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Vinexpo 2017 the Hottest Wine Show on Earth

Posted: Friday, 30 June 2017 10:55


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Vinexpo 2017 the Hottest Wine Show on Earth

June 30: The biennial international wine show Vinexpo held in Bordeaux from June 18-21 may have been quite successful and ‘hot’ with several new activities and the usual tastings and grand soirees, but it will go down on record as the hottest show because of unbearable heat and insufficient air-conditioning, worse than even the 2003 edition when wine bottles had popped on the Sunday opening day due to extra-ordinary heat

Vinexpo MD Guillaume Déglise, admitted at a Press Conference on June 21 at the closing of the Show that the time had come to think about other dates for the next editions. The idea has been spreading for years because the fair is a bit late in the wine business calendar.  “We must think about changing the date. This year's high temperatures show this necessity. Even if the air conditioning worked well, access and tasting conditions were not optimal. We worked hard in order to improve quality and reception but it was damaged by extreme temperatures,” Déglise said reportedly.

In an interview with the Drinks Business a day earlier, he had said, “I don’t want to experience that any longer.” With the temperatures touching 40°C during the fair, which ran from Sunday to Wednesday last week, visitors and exhibitors had to suffer extreme levels of heat outside the exhibition.

Indeed, the hot weather made travelling by tram to the show an uncomfortable experience, while also hindering the enjoyment of diners who opted to do meetings at the lake-side restaurants in front of the exhibition space. The high temperatures also proved testing for the air conditioning in Hall 1, the main show area housing the majority of exhibitors, though significantly cooler than outside.

Sadly, the weather is beyond the control of his organisation but Déglise admitted that holding the fair earlier or later in the year could be one solution, because it would reduce the likelihood of Vinexpo coinciding with very high temperatures in the region, as had happened in 2003 when Europe suffered one of the hottest summers ever recorded.

I had attended that edition and it was practically unbearable even for me, coming from India with the current temperatures over 40 °C in Delhi being very common, yet not so uncomfortable due to proper air-conditioning where we live, work and travel and without thousands of people milling around in an enclosed space.

“I don’t want to experience that any longer, and I don’t think the exhibitors and visitors want it, but this does not only depend on me, so I can’t give you any answers now, but we need to act, whether it means changing the time, or whether things need to be improved,” he said at the interview.

Dates will be communicated soon. The staff has to arrange with the Parc Expo and Bordeaux city hall, “But our duty is to announce quickly this new schedule to be clear with our customers," he promised.

Deglise said the renovation of Hall 1, which would be 50-years old during the next edition in 2019, will be undertaken after the €70 million committed by the City to the Parc des Expositions were  received; €40m out of this are to be used for updating Hall 1, and the balance €30m for building a new Hall 2, demolished last year. Hall 3 requires no improvements since the modern cooling systems there can handle the high temperatures.

Show a success otherwise

According to the organisers the Show was a big success. The conferences and Masterclasses at the fair were very well attended. The Show had attracted key organisations like the Institute of Masters of Wine; even Moet Hennessey was also back this time. There had been a high number of Chinese visitors and the Agreement between Vinexpo and Alibaba had been a significant positive.

The inaugural collective pavilion, named World Organic Wine (WOW) was so successful that some exhibitors extended their stay to four days after initially booking just two. It attracted as many as 2,300 visitors in just one day, indicating the major growth in this sector and the increasing appetite for wine stakeholders in these wines. There were 126 new exhibitors including the Chinese wine region Ningxia, Uruguay, southern Australia and New York.

However, as Déglise also admitted, about 15 major buyers did not attend the Show from Germany, Belgium and UK. He was optimistic that if the dates are changed, this might just make all the difference.

John Salvi MW, our Bordeaux Correspondent was there at Vinexpo with all his fineries-including his portable stool-cum walking stick and his personal pewter wine tasting mug. ‘Too hot!’ he exclaims, adding in a nutshell, ‘many big companies did not take stands. Some supermarket buyers preferred the beach. ProWein now seems to be much more important for buyers but the finest tastings and grand soirees are still at Vinexpo.’

Arun Kumar, Director of Aspri Spirits and Wines, says, ‘it was very hot and uncomfortable with insufficient air-conditioning. When you entered the main hall in the morning it was ok but by the afternoon it was suffocating with too many people.' A regular visitor to the show, he stresses, ‘Vin Expo is an important part of the yearly calendar for us. ProWein is growing in significance because of a professional approach. But we believe that Vinexpo will remain salient for business as there is also an opportunity to visit some iconic vineyards. This year there was an amazing selection of wines from numerous producers big and small and there was a lot of action in the organic wine segment.’

With ProWein hot on the trail and many believing it is already the World’s Numero Uno wine show, especially as it is an annual event, Vinexpo has two years to reflect on its competitive strategy. But it has already taken the lead in organising a mini-Vinexpo in Asia, Hong Kong (May 29-31, 2018), Japan (Oct 16-17, 2018) and is getting ready to host the inaugural edition in New York on March 5-6, 2018 to be closer to the American audience. Therefore, the battle of supremacy rages on.

Subhash Arora

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Tags : Vinexpo, Bordeaux, Guillaume Déglise, Institute of Masters of Wine, Moet Hennessey, World Organic Wine, John Salvi MW, Arun Kumar, Aspri Spirits and Wines, ProWein

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