines will come from the partner wineries, all family-owned – including Fritz, Hope, Peachy Canyon and Tierra Roja.

‘None of our wines are the usual suspects,’ Susan Darwin, chief branding officer, told Decanter.com.

‘Most are handcrafted by very small production, boutique wineries. Even the lower-priced wines deliver a very high quality-cost ratio.’

California Vintage plans to open 20 outlets across Asia in the next five years – several in Hong Kong, as well as China, Korea, Singapore and Taiwan.

With $47m and $36m in sales, respectively, Hong Kong and China were California’s fourth and fifth largest export markets in 2009 – an increase of 84% and 64% respectively over 2008.

The US – including California – is the fourth most represented exporter to Hong Kong. Nevertheless, Darwin laments its comparatively poor showing.

‘Appreciation for California wine is seriously lagging behind its deserved status, given the quality of what is being produced in the state,’ said Darwin.

‘We believe this is due to a lack of availability, exposure and knowledge about these wines, and our model is well-designed to address that problem.’

Written by Maggie Rosen

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