Vinexpo is making further strides to differentiate itself from other international trade shows by launching a new initiative, Vinexpo Explorer, that hopes to bring the world’s Top 100 wine and spirit buyers together at key networking events in emerging and on trend wine countries. First up is Austria in September.
Vinexpo will have to make some hard decisions deciding who is in and out of its list of Top 100 wine and spirit buyers from around the world.
It’s not surprising that wine and spirits buyers have quite a high opinion of themselves. When they walk in to a room, people immediately want to talk to them, and will go out of their way to make them feel at home. But soon even the most prominent and, on paper, prestigious drinks buyers may be in for a rude awakening when Vinexpo puts in to action its plans for its new Vinexpo Explorer programme of events.
The initiative is all part of the trade show’s commitment to offering the global wine and spirits industry more than a bi-annual event in Bordeaux, supported by shows in Hong Kong and Japan. It is also a further demonstration, stressed its enterprising and ambitious chief executive, Guillaume Deglise, that Vinexpo is not just about supporting and promoting French wine, but wants to “promote wine and spirits from around the world”.
In a nutshell the new initiative will see Vinexpo identifying who it sees as being the most influential and important wine and spirits buyers across all the major export markets. It will then invite them to attend two day Explorer events in key, up and coming wine and spirit regions or countries of the world.
The first one of which will take place in September 11-12 in Austria thanks to a new link up with Austrian Wine.
But it has set itself quite a task. Just who do you include in such an illustrious list and do you not risk putting some pretty prominent noses out of joint. Particularly as these are going to be invite only events.
With so many key markets and buyers to choose from, it is going to be fascinating to see who makes the final cut. There are only, for example, only 10 places up for grabs from the UK to cover all channels of the on and off-trades.
Community of buyers
But it is clearly a risk that Guillaume Deglise, Vinexpo’sis willing to make.
He said it will be a unique and “revolutionary approach” to take buyers from mixed retail backgrounds and encourage them to swap ideas, share experiences and insights. B they from a Scandinavian monopoly, duty free sector, multinational hotel group, major supermarket chain or restaurant group. A selection of buyers that, he says, will reflect the “complexity” of the trade we work in.
“We want to create a community of buyers and it is also a chance for us to get to know our buyers better as well,” he said.
Its list of 100 buyers for the event in September is also not case in stone for future Explorer programmes. For whilst Vinexpo would like to build a networking community amongst this Top 100 it realises it will need to be tweaked from year to year, depending on which country, region is chosen and whether the emphasis is going to be more on wine or spirits. The inaugural Austrian event, for example, is going to be wine only, confirmed Austrian Wines’ managing director Willi Klinger.
He sees it as an enormous opportunity to translate what has been growing interest and publicity in the country in to hard sales over the coming years. “We want to use it to accelerate Austrian wines presence around the world,” he said. “We are very honoured to be the first country to be chosen to take part. It’s great exposure for us and a chance to transport the image of Austrian wine into sales.”
The new concept was unveiled today at a press conference in London with further events also taking place in Paris and Vienna.
Austria was chosen for the first event as it is not only a strong supporter of Vinexpo, but is a country that still has enormous potential to grow in all key markets around the world.
Chance to drive Austria’s wine exports
Austria is clearly delighted to be chosen for the first Vinexpo Explorer event and hopes the profile and opportunity to show its wines and producers to 100 of the world’s top 100 buyers is a once in a generation opportunity.
Klinger told the London press conference that he hoped it would help lift the country’s global exports over the next five years from around €150m a year to €180m to €200m. He hopes it will also dramatically boost UK sales and take it from 750,000 litres in 2016, worth €4.5m in sales, to some 1 million litres within years.
The two day Explorer events are designed to give buyers the chance to take part in one to one meetings with producers and taste special wines and spirits from the host country not possible on any normal trade visit.
It will also include business workshops whereby the buyers will be expected to work in small groups with their fellow buyers to discuss and analyse key trading issues for the host country or region and then feedback their conclusions to the wider group.
Vinexpo will use its database and knowledge of the global buying scene to identify the top 100 buyers who will then be personally selected to attend.
All expenses will be covered other than flights as Vinexpo’s Deglise believes that will be a way for the buyers to demonstrate their commitment to the event and willingness to participate.
He says it is too early to say where future events will be held but said it was an ideal vehicle to take buyers to explore the whisky distilleries of Scotland or the wineries of Oregon or Swartland in South Africa. The key will be to offer buyers “intimate contact contact with producers from all over the world,” stressed Deglise.