May 31, 2012: After a red-eye flight from Hong Kong via Delhi, I arrived in Vienna bright and early, to a lovely, crisp day (almost like a good Gruner Veltliner) splashed with sunshine. As Vinexpo draws to a close this evening in Hong Kong and everyone packs their bags to come to Vienna or go home, VieVinum kicks off.
I spent two very hectic days at Vinexpo which, as the organisers proudly announced, was bigger and better than ever! Certainly, the Show was very well attended by wine producers from around the world. France was present in full force with stands from all its major appellations. Italy, too, made a great showing as did California, Chile and South Africa. There were representations, too, from smaller producers such as Serge Hochar of Château Musar from Lebanon, who is consistently producing high quality wines despite the turmoil in his country. Read about it in the June-July 2012 issue of Sommelier India, now in circulation.
I spotted many old friends, waved and smiled at them all, but was only able to actually meet a few. However, Vinexpo Hong Kong, seems to be more worthwhile for me every year. It’s close to home, not so large as to be overwhelming or difficult to navigate and yet large enough to be meaningful. This year 1,050 companies, producers, manufacturers and exporters of wine and spirits from 28 countries participated in the Fair. Vinexpo Asia-Pacific HK is splendid for networking, and presents a valuable opportunity to revive relationships, conclude business and keep your finger on the pulse of the Asian market.
I particularly enjoyed the conferences and tastings in the Vinexpo Asia-Pacific Academy and found the programme of seminars and guided tastings to be well balanced between the business of wine and the appreciation of wine. The lunches and special events at the end of the day were also particularly engaging.
As the publisher of an independent wine publication from India, my antenna is specially fine-tuned to absorb new trends and views at such gatherings. Despite some positive interest in India, I detected a distinct undertone of disappointment at the unfulfilled potential of the Indian wine market.
The light at the end of the tunnel for wine exports seems to be dimmer rather than brighter. One wine producer and exporter expressed his frustration to me bluntly, when he said, “India is the only country not flying!”
VieVinum opens tomorrow and I’m tuned in.