April 26: The 52nd edition of Vinitaly, the 4-day international wine show held in Verona from April 15-18 closed with 128,000 visitors from 143 countries and a higher participation at 32,000 by accredited international buyers -up by 6%, writes Subhash Arora who attended the ‘Greatest Show on Earth of Italian wines’ and soaked the increased enthusiasm of several producers, along with members of the Italics Wine Club in India
More than 15,000 people added to the number of visitors last year. As anticipated, China had a much increased interest in Vinitaly2018, with the growth in their number by a whopping 34%. Poland surprisingly showed a solid growth at 25% while Northern Europe - Sweden, Finland, Norway and Denmark followed at 17%. United States showed an increase of 11%. Surprisingly, not many Indian faces were seen at the Show this year with many visiting ProWein or waiting to go to ProWine Asia this week and Vinexpo Hong Kong next month.
In terms of absolute attendance, buyers from USA were in the first place, followed by Germany, UK, China, France, Northern Europe, Canada, Russia, Japan, the Netherlands and Belgium. More than 4,380 exhibiting companies attended the event at Veronafiere from 36 countries; 130 more than last year. Vinitaly and the City attracted almost 60,000 enthusiasts and wine lovers in the Verona city and three historical towns in its province: Bardolino, Valeggio sul Mincio and Soave.
A 10-member delegation of Italics Wine Club organised by the Indo- Italian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (IITCC) and led by the Secretary General, Claudio Maffioletti was also present. The group stayed in small lakeside town of Desenzano del Garda in the province of Brescia, about 45 kms away and spent 2 hectic days at the Show before moving out to visit wineries in Valpolicella, Vicenza, Prosecco Land and Friuli Venezia Giulia and a few other interesting destinations.
"Vinitaly 2018 confirmed its dedicated vocation to business and promotion of the wine world," said Maurizio Danese, President of Veronafiere. ‘This is the right way forward, as identified with determination during the 50th anniversary edition, a couple of years ago. The exhibition in the Exhibition Centre as such is increasingly focused on professionals, while the off-show event for wine lovers in the city has also grown considerably,’ he added.
It has become a product in its own right and as such will be further developed in the next edition, said Giovanni Montovani, CEO of Veronafiere, organisers of the Show. "Growing attendance by professionals at the 2018 edition," was what he felt as the most important factor and bears witness to the consolidated role of b2b of Vinitaly on an international scale. The increasing numbers of both buyers and visitors showed that clearly.
It was a first visit by Claudio Maffioletti at Vinitaly. ‘Very impressive,’ was his overall impression though he felt that the Show could have a common pavilion to showcase the diversity Italian wines and culture have to offer in the 20 regions all of which produce wines. Sanjeev Gupta, another member of the group is an importer with an eye for increased presence of Italian wines in India. ‘Vinitaly is not merely a Show about wines and tasting but also a ground to highlight the pure passion of producers,’ he said, adding, ‘World of wine is constantly evolving and I feel we must attend every year to meet our suppliers and potential ones to expand our Italian portfolio.’
Vinitaly started from the two wine pavilions at the famous Agricultural Fair in Verona in the 1960s, which as the name suggests was basically an agricultural Show, attracting around 650,000 visitors. The perception of wine from food to a pleasure product was happening for the first time in Iatly and the need for a specialised wine show was felt by many. Sandro Boscaini (of Masi) was roped in for a year to implement his ideas from a thesis he had written. The debates and conferences in 1967 titled “Italian Wine Days” in September laid the foundation for Vinitaly. The idea that wine lovers could be attracted to the new Show where wines could be tasted, became a hit and every year more and more producers started taking part in the Show held originally in November-so much so that the stand locations have been fixed and pre-allocated for the producers.
I wanted to visit a favourite producer Casetta in Piedmont to pay him a courtesy visit; I walked in the direction I remembered and it took me straight to their stand. When I wondered why Marchesi di Barolo was in Veneto stand, Anna Abbona, owner told me that when Vinitaly started, this was the central location and they had selected this spot- Piedmont pavilion 9 came in later. But they stuck with the Stand as visitors and their customers got used to the location.
DelWine has always maintained that everyone with an interest in Italian wines must visit this Show at least one time to appreciate the beauty and diversity of Italian wines. The members of Italics Wine Club who visited for the first time were in tune with our feeling after 2 days. Unfortunately, there is too much walking at the Show and unlike Vinexpo where shuttles/golf cars ply continually, one did not find this facility. At least, there was no one to guide us if this facility was in fact available. Something that deters me from visiting every year.
Cav. Subhash Arora
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