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Vinitaly in the future? More international, between buyers and exhibitors. The Veronafiere strategy

Appointment (Verona, 10-13 April), with the new-start edition, and pre-pandemic numbers. Minister Patuanelli: “strategic event for wine”

Vinitaly is back in full force, with a wide international scope, which, in Veronafiere’s plans, is destined to increase further, both in terms of incoming and in the presence of foreign exhibitors. The main event of Italian wine is back in a complex context, with the criticalities linked to expensive raw materials, the scarcity of supply of materials such as paper and bottles, and the international crisis triggered by the war between Russia and Ukraine, but also with positive aspects, thanks to Italy where 9 out of 10 consumers drink wine, with young people growing (also thanks to mixology). The numbers of what will be found at Veronafiere, from 10 to 13 April, (with the traditional Preview of “Opera Wine” by “Wine Spectator” & Veronafiere on 9 April, with 130 major Italian wine brands for tasting, in the Gallerie Mercatali; and with the same “Wine Spectator” who comes back on stage, at the fair, on 10 April, for the first time together with “The Wine Advocate”, another world-leading magazine in wine criticism, with journalists Alison Napjus and Monica Larner who will lead a tasting dedicated to “6 iconic women in Italian wine”, namely Albiera Antinori, Priscilla Incisa della Rocchetta of Tenuta San Guido / Sassicaia, Marilisa Allegrini, Elisabetta Foradori, Elena Fucci, Arianna Occhipinti), are important, pre-pandemic numbers: 4,400 exhibiting companies, from 19 countries, 700 top buyers from 50 countries already accredited, the USA and Canada at the top, but also a lot of Europe and Africa, thanks to the incoming work between Veronafiere and Ice Agency.
“After two years of absence, Vinitaly 2022 returns to its original location, with an exhibition that ideally brings it back to the pre-pandemic edition formats. An unsurprising result which, is confirming the importance of the international event, rewards Vinitaly’s development plan, which began in 2018 and was perfected in the last two years. Strengthening the business at the fair, selecting operators and increasing the foreign share are the guidelines that will further engage the Verona fair also in the medium term, obviously putting aside the emergency contexts”, said the president of Veronafiere and Aefi, Maurizio Danese, who, to WineNews, added: “We have seen that, in these two years, Made in Italy exports, in general, have grown even without the on place fairs, which were stopped by the pandemic. But this is only true if we look at the data of large groups, often multinationals: small and medium-sized enterprises, without trade fairs, have suffered a lot. This says and confirms that trade fair platforms are important to most of us. Participating in fairs means developing, over 50% of exports arise from contacts made at the fair. Wine is made by 130,000 agricultural companies and 45,000 winemaking companies, it is worth 14.5 billion euros in production, of which 7.1 in exports (+ 12% on 2021), but we see the same macro behavior of the other sectors: 106 companies (half of which cooperatives) export 60%. Large companies, perhaps, can support the market even in the absence of trade fairs, all the others cannot. A recent study done by the Ministry of Tourism tells us that 1 euro invested in the fair produces 60 euros of business and 23 for related activities, which also means tourism and wine tourism. There is an undoubted multiplier effect, recognized by the Government, which in the “Pact for Export” recognized trade fairs as 1 of the 6 fundamental pillars. It will also be a great party, Vinitaly is the real revival fair of the trade fair and agri-food world. It is like a re-foundation”. And the first step of what will be the Vinitaly of the future, with a Municipality of Verona, “the first shareholder of the Fair”, recalled the mayor Federico Sboarina, who is investing heavily to improve urban infrastructures and not only.
But above all with a new strategy of Veronafiere analyzed and shared with the companies and stakeholders, explained CEO Giovanni Mantovani. It is based on international growth and qualitative improvement of buyers, further selective reduction of wine lovers at the fair, greater diffusion of online tools in favor of business to business, a better adaptation of the city’s logistics services which remains - according to the exhibitors - an essential added value for the event. “The one that Vinitaly is preparing to launch in part as early as the next edition is a sort of all-business industrial plan; a “pro” turning point in the key event of Italian wine also generated by listening to hundreds of exhibiting companies developed in two years of work by the management of the Verona Spa with the advice of Roland Berger. The forced stop allowed us to frame the evolutionary scenario