Heading out to Montpellier this weekend for the annual trade show VINISUD? We pop a few questions to Pascale Ferranti, Director of VINISUD, to give you an idea of what to expect there – what is different this year, why has it changed from its bi-annual pulse, and which markets in particular does she see as the main ones for Mediterranean wine producers to exploit?
The United States is still the number one export market for Mediterranean wine producers says Pascale Ferranti, Director of VINISUD
What are you hoping to achieve in 2017 and also longer-term?
Above all, we wish to increase the number of international buyers at VINISUD and make it an annual event for all these buyers.
It is important that producers have the opportunity to present their new vintage and cuvées in order to maintain regular commercial contact.
We also want to attract new buyers by creating innovative spaces this year such as Nouvelle Vague where young, new winemakers are presented.
Regarding the actual show… what is new and different this year?
We want to develop the B2B appointment system between producers and buyers. Our new app will give buyers the opportunity to ask exhibitors for an appointment in advance of the show, the result being a more efficient visit.
As I mentioned in the last question, the Nouvelle Vague area brings together more than 40 young winemakers who have only been in business for five years or less.
We have also created a tasting area dedicated to sparkling wines called the Sparkling Zone, which was a huge success in 2016.
There seems to be a growing presence of producers and wines from the Eastern Mediterranean and from the Balkans. How do you explain this? What sort of producers from this region do you expect at VINISUD?
We have producers from Serbia, Croatia, Israel and Lebanon exhibiting at VINISUD. They are here because of demand but also as an opportunity to show a different side to ‘Mediterranean style’.
Which buyers from around the world do you hope will attend?
We will see buyers coming from 70 different countries! This year is specially marked by the presence of Eastern European markets and from North America, with buyers from more than 30 different states alone.
Is it hard to get buyers to come in a year when you have both Prowein and Vinexpo?
No, not at all, Prowein and Vinexpo offer a different perspective, whereas ours is the Mediterranean spirit.
VINISUD is also the first wine show of the year, which allows buyers to discover the new vintages first.
As for frequency, VINISUD went annual because of buyers’ demand. We based this decision on a good deal of research – 82% of buyers voted to have our show every year instead of bi-annually which is what we used to have.
What is unique about VINISUD that makes it such a must-attend event?
First of all, we are all about the Mediterranean, and secondly what we offer is really diverse, from small producers to big wine organisations, with different type of wines, qualities and styles.
What are your key markets now around the world and how are you developing them?
The United States is the first market targeted by the majority of producers nowadays. Recent studies show that the consumption of wines will keep on growing in this country, particularly by millennials.
Asia is an attractive market because these are predominantly brand new customers for most producers, whilst traditional European markets still offer producers an opportunity to develop their business.
What are the more challenging markets and why?
Asia, because it’s continually changing and growing and it is not always easy to identify who the new operators are. The Asian countries are also not as mature as Japan.
Oceania is very difficult because of the time difference which makes contact difficult via phone or email – these are more recent markets and we have not yet clearly identified who the operators are.
How do you now see the UK market in face of Brexit and weaker sterling. What is your strategy for the UK?
Concerning the strategy in England, we are still not sure about the real consequences of Brexit on the English market. Our strategy is therefore simply to continue our contact with English importers and to introduce them at our Mediterranean Wine Fair. Perhaps it will be easier to adopt a strategy when the future impact becomes clearer.
Wine style-wise – what are the exciting wine styles coming from the south of France regions? And how are they being developed and promoted.
Rosé wines as well as Pays D’Oc IGP are really well recognised and appreciated.