Exclusive Interview: Guillaume Deglise, CEO of Vinexpo Group
Vinexpo Daily News talks to Guillaume Deglise, CEO of Vinexpo Group, about the achievements, major players and opportunities at Vinexpo Hong Kong 2018. We firstly asked him what the 20th anniversary of Vinexpo Hong Kong means to him.
Vinexpo was a trailblazer when, in 1998, we launched Hong Kong’s first ever wine and spirits trade exhibition. I must pay tribute to my predecessors who had the vision to foresee the enormous growth of the wine and spirits trade in the Asia-Pacific region. We have taken that vision and turned it into an ever-expanding reality.
What notable developments can you highlight?
Growth, growth and more growth… the 20th edition will be Vinexpo Hong Kong’s biggest show when over 1,460 exhibitors showcase their wines and spirits to 18,000 professionals. Even more is the remarkable expansion of Hong Kong as a major wine and spirits trading hub within the US$29 bn Asia-Pacific wine and spirits sectors. Vinexpo’s latest research with IWSR shows that the value of this market place will reach US$40.8 bn by 2021.
How international is Vinexpo Hong Kong today?
The exhibition will draw professionals from more than 28 major producing countries and regions worldwide including Australia, China, Chile, Italy, Germany, California, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, to name a few. The global spread reveals Vinexpo Group’s position as the leading wine and spirits company on the world stage. Where does Vinexpo Group figure globally? Vinexpo now runs exhibitions in five set locations: Bordeaux, Hong Kong, Tokyo, New York and soon Paris in 2020, and one unique commercial event, Vinexpo Explorer, which draws together wine producers and buyers Vinexpo thus covers the three continents with the highest consumption rates, and continues to be the market leader for wine and spirits events as the go-to forum for producers and buyers.
THE RANGE OF WINES AND THE EXPERTISE AVAILABLE IS IMPRESSIVE AND THE OPPORTUNITIES TO DO BUSINESS ARE ALMOST LIMITLESS
What is new about Vinexpo Hong Kong this year?
Our show this year is very Asia- Pacific driven. Let me start with Australia. In recognition of that country’s amazing export achievements, we have named Australia Country of Honour. The figures speak for themselves: in the last 12 months sales to China, Hong Kong and Macau rose by 51% to reach A$1.04 billion. We are partnering with Wine Australia to bring more than 150 wine producers to Hong Kong. They will reveal the diversity of their wines through a series of Masterclasses, tastings and conferences. Not least, Vinexpo partners with Wine Australia to co-host The Blend, Vinexpo’s official party on May 30th.
What other major topics stand out?
China…it is the growth engine for wine in Asia-Pacific. The exhibition opens with the China Market Conference when a panel of experts reveal trends and forecasts for wine consumption. Vinexpo research shows that within five years that mighty country will become the world’s second most valuable market after the USA. Vinexpo forecasts that by 2021 wine consumption in China is set to increase by over one third, reaching sales of $23 billion.
What about the old world?
France is the leading exporter to the region and brings hundreds of exhibitors and dozens of tastings and conferences. There is obviously much expectation on this country this year. Same for Italy, that introduces great masterclasses this year and Spain whose number of exhibitors is rising. But let’s also mention Austria, Germany, Portugal, Greece and even Georgia and Moldova who contribute to a very strong European participation in HK.
What trends are you noting in the market?
As well as growing, the market for wine in Asia-Pacific is shifting to an emphasis on e-commerce. Companies like Vinexpo’s partner Alibaba now offer the opportunity to directly reach millions of new and aspiring wine consumers in China. Equally important, Vinexpo/IWSR research reveals that wine consumption has been climbing since 2016, following a three-year decline.
What do you think will be the impact of WOW! among exhibitors?
The World of Organic Wines! area was a big hit when introduced in Bordeaux last year. We expect similar enthusiasm in Hong Kong. Over 60 organic wine producers are exhibiting. That is surely an indication of the steady growth of the organic market in Asia.
Are there any new exhibitors of note?
More than 300 new exhibitors will be joining us this year, bringing thousands of new references to the show. They are obviously fuelled by Australia, this year’s country of honour, but the list also includes different profiles such as the Chinese winery Jilin. And let’s not forget spirits with for instance Rhum Neisson, Leopold spirits, and Matisse Scotch Whisky.
COMPANIES LIKE VINEXPO’S PARTNER ALIBABA NOW OFFER THE OPPORTUNITY TO DIRECTLY REACH MILLIONS OF NEW AND ASPIRING WINE CONSUMERS IN CHINA
What is the break-down of visitor numbers?
Vinexpo Hong Kong attracts six categories of visitors. They are importers, wholesale and retail businesses, hospitality and food service, e-commerce professionals as well as specialist institutions and associations. The top five visiting countries are China and Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan and Vietnam.
It is often said Vinexpo Hong Kong has helped to develop the way business is done in the Asia Pacific region.
You’re right. Early on we became involved with lobbying the Hong Kong authorities to make trade easier. This contributed ten years ago to the removal of all dutyrelated customs. You could say that doing business is embedded deep in the DNA of Vinexpo Hong Kong. One of our key achievements is that we bring together professionals and key decision-makers from all categories of the wine and spirits business. The result is that important contacts are made, ideas exchanged and sales bloom.
It sounds as if the edition of Vinexpo Hong Kong will be the best so far?
Without doubt. Vinexpo Hong Kong is the most influential wine and spirits trade show in this Asia-Pacific region. The concentration of buyers and sellers is unprecedented. The range of wines and the expertise available is impressive and the opportunities to do business are almost limitless.
Photo: Guillaume Deglise – CEO, Vinexpo Group