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Allegrini 2018
WINE & FOOD

International trade fairs: unknowns from Covid infection peak & the green light for foreign vaccines

Trade fair calendars (including wine & food fairs) at risk if pandemic and regulations do not allow the arrival and influx of foreign operators
AEFI, COVID, FAIRS, vaccines, WINE & FOOD, News
“Vinitaly Preview”: wine tasting in June 2021

While the French Government, yesterday, with spokesman Gabriel Attal, maintained that “there are reasons to be optimistic” on the pandemic front, and Vinexpo Wine Paris is going straight ahead, with the fair confirmed on the calendar from February 14 to 16, and in Germany the official announcement is expected for the postponement of Prowein, which will no longer be held on March 27-29 but in May 2022, while in Spain, “Barcelona Wine Week”, the reference trade fair for Spanish wine with 600 exhibitors, has been moved from February 7-9 to April 4-6, 2022, in Italy, the decision on whether and how much the calendar of major international trade fairs, including wine and food fairs, will change will essentially come down to two aspects: a health aspect and a regulatory aspect. Because if, as many believe, the peak of the contagions will be concentrated in the last weeks of January, or at most in the first week of February, the events scheduled from mid-month onwards could be saved. Provided that, and this is the regulatory issue, perhaps even more important, the Government recognizes the validity of “foreign” vaccines, including those not approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA). A request, this, arrived directly to the Government by Aefi (Association of Italian Exhibitions and Fairs), Maurizio Danese, according to which “it is necessary the urgent activation of new corridors to allow even international operators vaccinated not Ema (European Medicines Agency) to participate in fairs in Italy. If the government has decided - and rightly so - not to close trade fairs, at the same time it must establish clear rules to allow access to all demand operators, including those whose vaccines are not recognized by the EMEA. With the current rules, we risk the cancellation of all major international events, which would cause enormous damage to trade fair players and, above all, to Made in Italy companies”.
The reason is obvious: for certain trade fairs linked to sectors that have a large part of their market abroad, the presence of foreign operators is vital. And if this cannot be adequately guaranteed, the events themselves lose admissions, revenues and appeal, which can easily lead to a drop in exhibitors. This could easily lead to a drop in the number of exhibitors. As a result, the accounts, already strained by a practically zero 2021, and with significant but insufficient refunds to cover losses, would not add up. Important exhibitions”, added Danese, “are temporarily forced to forego the presence of many operators, especially from China, Russia, Korea, Japan, the Middle East and many other markets considered emerging for Italian products. Almost all the international fairs in the first two months of this year have already had to be postponed until spring, but - concluded the president of Aefi - they risk being permanently canceled if a solution is not found to this regulatory gap, which has weighed heavily on the choice of top players to postpone major events”.
As, for example, one of the most international Italian trade fairs has done in the last few hours, the Salone del Mobile in Milan, initially scheduled for early April, and rescheduled for summer 2022: “in order to organize a 60th edition that fully reflects the value of the event, the Board of Directors of Federlegno Arredo Eventi, in agreement with Fiera Milano, has decided to move the exhibition, which will take place from June 7 to 12, 2022”, states a note of the Salone del Mobile. “The June date will also favor a strong presence of foreign exhibitors and operators, which has always been a strong point of the Salone, and will guarantee participating companies the right time to plan their presence at the fair in the best possible way, which, as we know, requires months of preparation, from conception to final set-up”, added Maria Porro, president of the Salone del Mobile di Milano.
An alarm bell is ringing loudly at the start of the season for Italy's major international wine & food fairs, albeit in a calendar that is gradually being redefined on the basis of the pandemic but that for now only envisages shifting dates and not cancellations, as happened in 2020 and partly in 2021: Vinitaly is, for the time being, confirmed in Verona from April 10 to 13, in a late spring that seems to protect the most important Italian and international wine fair from movement; Cibus is scheduled in Parma from May 3 to 6, Macfrut is scheduled in Rimini from May 4 to 6, while Marca, in Bologna, scheduled in January, has been rescheduled for April 12-13, just to name a few of the most important ones. Also worth mentioning is the debut of Slow Wine Fair, scheduled at BolognaFiere from February 26 to March 1, but which, according to rumors, could be postponed to the dates left “empty” by Prowein, i.e. March 27-29.
Before, between and after the major international and Italian fairs, there are the various “Previews” of the most important denominations, the success of which, again, is largely determined by the presence of the international press. As of today, as is well known, the “Anteprime di Toscana”, directed by the Region of Tuscany, Avito and the individual Consortia, will no longer be held in April but in March, from 19 to 25, between Florence and the territories; scrolling through the calendar, in Campi Flegrei, from March 29 to April 1, “Campania Stories” will be held; “Grandi Langhe”, of the Consorzio del Barolo e del Barbaresco, together with that of Roero, will be held in April, on the 4th and 5th, in Turin. Then, probably at the end of April/beginning of May (but the dates are still to be decided), it will be the turn of Sicilia en primeur by Assovini, while from May 22-24 it will be the turn of “Vini ad Arte 2022”, the event signed by the Consorzio dei Vini di Romagna, in various locations in the territory and in the Museo delle Ceramiche in Faenza, and on May 25-26 it will be the turn of the recently confirmed Anteprima Sagrantino, in Montefalco, signed by the Consorzio di tutela dei Vini di Montefalco. In June, on dates yet to be decided, there will be “Anteprima Amarone”, an event organized by the Consorzio dei Vini della Valpolicella, while from June 7 to 10 there will be the “Abruzzo Wine Experience”, a festival organized by the Consorzio della Tutela Vini d’Abruzzo involving tastings, masterclasses, round tables and tours for Italian and international media and operators. All this, of course, subject to changes that, given the changing pandemic and regulatory framework, are constantly on the agenda.

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