With just over two weeks to go the countdown is on for the first major international wine fair to be held in Europe for wine and spirits for two years. As Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris wait to open their doors to fully vaccinated producers and buyers from all over the world we take a close look at some of the seminars and mini conferences taking place and, in particular, the impressive Wine Talks series featuring leading lights from across the wine industry.
Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris takes place between February 14-16 at Paris Porte de Versailles. Click here for more details and to register.
When it comes to international travel and meeting face to face, wine and spirits producers and their most important buyers around the world have all had to find new ways of working together as we have quietly and patiently worked our way through Covid-19.
The virus may still be with us, but we now know, at least, how to live with it and are ready, finally to do business together, in person, at Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris – which just happened to be the last international trade fair we were able to attend before going into our respective global hibernations.
The show could not have come at a more important time with pressure on supply even more acute than normal on the back of some of the worst harvests in key producing countries and regions over the last two years. Made worse by the huge backlogs in the global supply chain as our logistics suppliers struggle to get the world moving again after months of lockdown.
It will be an invaluable time for producers and buyers to finally get together again over a tasting table.
It’s also a crucial show for the organisers, in what is only the second time that Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris have come together to host their joint show. The stage is set for them to really make their mark on the global wine calendar as the first major event of the year, particularly now that ProWein has pushed back its 2022 event to May to comply with German Covid health and safety regulations, which, in turn, has controversially forced London Wine Fair to switch its show to new dates in June.
As Rodolphe Lameyse, chief executive of Vinexposium, the events business behind Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris, told The Buyer earlier this month: “We all needed this show to happen and we were absolutely determined to make it happen. We also absolutely owe it to all our exhibitors and partners, and, of course, all the buyers from around the world. This will be the first major international show for two years.”
The wine and spirts trade is clearly ready to return to business in person with 2,800 exhibitors signed up and over 20,000 national and international visitors expected to attend. Of which 58% are French and 42% from around the world with the five registered countries being Belgium, the Netherlands, the UK, the United States and Germany. Noticeably 79% of registration requests have come from trade buyers, including 16% wine merchants and 8% from hospitality. The organisers claim 75% of registered visitors have buying responsibilities.
Not all the action, however, will be on the trading floor with a full conference, masterclass and specialist tasting programme also taking place. Key features include:
- Be Spirits – a dedicated area focused on spirits and mixology with brands and producers from around the world. Hall 3.
- Wine Tech Perspectives – a bespoke area dedicated to business and service providers that are looking to bring innovation and digitalisation to the wine and spirits industry. Hall 4.
- La Nouvelle Vague – will showcase young winemakers and their talents.
- Free open pour tastings throughout the show as well as focused set tastings.
- 20 masterclasses are being held over the the three days.
- You can access the full programme of events and masterclasses here.
A key focus this year will be its series of five Wine Talks covering the key issues facing the global wine industry, spread out across the three days of the show. The Wine Talks are being held in Hall 6 and include the following sessions:
February 14, 4pm: The never-ending crisis of the international supply chain
The Buyer’s Richard Siddle will host this session looking at how the global and local trade are coping with international supply chain issues with:
- Laura Jewell MW Regional General Manager UK/EMEA at Wine Australia.
- Dror Nativ: Senior wine buyer at Marks & Spencer.
- Daniel Duggain: Supply chain consulting manager.
- David Gill MW: Controller of the specialist sector at Kingsland Drinks.
February 15. 11.30pm ‘Will the proposed new excise duties in the UK make wine unaffordable?’
Hosted by Harpers’ Andrew Catchpole this session will assess the implications of what the UK government is claiming is the biggest upheaval to the UK duty regime in 140 years. The speakers are:
- Miles Beale: Chief executive of Wine and Spirits Trade Association.
- Hal Wilson: Managing Director of Cambridge Wine Merchants.
- Justin Howard-Sneyd MW: Director of The Hive Wine Consulting.
February 15, 2.30pm ‘Making wine in a changing climate’
Wine writer Rupert Joy will lead a session looking at how different gatekeepers are tackling the climate change issue. Speakers are:
- Jeremy Cukierman MW: – Director Kedge Wine School & author of ‘Quel vin pour demain?’.
- Stephen Cronk: Founder of Mirabeau en Provence and The Regenerative Viticulture Foundation
- Pau Roca Blasco: Director general, Organisation Internationale de la Vigne et du Vin.
- Josep Maria Ribas Portella: Climate change manager, Familia Torres and board member, IWCA.
February 15, 5.30pm. ‘The future of viticulture’ .
Dr Jamie Goode will host this session featuring a discussion on the future of international viticulture, exploring the different choices available to winegrowers.
The speakers are:
- Gerard Bertrand: Wine producer.
- Robert Eden: Co-owner of Château Maris & head of organic wines at Cordier .
- Anne Laure Ferroir: Director of Fédération Nationale Terra Vitis.
- Marc Thibault: Winemaker.
February 16, 2.30pm: ‘Is it the end for glass wine bottles?’
Anne Burchett will host a discussion exploring the issue of glass bottles and, in particular, the future of heavy glass bottles and what credible alternatives their might be to glass packaging, particularly for more entry level wines. The speakers are:
- Jancis Robinson MW: Wine writer (joining by video link).
- Aleesha Hansel: Wine writer.
- Oliver Lea: Co-founder and MD BIB Wine and co-founder Wine Traders for Alternative Formats Organisation .
- Sophie Wolff: Assistant director, Adelphe.
- Adeline Farrelly: Secretary general of the European Container Glass Federation (FEVE).
- Melianthe Leeman:Global marketing director wine & spirits, O-I Glass.