Patrick Schmitt MW has been an integral part of the success and development of The Drinks Business brand as it has grown to be an international publication with separate European and Hong Kong editions.
Tell us a bit more about the publication.
We’ve just celebrated our 200th issue and, although our first magazine left the printers almost 17 years ago, our aim remains the same: we are dedicated to serving the trade with independent, expert news and commentary on all aspects of the alcoholic drinks business, whether that concerns the earliest stages of production or the nascent trends affecting consumption.
What are you primarily looking for at Vinexpo?
I’m primarily looking for stories, but also to re-establish contacts, meet new people, and catch up with my peers in the industry. We also have a stand at the fair, and I co-host an event, The Lifetime Achievement Award, with the Institute of Masters of Wine, which I’m pleased to report has this week been given to Paul Symington.
Which wines or spirits do you feel are gaining most in popularity in the UK?
Provencal rosé and gin. Prosecco, while big, seems to be plateauing.
What are your thoughts on Vinexpo?
I love this fair, and always have from my first one in 2003.
You have attended a number of Vinexpos, what have been the stand out highlights?
I’ve met and interviewed some highly influential people here over the years, with stand-out figures including the late Robert Mondavi and Baroness Philippine de Rothschild. Then there have been the dinners, from Latour to Mouton. I will always remember the press events in the great Pauillac properties during the fair.
What do you see as the biggest challenges and opportunities facing the global wine industry?
Shifting to more sustainable business models in the face of changing climates, is both a challenge and an opportunity. And so is a trend towards moderation by a younger generation, which could accelerate the ‘premiumisation’ trend. Having said that, I am concerned by the spread of negative sentiment towards alcohol, and the wider take-up of mind- altering drugs as an alternative and ‘calorie-free’ high.
Patrick Schmitt MW, Editor-in-Chief, The Drinks Business