When Wine Paris opened its doors for the first time last February there must have been a mixture of excitement and apprehension about whether launching a new major wine show was what the trade wanted. The overwhelmingly positive response means there is real momentum going into the second Wine Paris event this year, particularly on the back of the news that its owners, Comexposium, has signed a new joint venture with Vinexpo, that is also launching its first Paris show alongside Wine Paris this February, to host future events together. So what can we expect from Wine Paris second time around? Here’s managing director, Pascale Ferranti, to tell us…
Paris in February? What’s not to like? Throw in a wine exhibition (or two) then now you’re really talking. If you are still thinking about whether to go to Wine Paris or not then let’s see if Pascale Ferranti can persuade you…
We are into year two of Wine Paris. How are you feeling about the show this year?
I am very optimistic about Wine Paris 2020. The exhibition is opening its doors in six weeks and all indicators are positive. Not only have we sold out but we’ve had to open a waiting list for potential exhibitors. We’ll have more than 2,200 exhibitors with a remarkable diversity in terms of French and international wine producing regions and exhibitors’ profiles. This diversity will no doubt prove very attractive for the many French and international buyers we are expecting.
You have been able to build on the momentum from the first show last year?
Wine Paris was created at the initiative of 13 French wine interprofessions who came together to meet the market’s demand for a large international wine event in Paris. The support of the whole wine profession has been crucial for the first Wine Paris and will be even more so for the second one. Wine Paris represents a new voice and a new collective leadership for French wines which, we hope, will enthuse and attract wine professionals the world over.
Have you succeeded in getting more non-French exhibitors to sign up?
Twenty per cent of our exhibitors are international, from over 25 different countries, which is up from 16% in 2019. We aim to become the benchmark for the wine offer worldwide with a focus on French wines. The wine business is a global business nowadays and it is key that Wine Paris should reflect this reality. In 2020, all international exhibitors will be grouped together in one hall.
What do you see as Wine Paris’s USP in the competitive wine exhibition buying calendar?
Wine Paris takes place on the best date in the buying calendar. It is the first big annual get together of the wine world in the year, allowing buyers to taste the last vintage for the very first time.
Why do you think it is particularly relevant for wine buyers?
Buyers have the opportunity to discover real gems at Wine Paris, to taste wines from estates, new and old, that only exhibit at Wine Paris. Wine Paris is a convivial show where contact between exhibitors and visitors is easy. This is something we are proud of and that we want to maintain. We want to give visitors a chance to hear the story behind the wine for each bottle they taste so that they can pass on those stories to their own customers.
Paris is also ideally situated, less than two hours away from major European capital cities. It is also a fabulous place to visit and not just to do business.
What are the key themes and exhibition spotlights this year?
Wine Paris is there to support the wine industry and to display its values of diversity and sharing. This is why we have created two new types of event.
The first one is called the ‘Wine Talks’ and will feature round tables around a different theme every day. The first day, the Delicious Day, will be dedicated to taste. The second, called the ‘Wonderful Day’, will focus on green initiatives in the wine world and the third, the ‘Creative Day will be dedicated to innovation.
The second key theme is borne out of our desire to support producers and help them to meet new challenges by sharing relevant information with them. This is why we have created ‘So International’, a cycle of conferences focused on the international wine trade. In 2020 the featured countries will be the US on Tuesday, February 11 and the UK with Brexit on Wednesday, February 12.
This year’s show will be very different as you will be working with Vinexpo which is hosting its own show alongside yours. Can you explain how that partnership is going to work?
Vinexpo is a key partner for Wine Paris with an internationally known brand. It is to meet the market’s expectations that both shows are taking place at the same time and in the same place. This will give visitors access to 2,800 exhibitors with just one badge. Both events are complementary in terms of positioning and know-how. We believe this synergy is very stimulating for the sector as a whole.
As you know, we’ve now taken matters a step further with the creation of a joint venture bringing together Vinexpo and Comexposium wine exhibitions. Together the two businesses’ will create a venture with €23m turnover in 2020. Comexposium’s wine and spirits turnover was €8m in 2019 and Vinexpo’s turnover was €11M in 2019.
The new structure will be owned 50/50 by Comexposium and Vinexpo and managed independently by a board soon to be appointed. It will be in charge of 10 different events, including the World Bulk Wine Exhibition. Vinexpo Bordeaux will continue to take place on alternative years and a large event will take place every year in Paris.
How will the two Paris shows be different?
Vinexpo Paris will focus on big brands (L’Avenue), negociant companies but also spirits (Be Spirits area) and organic wines producers (WOW). Wine Paris brings together all French wine regions with 13 collective stands featuring a multitude of domains and producers.
How do you see the market for trade shows? What makes one a success and another a failure?
The world of international exhibitions has changed a lot. Producers do not have limitless budgets and cannot take part in the multitude of exhibitions that spring up everywhere. This is why we brought Vinisud and Vinovision together to create Wine Paris. This consolidation phenomenon is quite common in Asia but less so in France.
It is essential for producers to privilege exhibitions that guarantee them a return on investment and not just an image boost. This is why Wine Paris chose February, the best time of year for business.
In terms of visitors’ expectations we notice an appetite for business but also for learning which is why we have created an event with original features and lots of round tables to encourage exchanges and discussions.
What do you see as the key challenges facing the wine industry?
The wine business nowadays needs to be nimble and flexible. Producers need to meet the challenges caused by global warming as well as consumers’ ever changing expectations, notably for a more ethical consumption.
The global political situation is also a concern. Numerous tensions exist, be it with the US and the implementation of new tariffs or with Brexit in the UK.
How is Wine Paris helping to tackle them?
As Wine Paris organisers, we need to attract as many visitors as possible and to offer them the best possible experience. This is why we are offering them rich content and useful tools such as a new matchmaking app. The wine industry future is very dependent on export markets which creates a lot of added value.
For those travelling to Paris what is your favourite place for a cocktail?
Favourite wine bar?
Any secret thing about Paris you are willing to share?
The flea market in Saint Ouen.
- If you want to know more about Wine Paris and how to register then go to its official website here. The show runs from February 10 to 12 at Paris’ Porte de Versaille.