February 4, 2022

Re-connecting in person

Strong business forecasted for the floor says Vinexposium CEO Rodolphe Lameyse

Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris, the first major trade show for the wine and spirits industry since the global pandemic, puts Paris on the map and has taken the lead on becoming the global hub.

After two years of ‘staying at home’, why is this event so important for the wine and spirits industry?
Obviously Covid has had a major impact on the whole world, not just the wine and spirits industry. Our products are some of the few which cannot be digitalised and so, even though many of us tried to come up with new solutions, in the end, it cannot replace sitting down and enjoying a drink face-to-face. We have a line up of nearly 2,800 exhibitors and 20,000 visitors coming from France and overseas, which – Covid considered – is already a huge achievement. I expect the level of business being conducted on the floor will be very high this year because I know everyone is eager – especially buyers, looking to refill their stocks and do their sourcing. 

The message I have for the industry comes from the heart

It must have been a challenge to organise this event?
Since we started planning for this 2022 edition two years ago, we have become extremely resilient. We have established a detailed sanitary protocol to ensure all measures are in place to keep people safe, but without compromising on the level of comfort needed to have a great show and that’s important –  making sure the show is efficient, but also safe. We are the first show to happen again and I think this sends a strong signal to our industry.  

Have there been any ‘lessons learned’ for the industry since last coming together two years ago?
I think most people have realised the importance of ‘physical contact’. In the beginning, everybody rushed to launch virtual master classes and digital tastings. But in the end, reaching the end client has proven difficult without being able to travel. I think it has also united winemakers from every region of France under the same flag. This year, we have banded together, and with the help of events like Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris, we have realised that to sell wine we need to work together. 

Looking forward, what does 2022 hold for Vinexposium?
Vinexposium’s strategy is pretty clear – we want to give producers and buyers a comprehensive platform wherever it’s needed. That’s why we are hosting events all over the world, including in America, and new markets like India and China. We obviously want to have a big footprint in Europe because here is where lots of things are happening and it’s where we were born, but we have a big network around the world. Most people in the industry are familiar with our physical events and trade shows. But we are also launching a digital framework through our application – Vinexposium Connect, a sort of LinkedIn for the wine industry. 

Finally, going into the new year, is there any specific message you would like to share with us today? 
The message I have for the industry comes from the heart. I think everyone should be proud, because the past few years have been really tough with trump taxes, Brexit and not being able to meet face to face. But our industry professionals are still here, supporting this industry, which is so important for so many people. The fact that so many are coming to Paris is again a clear signal of their support to our industry which has been so heavily impacted. Finally, I also want to thank my team and our clients who back in December last year, at the height of the second wave, were brave enough to trust that we would be able to deliver this amazing event 

Photo: © Jean Bernard Nadeau