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Wine fairs, Vinexpo Wine Paris grows and relaunches. Also thanks to Italian wine

February 12-14, in Paris. Italy will have a pavilion. CEO Lameyse: “great signal”. Focus on sustainability, “no & low” alcohol, and more
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Wine fairs, Vinexpo Wine Paris grows and relaunches. Also thanks to Italian wine

The year 2023, a decidedly complex year for the wine market, is not even over yet, and already companies and exhibition players are looking ahead to a 2024 that, everyone hopes, will be one of full revival. Opening the dances of the big international trade fairs will be Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris, edition No. 5, staged from February 12 to 14 at Paris Expo Porte de Versailles, with the flagship show of the Vinexposium group, which will be followed in a month by Prowein in Dusseldorf, March 10 to 12, 2024. Then it will be the turn of Vinitaly, in Verona, from April 14 to 17, while from May 20 to 22, 2024, in the United Kingdom, it will be the turn of the London Wine Fair. In the meantime, however, making a grand appearance is the French fair itself, which, according to many operators, seems to be increasingly on the launching pad. The numbers, released by Vinexposium, speak of a 72% growth in international exhibitors, from 50 producing countries, and a 28% increase in exhibition space. With mighty growth from Italy, the second largest exhibiting country in the show, which, moreover, brings together 100% of France’s wine territories.
Italy will see a 40% growth in exhibition space, and, for the first time in Paris, will have a dedicated pavilion. Inside which there will be 75% more exhibitors than in 2023
(from the Ice Agency to Istituto Marchigiano di Tutela Vini, from Vini del Piemonte to Chianti Classico, from Consorzio del Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Docg to Enoteca Regionale dell'Emilia Romagna, from Consorzio dei Vini d’Abruzzo to Doc delle Venezie, to the regional representatives of Sicily, Puglia and Calabria, among those reported by the French fair, to many leading producers, from Albino Armani to Argea, from Bortolomiol to Bottega, from Braida to Terlano, from Cantina di Negrar to Cantine Riunite&Civ, from Settesoli to Carpineto, from Italian Wine Brands to Famiglia Cecchi, from Fantini to Gaja, from Chiarlo to Pasqua, from Piccini 1882 to Pio Cesare, from Planeta to Barone Ricasoli, from Rocca delle Macìe to Salcheto, from Sandrone to Santa Margherita Gruppo Vinicolo, from Serena Wines to Tenuta Argentiera, from Tenute de Leone Alato to Terre del Barolo, from Umani Ronchi to Umberto Cesari, from Valdo to Varvaglione, from Velenosi to Ruggeri, passing through the big names of Iswa - Italian Signature Wines Academy such as Fontanafredda, Bellavista, Allegrini, Villasandi, Frescobaldi, Arnaldo Caprai, Masciarelli, Feudi di San Gregorio and Planeta, to name but a few). An important growth, that of the Italian presence, which gives value to the work of the French fair, Vinexposium CEO Rodolphe Lameyse explained to WineNews.
“Wine Paris and Venexpo Paris was created in 2019. So it was only five years, looking ahead to the next edition 2024. However, if we look at just the size of the show and the international landscape of the wine producers, it might seem already like a long-lasting show. So of course, we are very happy with the growth that we have seen with the rising interest from wine-producing countries from all over the world, which now recognize that Paris as a market for all, probably one of the main marketplaces for buying and selling wines and spirits across the different continents. So my goal as CEO is to continue to keep the level of the show high, which means that everyone who comes to Paris, whether they are from a wine-producing country, a wine buyer, a sommelier, or a journalist, will find that navigating through the different wine regions is easy and that they can find interesting things and opportunities to grow the wine industry. The vision, in the long term, is definitely to position Vinexposium, the organizing company of Wine Paris and Vinexpo Paris, as the leading company in charge of promoting wine but also “shaking” the wine community worldwide. It is, therefore, about going beyond just organizing events. This is what we are looking for, what we do, and what we will continue to do”.
In any case, the first goal of trade fairs is to do business, and the wine market right now is not bright, globally. And one wonders if the fairs themselves are also affected by these difficulties. “The answer”, Lameyse points out to the WineNews question, “is twofold. First, when the market is in trouble, it’s really the time to make an extra effort: for us, the fact that the wine industry is facing many challenges means that wine producers and wine merchants need to come together more than ever. So it's an opportunity for us. But at the same time, it’s clear that the budget for companies to attend events is smaller than in the past, and that means we need to make a choice between the different opportunities we offer as wine fair organizers”.
