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ProWein opens for business with its biggest show to date

Published:  15 March, 2015

ProWein 2015 kicks off today in Dussdeldorf, Germany with a new looking show, different exhibition halls and over 5,500 producers, wineries and spirit companies all vying for the attention of visitors.

This year's event is also expected to attract a large delegation from the UK wine trade who will be doing business not only across the world at the show but also back home in the UK.

The show is moving to halls 9 to 17 to allow more visitors and for easier navigation around the increased show which again has grown in size by around 11%.

A new addition to ProWein 2015 will be the launch of the 'same but different' show, which is to focus on innovative ideas in wine production and marketing that are meant to challenge and inspire the trade to think about things differently within the sector.

There is no sign of the momentum behind ProWein waning. The international wine and spirits exhibition is now in its 21st year, and it has had to expand its exhibition space by nearly 14% to cater for increased demand from suppliers and producers around the world.

But ProWein's organiser, Messe Düsseldorf, is aware the changes could come as a surprise to producers when they arrive. "With the shift of ProWein from Halls 1 to 7.1 into Halls 9 to 17 it is important to realise no exhibitor will be in the same location as last year," said executive director, Michael Degen.

The different halls, however, will continue to be split by nation and region so visitors should quickly feel at home.

Key UK audience

The UK now makes up 6% of all visitors to ProWein, making it one of the top five visiting countries at the show. Last year over 1,300 members of the UK drinks trade made the trip.

"We want to see more and more people coming from the UK," Degen says. "All the big supermarkets and big chains are coming to ProWein. The more they do, then the more the rest of the trade will follow."

But importantly, he stresses, ProWein is also seeing more visitors from UK independent wine merchants, restaurant operators and smaller regional wholesalers. "That is good news for us," Degen says. "It is not just the top 10 buyers coming. We are seeing good organic growth from right across the UK."

He adds: "The hope is people in the UK hear so much about ProWein that they have go to and see it for themselves."

Last year 11% more visitors did exactly that - with more international buyers attending than in previous years. ProWein believes its new show in Shanghai, China is attracting more visitors from Asia who are keen to see its main show.

Of the overseas visitors to last year's show, 45% were from outside Europe compared to around a third three years ago.

Like what they see

Those who come appear to like what they see, with 97% approval ratings in ProWein's post-exhibition research for 2014.

Noticeably, 68% of visitors surveyed said they had found new business and suppliers to work with at the show. If they do, it is likely to be with a non-German producer as 88% of exhibitors are from outside the host country.

Degen says it is vital visitors really plan out their time when coming to ProWein, such is the scale of the event. Even for a regular visitor, its size can be daunting.

Degen is also promising more "rest" and "lounge" areas to help with meetings and networking at the show.

The facts

Where: Düsseldorf, Germany

When: 15 - 17 March, 2015

Visitors: 55% from Germany, 45% international

Exhibitors: 82% of exhibitors are international; 18% from Germany; 50 countries represented;  

the UK is in top five with 6% of visitors