Subscriber login Close [x]
remember me
You are not logged in.

Vinexpo numbers up

Published:  23 July, 2008

In a statement that will surprise many of this year's visitors to Vinexpo, the organisers of the biennial trade fair in Bordeaux have declared last week's five-day event an unexpected' success, with an increase in visitor numbers on the previous show in 2003, and a record number of non-French visitors.

The figures, which were released on the final day of the event, put the number of registered trade visitors at 43,600 by the end of the fourth day. When combined with an estimated figure for the final day of an extra five to six thousand visitors, the final count rose to 49,000, up 3.5% on 2003.

The organisers also claimed that the final proportion of foreign visitors who braved the traffic and the heat of Bordeaux to attend the event had climbed to 30% of the total, with the majority (73%) from Europe. The biggest increase in foreign visitors were from Finland (+54%), Germany (+15%) and Switzerland (+10%). There were also an estimated 36% more visitors from Asia, and 73% more from Russia, although North American visitors remained at 2003 levels. The news will come as a surprise to show veterans, many of whom told Harpers that they thought visitor numbers were down by as much as 20%. Indeed, despite the official ebullience, the UK trade appeared decidedly ambivalent about the event. Among those who thought it was successful was Western Wines MD Mike Paul, who told Harpers: 'If anyone thought Vinexpo was dying, this year's event clearly proves they were wrong.'

UK representatives of the New World, however, were not so impressed. Although there was no repeat of 2003's disastrous air-conditioning failure in the New World hall, John McLaren, UK director of the Wine Institute of California, still felt that facilities left a lot to be desired, joking that he 'wouldn't like to be tasting wine near the toilets'. 'The Vinexpo attitude is similar to French winemakers,' he continued. 'They'd rather it stayed the way it's always been.' McLaren, along with Ehrmanns' marketing director Keith Lay, also at the fair, believes that 'most people's priorities these days are the LIWSF, Prowein and only then Vinexpo'.