of Vinitaly in the best possible way - said Mantovani - we also wanted to do it by sharing and listening to our historical partners: companies, consortiums and organizations of the sector. The result, after the Vinitaly Special Edition test in October 2021, is a turning point that we will start in 10 days and will complete in the following two years, with Vinitaly strongly strengthened in the areas with the highest potential development rate. According to the survey, created by Veronafiere, among the main strengths of Vinitaly 2022, concludes the CEO Mantovani, emerges that one related to the presence of foreign buyers (fundamental for 76% of companies) and national ones (53%)”. “But with the same Italian companies - explained the managing director Mantovani, to WineNews - we shared a path to increase the international presence at Vinitaly 2022, through greater openness also to foreign exhibitors, to which a “special thematic show “focused on specific production areas or types of product starting from 2023. This choice is functional to incoming, with even greater refinement of the quality of buyers coming especially from Asian and North American areas, the most requested by companies”.
The survey, carried out by the German consultancy firm Roland Berger, involved 230 Italian wine companies from all Italian regions, thus achieving a wide representation of the sector. For the companies in the sample, international growth (74%) is a strategic priority, followed by improved profitability (52%). The first rational reason for participating in Vinitaly 2022 is “to acquire new foreign customers” (83%), while companies with a turnover exceeding 10 million euros are more likely than others to participate to present products, conclude commercial agreements and networking. Another strength, compared to other fairs is the notoriety of the event but also the city of Verona, considered a key asset to communicating the values, territoriality, and Italian character of the wine. Again, with a view to global presence - with Veronafiere already involved in 17 cross-border events every year - the Vinitaly Academy program will also be significantly strengthened, with an increase in adhesions both in emerging and outlet markets.
But business to business will have to pass more on digital channels already set up by Veronafiere and still little used; hence the goal of connecting non-event online business projects through the single Vinitaly plus platform. The virtual matching will be joined by the physical one, with the organization of exhibition events and local incoming activities in Italy in concert with the regions involved. An important chapter will then be the further redevelopment of internal infrastructures, but above all the improvement - by the local area - of the logistics and services of the city, starting with the creation of the direct connection between the fair and the high-speed train station. A lightening of flows which will contribute to the acceleration of the already started process of an increasingly clear division between professional operators and wine lovers. For the last ones, already this year the selection will become even denser. On the other hand, Vinitaly & the City will be called upon to increase its presence to become, in effect, the Fuorisalone dedicated to wine lovers.
Finally, there are several content innovations planned for the next Vinitaly, such as Micro-mega wines, Mixology, Organic and Orange wine: the start-up areas - launched already this year - which will be progressively joined by others capable of intercepting and anticipate relevant trends for the sector. Projects for the near future, therefore, for a Vinitaly 2022 which is and remains the main event of Italian wine in the world, but is increasingly thinking as a great international wine event. And that does not forget the current events, branded by the war between Russia and Ukraine: “all the proceeds dedicated to wine tasting and masterclasses will be donated to initiatives for the reception of Ukrainian refugees. We want to do our part in a concrete way”, said the general manager, Giovanni Mantovani.
“I would like to thank the supply chain for having worked together on such an important event as Vinitaly 2022, fundamental for an excellence of our country such as wine, which is worth 13% of Italian agri-food exports”, concluded the Minister of Agricultural Policies, Stefano Patuanelli. excellence wine of our country. We know that the supply chain, like those of other sectors, is paying for the increase in production costs, there is a lack of raw materials such as glass and paper, and the longer this period lasts, the more critical it will be to face. We try to support everyone, but the central supply chains, when there is a choice to whom to allocate the resources, will weigh more. Our wine continues to be the most appreciated product in the world, but we must never let our guard down, and always protect it”.

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