Taking it From the Top

Vinexpo CEO Guillaume Deglise gives us a rundown on what we’ll see at this year’s event

With an overall highly positive market outlook as we arrive at Vinexpo 2017, we asked the Vinexpo CEO Guillaume Deglise to tell us more about the market evolution, and how affects the show.

While consumption of wine and spirits remains high globally, growth has been driven by the Americas and Asia-Pacific. The European continent is declining due to changes in consumption habits, primary in countries such as France, Italy and Germany. However, Europe still represent more than 60% of the wine consumption. This is a more mature continent where a number of new trends are rising, which buyers will be able to see at Vinexpo. Asia-Pacific, on the other hand, is the fastest growing region in the world, especially with the development of mainland China, but also Southeast Asian countries such as Vietnam, Korea or Thailand. These are countries where we see that wine producers around the world can achieve a great deal of development for their brand. In the US, wine consumption is expected to grow by 12% for the next five years, which will confirm the leadership of the US market worldwide. I think Vinexpo is definitely a place where you can feel how international our industry has become.

This is one of the strengths of Vinexpo… the fact that you attract a large number of buyers from these regions.

 WE HAVE MORE THAN 100 NEW EXHIBITORS FOR THE 2017 EDITION.

Yes, in fact when we analyse the origin of buyers, we see that China is the leading visiting country to Vinexpo after France, and the number two country is the United States. This is the only European show that attracts 150 nationalities from around the world, the only event where exhibitors can travel the world in a few days by hosting their customers on their booth.

This year, one of the interesting aspects is definitely the guest country Spain. What are we going to be seeing from Spain that’s a little bit different from what we might have seen in the past?

Spain has always been a very loyal exhibitor to Vinexpo. Since 2015, we have had a country of honour, and we are proud this year to have Spain under the spotlight. Our neighbouring country is a very exciting destination where wine is so much connected with gastronomy. The Spanish way of life has been very trendy lately and we wanted in a way to pay tribute to the influence of the Spanish culture in the wine and spirits industry.

Another new section this year is going to be the world of organic wines (WOW) and I know this is very dear to your heart as well. What are we going to see there?

Organic wines have always been at the show, but this is the first time we dedicate an entire space to them. In Scandinavia, for example, more than 20% of the consumption of wines is actually organic, so that made us think that it was time to facilitate the access to organic wines for visitors and to dedicate one entire space for this purpose. This time, we will host about 115 wineries from about 10 countries. And a few conferences are planned to help visitors understand the philosophy and the challenges of organic wines.

CHINA IS THE LEADING VISITING COUNTRY TO VINEXPO AFTER FRANCE, AND THE NUMBER TWO COUNTRY IS THE UNITED STATES

Are there any new major exhibitors that you would like to mention?

We have more than 100 new exhibitors for the 2017 edition. They come from around the world and a lot of them are European. We are delighted to welcome the Moët Hennessy group with their 22 brands coming altogether for the first time. We shall also host a delegation of 20 wineries from the NingXia region in China, a group of sake and shoshu producers from Japan, and a pavilion of great producers from South Australia. I should also mention Austria, which is coming with more than 60 wineries this time. The region of Beaujolais in France is also back with an exciting new concept. Last but not least, many new brands will be launched at Vinexpo, including Taiga Shtof, a premium vodka which I am sure will attract many visitors.

One of the key conferences at the show this year is going to be looking at the global warming and climatic impact on the growth of wine in different regions. How is that going to pan out and what will the conference be addressing precisely?

This is one of the most important subjects that our industry has to face for the future of course, because it’s not only about the market, but also the regions of production. We know the climate will have an influence on the way wine and spirits are elaborated, so to face these challenges and to talk about them, we have organised this conference along with Wine Spectator – the world’s famous magazine on wine and spirits. One of the main speakers will be the famed Harvard Professor, John P. Holdren, who was the senior adviser to President Barack Obama on climate questions. He will be accompanied by a high-level panel of speakers to discuss this topic, including Gaia Gaja from Piedmont, Miguel Torres from Spain and Kathryn Hall from California.

Other subjects include the wine and spirits markets after Brexit as well as e-commerce. Can you tell us a little bit more about these?

Indeed, everybody would like to know what is going to happen with Brexit over the coming months. This will be our first tentative approach to see what sort of consequences Brexit might have on our industry, of course on the side of the UK market, which is one of the most important markets in the world, but also for the European suppliers who are doing business in the UK. Another aspect can be the possible consequences on The UK’s own production of spirits, particularly scotch and gin.

You have a whole series of parallel events happening along with the show. Can you please tell us a little bit more about them?

This programme of parallel events is always very important in the success of our exhibition. The event not be missed is certainly “A Taste of Spain”, which will take place on Monday 19 June from 8pm at the Palais de la Bourse in downtown Bordeaux. It is a unique culinary event where 110 famous bodegas from Spain and 12 great Spanish chefs, including world’s acclaimed Ferran Adria and José Andrés will work together on a wine and tapas experience. We have been working together with Wine Spectator on that event for months!

This year you also have tastings open to the public…

We wanted the local people to be able to enjoy the show in their own way and we thought it would be sad if they couldn’t taste some of the wine during the event, so that’s why we have organised, together with the Terre de Vins magazine, three evenings called “Vinexperiences”. These evenings will be on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday in various locations of the city. While the first evening will celebrate Beaujolais, the second will highlight Pomerol and the third will allow attendees to discover great wines from Bordeaux.

This year, Bordeaux will be even more interesting for people as the last couple of years have been great vintages. Will this attract more people to Vinexpo?

Yes, whenever there is a great vintage, the show takes on an even brighter shine. This year, we have the chance to have great 2015 and 2016 vintages in Bordeaux … two great years in a row. So this augers well for Vinexpo!