Vinexpo: Key Trends in 2017

Organisation CEO Guillaume Deglise looks back at a great vintage

Vinexpo Bordeaux closed its gates on the evening of Wednesday 21st June after four days of intense meetings and tastings. 2,300 exhibitors from 40 countries took advantage of the international wine and spirits show to meet buyers, sign contracts, discover new developments and develop their business networks. We asked Vinexpo CEO Guillaume Deglise what he saw as being the key trends as this year’s show.

Three strong trends stand out. The first is the quality of visitors and the strong presence of international decision-makers, noticeable by the quality of the exhibitors and amplified by the service of the one- to-wine meetings set up by Vinexpo. Well over 2,000 appointments, planned in advance, were targeted, constructive and allowed participants to sign numerous distribution contracts. Our goal was to further strengthen the qualitative positioning of our visitors, and I can say today that we won our bet. This required a thorough eldwork, we went to meet the buyers on the different markets, we invested in communication on the key markets and we strengthened the checking process for accreditations. In the months preceding the show, we went out to meet the buyers in Asia, the USA, Northern Europe and so on.

It’s just the beginning in our efforts to propose supplementary services, which is one of our primary objectives henceforth. Vinexpo no longer situates itself simply as a simple “trade show organiser”. We have a bigger role to play in the overall process, which is to assist our exhibitors to nd new markets and clients.

Buyers from more than 150 countries showed that the distribution stemming from the show is now planetary and that the Vinexpo brand remains the global benchmark for finding new markets and expanding its network.

France remains the first visitor country, followed by China and the United States. The signing during the show of the partnership between Vinexpo and Tmall.com (Alibaba group) will strengthen Vinexpo’s position in China and enable it to develop its reputation throughout this vast territory. It gives a real boost to the show and indeed to the Vinexpo brand. It will give us much more visibility in China. It will also enable Alibaba to inform professionals and consumers about the wine festival they plan to launch on 9th September each year. France will be the country of honour this year.

The launch of Vinexpo New York in March 2018 will also help to develop Vinexpo’s attractiveness to Americans. The American distribution scenario is changing, and this will create numerous opportunities for exhibitors in what remains the number one marketplace in the world.

China and the USA are markets that are in constant progression, so it’s normal that we have seen an increase in buyers coming from these places, while in Europe, where the market is mature, and the consumption levels are not rising overall, there is a very strong interest for innovation and new trends.

BY ORGANISING CONFERENCES ON THE IMPACT OF CLIMATE CHANGE ON VITICULTURE, ISSUES RELATED TO BREXIT OR THE GROWING WEIGHT OF E-COMMERCE, VINEXPO DEMONSTRATED ITS COMMITMENT TO ITS CLIENTS TO RESPOND TO THE MAJOR TOPICAL POLICY ISSUES.

The second trend was Vinexpo’s capacity as a “federator” for all players in the market. Major international brands, family companies, small winegrowers and regional or national pavilions were widely represented and all expressed their enthusiasm.

This year, our decision to create a new offering to smaller-scale producers – with six square metre booths in Hall 3 – met with great success. It’s a sign of the times, as many international buyers are looking for smaller “niche” suppliers, and that’s what we brought to the show this year.

The grouping of producers allowed professional visitors to rediscover the Tre Bicchieri of the Gambero Rosso guide, to taste the 2016 vintage of the Union of the Grands Crus of Bordeaux or the Rieslings from Germany to Australia.

The Institute of Masters of Wine was more present than ever as well as the representatives of world gastronomy through famous chefs and sommeliers.

Vinexpo has also managed to surround itself with the great specialists, such as Michel Bettane and Thierry Desseauve, to develop a new and more open offer for niche products, and key media such as Wine Spectator, Terre de vins, the Drinks Business or la Revue du Vin de France. This “federation” also applies to an approach that was better adapted to the different needs of exhibitors today. The new space dedicated to organic wines, WOW! (World of organic wines) is a perfect example, and its success exceeds our expectations.

The tastings, each as interesting and rewarding as the other, were another way of federating people at the Vinexpo academy and on the stands.

The third key trend is the successful promise of information rich content. By organising conferences on the impact of climate change on viticulture, issues related to Brexit or the growing weight of e-commerce, Vinexpo demonstrated its commitment to its clients to respond to the major topical policy issues. The programme was particularly rich this year.

The Riesling day allowed us to focus on this international grape variety on Tuesday, June 20th. Five masters of wine gave their views on French, German, American, Australian and Austrian Rieslings.

Hall Three was a big success, as we decided to place as many “novelties” as possible this year, along with most of the major conferences and tastings, and it was a wager that paid off. You may remember that two years ago, most of the conferences were held at the convention centre on the other side of the lake. With this year’s hot weather, it was a very good thing that the conference-goers be able to stay within the halls!

Question Mark Over Show Date

Guillaume Deglise announced that the date of the next show in Bordeaux in two years’ time may well not be in June.

“This year, we had extreme conditions that were dificult for everyone. The air conditioning held out nevertheless, but it wasn’t easy, and due to this, I believe we will have to change the date for the next edition. We will be examining the question, with the aim of finding a date that will enable exhibitors and visitors to work in more pleasant conditions. This decision will be taken in concert with the management of the Parc des Expositions and the city council. We will be making an announcement in the next months as to the date that will be agreed upon for the next edition.”


Photo: Guillaume Deglise – CEO, Vinexpo