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Wine Paris eyes ‘big potential’ to grow international reach

Published:  15 February, 2023

Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris believes it has the potential to grow the international (non-French) side of the show to 40% of the mix, in a challenge to the dominance of rival German fair Prowein.

Speaking to Harpers on the second day of the fair (13-15 February), CEO Rodolphe Lameyse said: “There is potential for big countries to grow their size, this is just the beginning… many have more budget [for the event] but are putting their foot in the water this year.

“Most of the big countries are doing this, the US, Swiss, Argentina, Italian, Spain, most of them, this is what they did this year. They said ‘we come’, we try, and if we like it, we will join big next year’” he added.

The international section had grown to a larger hall in 2023, with Italy commanding its own hall too, plus a dedicated hall for spirits this year, the size of which had grown by 40%.

Initial feedback given to Harpers from the heads of several of the big generic-backed stands was positive, with Anita Jackson, UK director of Wines of Chile, saying they were “very happy” with the quality of visitors to the collective Chilean stand.

Others, such as first-time exhibitors New York State Wines, were equally enthusiastic, benefitting from many American visitors drawn by the collective California/Oregon/NY State presence.

The Vinexposium event, which was created four years ago to “revamp” what had been Vinexpo Bordeaux by bringing it together with Wine Paris in the French capital, has managed significant double-digit visitor and exhibitor growth, despite the interruption of the pandemic.

The organisers have been pushing the appeal of Paris and its relative ease as an international transport hub as one of the attractions over rival events.

Asked about an ideal future balance between the international sections and France, Lameyse added that he believed it could realise a 60:40 balance between France and international exhibitors and visitors.

“France will grow, but not as high as other countries,” said Lameyse.

“We are demonstrating our capability to really be here in terms of profile and number of exhibitors. We have 3,400 exhibitors and 30,000 professional buyers [visitors]… and 140,000 glasses were used on the first day of the show. We took the number of visitors last year and applied 30% growth as an estimate, but there was a 48% increase in glasses used, so we had to increase the glass-washing shifts.”

Even accounting for the impact on 2022 numbers by the wave of Covid that was still running high in France last year, the above suggests that Wine Paris has clearly hit its stride in 2023.

Also worth noting – as Lameyse highlighted – wine and spirits account for France’s second biggest export sector, worth €17.2bn annually (behind aeronautics in first place), and the government has been very proactive in supporting the event, with President Macron being its patron in 2023.

Just how much business Wine Paris can spin away from Prowein remains to be seen, but all signs are that this is a fair that is set to grow in importance on the international exhibition calendar.