Allegrini 2018

Coronavirus, the point on events and wine & food fairs, between cancellations and new dates

“Identità Golose” will be done, but in July, as well as Hong Kong's Vinexpo. ProWein will be done, Vinitaly is considering what to do
Milan empties and the Milanese economy slows

It is not our intention to stir up fear, psychosis, and alarmism, but the outbreaks of coronavirus recorded in Veneto and Lombardy, beyond the health emergency - on which we have no competence to express an opinion, which we leave instead to experts – continue to bring decisions and effects that have a lot to do with the world of wine & food, at all levels. In both regions, the public and private events scheduled over the next few days have been removed from the agenda, starting with “Identità Golose Milano”, the international cooking congress organized by Paolo Marchi, which will not take place from March 7 to 9, “but will be moved to July, from 3 to 5”, as anticipated in WineNews by its founder. The press conference for the presentation of the “Milano Wine Week”, scheduled for February 27th, has been postponed, as communicated by Federico Gordini, president of the Milan Wine Week, scheduled from October 3rd to 11th, which should, therefore, be sheltered from the postponement. The “Torino Wine Week”, which was supposed to start on February 28th, has been officially postponed, and will instead run from March 27th to April 5th.
On the contrary, the “Live Wine Milano”, scheduled for March 1st and 2nd, has been canceled, with the 150 producers from all over Italy forced to stay at home. In Genoa, the second day of “VinNatur”, a festival of natural wines, has been canceled a destiny shared with the “Genova Wine Festival”, scheduled for February 29th and March 1st, was also canceled, while in Faenza the last day, the one dedicated to the operators of the Anteprima del Romagna Sangiovese was canceled. Postpone, from March 29th to April 1st, the Tirreno C.T. and Balnearia fairs, scheduled this weekend at Carrara Fiere, while it should not be postponed “Taste” (from March 7th to 9th), with Pitti Immagine that makes it known to “follow closely the evolution of the situation - says Raffaello Napoleone - according to the indications of national, regional and city authorities”.
And then there are the great international events, those that move the business and trade of wine, for which the situation is much more delicate. Starting from two of the most important appointments on the agenda in Asia, namely ProWine Asia in Singapore, officially postponed (it was on the calendar from 31 March to 3 April), as stated in the joint press release of Messe Dusseldorf Asia and FHA-Food & Beverage, the great fair that was supposed to host the Asian stage of ProWein. More or less the same situation that Hong Kong’s Vinexpo is experiencing, which will probably be postponed to July, as anticipated to WineNews by the Bordeaux trade fair, from 26-28 May.
The ProWein in Düsseldorf and Vinitaly in Verona deserve a separate chapter. The first one should take place regularly, it is scheduled from 15 to 17 March and the Düsseldorf Messe reassures, through a dedicated section on its website, that, according to the World Health Organization, the Robert Koch Institute and the German Authorities, the risk of infection with this new pathogen in Germany is currently very low, and that the fair is being organized to guarantee everyone - exhibitors, operators, and journalists - the highest levels of hygiene and cleanliness. Further away, Vinitaly, scheduled for April 19 to 22, quite far away, but, with the headquarters in Verona, which makes it known that it is “considering what to do”, with a decision that will probably arrive later. Meanwhile, Veronafiere, giving priority - as stated in a note - to the health of exhibitors, visitors, employees, and collaborators has decided to postpone the next events on the calendar: Model Expo Italy (from March 7 to November 21), Elettroexpo (from March 8 to November 22) and Innovabiomed (from March 10-11 to June 15-16). “Although Veronafiere does not have reviews scheduled in the week indicated in the ordinance, in the following one and, in any case having to fulfill, a program of set-up activities in the period subject to restriction, it communicates the postponement of the Model Expo Italy and Elettroexpo and Innovabiomed exhibition-conference”.

There is another order of problems, all within Northern Italy and directly linked to consumption. The orders of Veneto and Lombardy limit the activities of public establishments (restaurants open regularly and bars closed from 6 to 6 p.m., editor’s note), with Fipe inviting Public Exercises to follow the instructions issued by the competent authorities, ready, however, if the situation should continue for a long time, to ask for a state of emergency for the sector. There is no lack of trouble on the agricultural front, with Coldiretti warning of the risk of paralysis for the work of 500 farms - from farms to vineyards, from farm holidays to wineries - in the eleven municipalities of the red zone between Lombardy and Veneto. Away from the Belpaese, finally, there are already those who pay dearly for the economic effects of the coronavirus: some of the most important exporters of Australian wines - as told by the Australian information site “Crikey” - complain about a 90% drop in shipments to China in the first two months of 2020. A real catastrophe if we think that for Australian wine the Chinese market is worth 20% of the total turnover, or 800 million euros a year.

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