PolyU to launch International Wine Management programme

Professor Song Haiyan

As a key player on the vibrant international wine scene, Hong Kong is also the largest wine importer to the Chinese mainland. To groom the next generation of global wine leaders, PolyU will launch the first-of-its-kind Master of Science in International Wine Management programme in Asia in the coming academic year. In this issue, Prof. Song Haiyan at the School of Hotel and Tourism Management shared his views on the nurturing of wine professionals in Hong Kong amidst this booming industry.

What are your views on the demand of wine-related professionals in Hong Kong?

Chinese mainland is the world’s fifth wine producer and wine-consuming nation. With all duty-related customs/administrative controls removed and CEPA (The Mainland and Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement) signed, Hong Kong has become a major wine trading and distributing hub in Asia in recent years. A survey conducted by the government indicated that there are about 57.2% full-time wine industry practitioners working at managerial or supervisory levels in Hong Kong. However, only 9.8% of local practitioners possess wine-related professional qualifications.

Wine market in the mainland grows spectacularly with some 4.5 billion litres of wine imported in 2013. While Hong Kong plays a pivotal role in mainland’s wine industry, wine professionals are thus in high demand.

What is the current situation of training local wine professionals?

The market saw the increasing demand for wine-related professionals but the supply of local degree programmes is scant. PolyU’s new programme is offered with a view to enhancing practitioners’ professional competence and strategic thinking. Launching this master programme will make an important contribution to supporting the growing wine industry in Hong Kong.

What are the highlights of the programme?

This one-of-a-kind Master of Science in International Wine Management programme is developed in consultation with the first Asian Master of Wine, Prof. Jeannie Cho Lee, who will also be teaching in the programme.

The programme is not an interest class in wine-tasting. Apart from practical knowledge, the programme aims to broaden student’s horizon through understanding of the world’s wine industry operation and impact of related policies on the global wine market. It therefore covers not only brand management and promotion, but also production, development and investment aspects.

What new experiences will students gain from the programme?

Through subjects such as hotel and tourism management, brewery, types and classification of wine and wine economics etc., students will learn in-depth knowledge about wine, from viticulture and brewing methods, wine tours and worldwide wine culture, characteristics of wine from various vineyards to food-and-wine matching as well as wine brand management and sales. Students will thus be familiarized with mainland and global market development trends and consumer culture.

In addition, elective practicum and overseas residential study trip will provide students with the opportunities to visit well-known wine regions, such as Burgundy or Bordeaux. Through these subjects and trips, students can understand the best practices in wine production, trade and management with a view to broadening their international exposure and developing global network.