Nov 10: The 14th edition of ProWein, one of the most popular and powerful wine shows in Europe, and in the same league of VinExpo, Vinitaly and London International Wine Fair opend on Sunday, the 18th March in Duesseldorf-the business capital of Germany.
The Show is organised very professionally, with German efficiency and an eye for the minutest detail. There are plenty of wines to taste-what with a record 3041 producers from 43 countries (pity, India is not among the exhibitors!) taking part in the show and eager for the expected 35000 (last year 32125) visitors to taste their wines.
The best part of the Show is that I could practice my broken Italian here and enjoy wines from all regions of italy too. 644 participants make the Italians as the second largest contingent next only to the host nation with 786 exhibitors. France is a respectable 3rd with 482 exhibitors.
Commenting on my question that this might be the fourth largest trade show in Europe , Mr. Wilhelm Niedergoeker, the Managing Director of Messe Duesseldorf, the show organisers, surprised me with the numbers." We have 3041 exhibitors, whereas Bordeaux has 2111 (2005 figures) only. Italy had 4200 exhibitors but most of them are Italian, with only 250 , a mere 6% from overseas. London has 1300 exhibitors only.
At Prowein, 2193 foreign participants, make 75% of the total exhibitors. Comparable figure for Vinexpo is 1005 (48%).
Visitors to the show have a differnt profile though. Prowein , at 7500 (including me) will have about 22% foreigner participation. Vinexpo 2007 will attract 49000 that will comprise of 15000 foreigners (31%)-based on 2005 figures. London boasts of 19024 visitors (2006 figure) with 4756 international visiors constituting 25% of the foreign contingent of trade people. Prowein, London and Vinexpo are purely trade shows.
In comparison, Italy attracts a whopping 144,000 visitors with 33000 (23%) from abroad.'Vinitaly is not a truly trade show and attracts consumers too.it is also a majorly Italian wine presntation show- really a celebration of life with Italian wines'. 'I guess all I am saying is that Prowein is very much the top wine show and considering we hold it annually, it is a very important show for anyone who is connected with wine trade.' ' We also emphasise on tastings and provide an atmospher to taste as many wines as you wish' he added.
If you were at the 'Best of white wines', party last night, you would get the feel of what he is saying. There were more than 1000 persons at a time at the venue where there were over unlimited bottles of 30 white wines that included Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and several other varietals from around the world to be tasted, sipped and gulped, depending on your mood. The only thing in short supply was glasses, at times. One could feel the vibrations from the high powered DJ music and over 600 people on the dance floor wine-ing and dancing away through the night. And not a drop of trouble anywhere- every thing being handled with natural ease. There was even an arrangement for more than 50 taxis at a time to take you to your hotel after you were done with the unofficial tasting through the night.
Prowein has come a long way since 1994 when it had 321exhibitors and 1517 visitors only. Says Maureen Keleau who is a regular at IFE- India for 2 years but for much longer here,' This is the most important show for me. I wont dream of missing this show'. 'A lot of our clients come for this show; a sentiments echoed by many wine friends from italy .' Germany is our important market and this show is extremely helpful,' said our man from Lungarotti, Leonardo Ricci.
Of course, most of the Italian participants will take part in the 41st edition of Vinitaly at Verona , starting on 29th March. Not many French would be a part of it. Said Dr. Ariff Jamal, the professorial export manager of Albert Bichot and a good friend who has popularised Bichot with the help of Brindco,' I have been coming here for years now. But Vinitaly is not for us.'
If your business has wine mentioned in the objectives somehwere, Vinitaly and Prowein are both shows that you must visit at least once. Perhaps, your business requirements would make it obligatory for you to attend Vinexpo, often anyway.
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