And of opportunities, as mentioned, there is no shortage of them, since within four months, in Europe, there is Vinexpo Wine Paris, Prowein in Dusseldorf, Vinitaly in Verona, and the London Wine Fair in London, in addition to all the events that different fairs organize abroad. With strong competition in the trade fair market, which perhaps, tomorrow could become synergy and partnerships between trade fair players. But perhaps the time is not yet mature. “If we look at Europe, we see that, right now, there are many big fairs that take place in just four months. There is Paris. There is the fair in Germany, there is the fair in Italy, there is the fair in England. This means that wine producers, and also buyers, have to make a choice. One, two, three, or all the events, or none in some cases. And that is what makes us believe that making an extra effort to give more is important. It pushes us to be at the service of the industry. And when I look at the trends at the fair over the last three years, I think we’re doing an honest job in that sense. And that we get credit for doing everything we can to increase the value of being there for our exhibitors. So, it’s an opportunity. But also a challenge”.
Vinexpo Wine Paris, of course, is a very French-focused fair, but open to the world, and Italy from the beginning has been the most present country after France. “And that’s something that fills us with pride. The fact that Italy between 2023 and 2024 will increase its presence by 75% is a strong signal, not only for us, as a reward for our efforts, but also for the rest of the wine-producing world: it means that Paris is definitely the right place to be in terms of the wine market. Obviously, the Paris show was born with the expectation of bringing all French wine production together in one show. But once that was done, our effort was to attract more and more wine-producing countries. Because if you want to attract more international wine buyers, you have to have an international wine offering. And from the very beginning, Italy has been very supportive of that. But I think there has been a shift, a change of direction that happened in 2023. And now we are seeing a very strong demand from Italy to participate in Paris, which we are very pleased about. And I think French wine and Italian wine are a fantastic complement to each other. It’s like imagining Italy and France hunting for customers together, as a pack of wolves would. It makes us both stronger and gives us more opportunities to export our wine around the world. The Italian wine market is very focused on export. I think almost 72% of the wine produced in Italy is exported: so it is extremely important for Italian wine producers to find a reliable partner to help them continue to grow around the world, and I think that is what we are, and what we pledge to be in the future”.
In any case, fairs, as well as business moments, are also times to track and analyze today’s market trends in order to envision those of tomorrow. And this will also be the case at Vinexpo Wine Paris. “If we look at the wine market in general, there are many pressures. First of all, of course”, Rodolphe Lameyse points out, “climate change. In Italy, wine production this year has been greatly affected in this regard. But, in general, if you look at the world position, there has been, everywhere, the lowest harvest since 1961, which is a problem. But it is also an opportunity, because all over the world there are many volumes of wine still on sale. Then, of course, there is the issue of the rising cost of living, which affects several people’s ability to buy wine. Because we don’t need wine to live. We need water. We need food. But wine, in some ways, is a luxury. A small luxury, but still a luxury. And we should take that into account. And then there is always to look at the evolution of consumer taste, and that will also be reflected in the wines that are promoted by Vinexpo Wine Paris. Red wine is somewhat in decline, to the benefit of rosé or sparkling wine. But there is also a trend to produce wines with a lower alcohol level, which is a demand of the younger generation. But it is also a challenge. Because when we talk about wine, it’s not just about taste. When we talk about climate change, we think about hot weather, drought, and that means more sugar in the grapes and more alcohol at the end: so it is a challenge for producers, but also for wine merchants. These elements are reflected in the vision of the fair. In addition, rising cost of living also means rising cost of production. Because producing wine means not only growing grapes, but also buying glass for bottles, aluminum for caps. Which have increased a lot in the last two years, and, especially, after the war between Russia and Ukraine. That’s why so many wine producers are making efforts to lighten the bottle glass, for example. And, therefore, at the fair, you don’t only discover new vintages and new wines, but also trends that are a direct response to the challenges of the wine industry, whether it’s about taste, lowering the alcohol level or simply reducing the carbon footprint or production costs”.

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