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Another Vinexpo comes to a Successful Close

Posted: Monday, 27 June 2011 13:09

Another Vinexpo comes to a Successful Close

The biennial wine show Vinexpo, ostensibly the greatest wine show on earth, came to an end in Bordeaux last Thursday, after what would seem for most visitors to be an exhausting but exhilarating five day marathon, writes our correspondent from Paris Maureen Kerleau who has been a regular visitor since beginning.

It was indeed the largest, international wine trade show by all standards, not only in terms of 2400 exhibitors but also in terms of a global attendance of 48000 wine professionals as visitors. In other shows like Vinitaly and Prowein, the vast majority of both exhibitors and visitors are from the host country itself. But in Vinexpo where all of the French several and varied wine regions are represented, so are almost every other wine producing country in the World with 44 countries representing this year.

The same goes for the proportion of international visitors. This year, as was expected, one in three foreign visitors was from Asia, mostly from China, partly due to the large number of spirits present, representing 12% of all exhibitors, highlighting naturally the prestigious French Cognac Brands.

The main hall is almost one kilometre long and impossible to walk in under half an hour, zigzagging between stands. But there were plenty of carts and mini-busses to transport the foot-weary outside the hall, as usual. Another alternative was a leisurely walk along the brightly coloured carpet, alongside the restaurant tents, offering every imaginable French regional and foreign cuisine and the gigantic coloured sculptures and murals.

Many specialised wine tastings were being held, featuring wines from specific wine regions, including St. Emilion, Alsace, Tuscany and wine marketing seminars, either in the tasting area or in the Congress Centre across the lake, accessible by a long, wobbly water bridge, which even before two hours of tasting left one feeling sea sick.  ‘Women Winemakers’ was an overwhelming success as was the tasting of organic wines, of increasing importance with every Vinexpo.

Not only is Bordeaux synonym of the World’s top wines, surrounded by prestige and glamour, but for the wine professionals it sets the benchmark in terms of market prices for the World’s wines in general. Vinexpo is the two-yearly meeting for all of the World’s top wine professionals. The market trends are set and measured by all under one roof in the space of those five days. This year marked the 30th anniversary, for the 15th edition of the show.

 I have visited each one, except the first, and in retrospect it has been very interesting to see how the market can change in the space of two years. Bordeaux’s prestige is of course based on its ‘Châteaux’ producing the highly reputed wines. Vinexpo is the perfect occasion for the Château owners and Bordeaux merchants to ‘show-off’ to the wine buyers of the World. From my friends’ modest ‘Château’ ten kilometres from Bordeaux, the incessant ballet of helicopters ferrying guests from Vinexpo to St. Emilion at breakfast, lunch and dinner time was proof of the intense activity.

Here again, at every Vinexpo the VIP helicopter passengers are of a different nationality – This year Chinese, last time the Russians, fifteen years ago it was the American buyers – maybe it won’t be long before they are Indian!

There were slightly more visitors from India this year, from different branches of the wine industry, including Abhay Kewadkar and Tanushree Das from Four Seasons Wines, the only Indian wines on show, Sanjay Menon of Sonarys and many other familiar faces from the Indian wine world.

One young wine grower, Keshav Raju from Magpie Wines, located in the Nandi Hills area, close to Bangalore was visiting the show for the first time. His main aim was to get a good all-round picture of the wine world, discover and taste different styles of wines from as many countries as possible and attend a maximum of wine seminars and tastings, of which he managed more than ten in just three days.

Abhijit Saha, Owner and Executive Chef of Caperberry and Fava Restaurants in Bangalore was also visiting Vinexpo for the first time, excited at the opportunity of being able to taste so many different wines, check out the general market tendencies. He was also one of the lucky few to be invited to dinner at two of the well-known Châteaux, Château Smith Haut Lafitte, Grand Cru Classé in Graves and Château Lynch Bages in Pauillac.

India wine importer Vishal Kadakia, Proprietor of Wine Park in Mumbai was there to visit some of his producers’ stands and take advantage of the huge variety of exhibitors from around the World to source potential new additions to his wine list.

For Sumedh Singh Mandla, CEO of Bombay based Aspri Spirits and Wines, currently the importers of the widest variety of overseas wines into India, who is a regular visitor to Vinexpo, this was the perfect opportunity to meet most of his suppliers all under one roof in only a few days.

Chinmaya Arjun Raju, Founder member of the Chennai Wine Club, who is actively involved in developing consumer wine education programmes in many cities across India was at the show to visit and taste as many wines as possible in order to broaden his own knowledge and experience.

In the show catalogue, the only exhibitor entry under ‘India’ was ‘Ambrosia’ India’s Magazine for the Alcoholic Beverages Industry.  As Rojita Tiwari, the Associate Editor explained, this was the first time they had been allocated a stand after trying for several years. They are aiming at increasing the international exposure of the magazine. Interestingly, Rojita told me that being the only Indian stand, they were acting as an information bureau for all kinds of enquiries concerning the Indian wine market.


Maureen Kerleau

Maureen Kerleau has been part of the wine world for over 25 years, mainly involved with sales and marketing of French wines to various export markets. In 2005, she approached the Indian wine market and travelled extensively around India,In 2008, her husband was appointed to lead a venture in India for an Aerospace company and she spent two years in Bangalore, devoting her time to promoting first French, then Indian wines. She advised the organisors of the first Bangalore wine festival which has lead to even more involvement for this year's edition.



Parag Tripathi Says:

grt article Can u pl indicate the website of vinexpo and whether wine lovers are permitted entry indicate

Posted @ June 30, 2011 12:47


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