Vinexpo 2011, the world’s largest wine and spirits expo held once every two years took place between 19th and 23rd June. Founded in 1981, the expo celebrated its 30th anniversary this year. With 2400 exhibitors from 47 countries the show brought together the most prominent wine and spirits professionals from around the world, attracting all the major players from more than 130 countries.
Pictured, left to right: Guido Westerwell, German foreign minister, Baroness Philippine de Rothschild, Bruno Le Maire, Minister of Agriculture and Alain Juppé, Mayor of Bordeaux on the first day of Vinexpo
The host region of Bordeaux with all its appellations was fully represented either at the stands or at the exclusive wine tastings at Vinexpo. A series of special events were organized during the five days such as the 1855 Grands Crus Classé Dinner in honour of the international press at Château Haut Brion and an outdoor concert by world famous opera singer, Elizabeth Vidal at Château Brane-Cantenac, accompanied by her husband, famous baritone, André Cognet, to mention only two that Sommelier India attended. Many châteaux employed helicopters to transfer their clients to their vineyards to show them around.
“Tastings by Vinexpo” proved to be an enormous success, attracting a total of 13,250 professionals, who attended to find out more about a new product, to widen their knowledge or to prepare for negotiations that then took place on the stands.
These tastings were complemented with conferences and presentations delivered by industry experts. Distinguished French wine-maker and innovator Jean-Michael Cases received the Lifetime Achievement Award at a lunch held in his honour. The award from The Institute of Masters of Wine and global trade publication, The Drinks Business, was presented by Lynne Sherriff MW, Chairman of the Institute in acknowledgement of M Cazes’ vision, determination and innovation.
With more than 48,000 trade visitors, this has to be the mother of all wine and spirits shows! The scale of the expo is unimaginable covering an area of 95,000 sq.mts, (more than 23 acres). Electric carts and coaches were seen ferrying people from one end to the other, a distance of nearly one kilometre! As could be expected France, the host country occupied nearly 63% of the stand space. Pictured: Elizabeth Vidal at Brane-Cantenac
The number of international visitors confirmed the findings of Vinexpo studies on the world wine and spirits market. After France and China, the other top 5 visiting nations were the U.S. with 1,403 visitors, UK with 1,342 and Belgium with 1,172.
“Between 2010 and 2014, the consumption of still light wines will grow by 72.9 million 9-litre cases, an increase of 2.98%. Nearly three quarters of this increase will take place in just three markets: the US, with 26.94 million cases more, China, with 20.76 million cases more and Russia with 5.53 million cases more,” pointed out Robert Beynat, Chief Executive of Vinexpo.
Asians, especially the Chinese were conspicuous by their strong presence. One in every three visitors this time was an Asian. Excluding France, China has become the country that sends the largest number of visitors to Vinexpo. And after China, the rest of Asia followed: Taiwan, up 65% compared to 2009, Singapore, up 71%, India, up 26%, Vietnam, up 116%, Malaysia, up 74%.
In another statistic, Castel alone will be exporting 30 million bottles to China over the next 12 months. A considerable amount of interest was also shown in Organic and Biodynamic wines this year, which might be indicative of future trends and how mass consumers are viewing such wines.
World wine consumption continues to grow, although modestly, and is slated to reach 2.73 billion cases by 2014, driven mainly by the US, China and Russia. Interestingly, the rate of growth for sparkling wines is greater than that for still wines.
Overall, Asia dominates the wine and spirits consumption figures and accounts for 44.6% of world consumption in spirits alone.
But India, unfortunately, lags behind in the wine sector. With restrictive taxation policies making the landed cost of imported wines prohibitive, Indians are being forced to drink inferior wines when it is a well acknowledged fact that wine is a superior alcoholic beverage from the health perspective when compared to any spirit. Coupled with high import duties are the domestic state excise rules which make the final price even less affordable.
There was a relatively low turnout of Indian importers at Vinexpo this year. Sanjay and Sonali Menon of Sonarys, Abhay Kawedkar from the UB Group, Jakie Mathias and Sumedh S Mandla of Aspri, the Munjrals from Munjral brothers, Vishal and Anshu Kadakia from the Wine Park, Gianendra Dua of Hops Marketing and a new entrant in the trade from Nandi Hills, Bangalore, Keshav Raju of Magpie were the only ones seen.
We hope eventually consumer preferences and the resultant pressure on excise authorities will compel changes in government policy and attitude, so that wine consumption can see an exponential rise in India.
Vinexpo recorded 48,122 visitors from 148 countries altogether, up 3.22% compared to 2009. But over and above this slight increase in numbers, it was the overall effectiveness and value of the contacts achieved that made this 16th Vinexpo so special, said the organisers.
— K.Singh for Sommelier India from Bordeaux
Vinexpo Asia-Pacific will be held in Hong Kong on May 29, 30, 31, 2012.