Whisper it quietly but the world of wine is waking up to the idea of doing business in Paris, in February thanks to the fast growth of Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris which goes into only its fourth show promising to be 25% bigger than 2022, of which 35% of visitors will come from outside France, up from a quarter last year. Here Helen Arnold assesses what it is that has made the trade fair connect so quickly with the global wine industry and what to expect at next month’s show.
Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris takes place at Paris’ Porte de Versailles between February 13-15. Click here to register and for all the details.
If you looking to attend next month’s Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris then you will be one of over 30,000 visitors expected from 126 countries. It is the speed in which the event has grown, from what was VinoVision, a strictly French affair, to first Wine Paris in 2019 and then from 2020 as a combined Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris show, that is so impressive.
But then perhaps we should not be surprised the opportunity to spend a few days in Paris in February has captured the imagination and attention of international buyers and producers from around the world.
What’s particularly pleasing for Rodolphe Lameyse, chief executive of the show’s founders and organiser Vinexposium, is the event has quickly transitioned from producers visiting the show and taking out a small stand to test the water, to booking their own pavilions. Their confidence in the exhibition has, in turn, brought the international buyers with them.
“The focus for 2023 is firmly international,” he claims, insisting the show should now justifiably be regarded as an international trade exhibition that can hold its own alongside other competing long-established events such as ProWein. It is, importantly, no longer a French trade fair with interesting wines from elsewhere added on.
The international focus, he adds, is being strengthened by the sheer amount of exhibition space being snapped up by overseas producers keen to meet and do business with global buyers. This year’s show will have three dedicated halls given over to wine producers outside France, which Lameyse describes as “a significant increase and key turning point for the future”.
But it’s one thing convincing producers to give the show a go, it’s quite another to get busy buyers to commit. That’s why Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris 2023 looks like being very different to the shows that have come before. It is not only promising to be 25% bigger than 2022, the number of international visitors is expected to make up of 35% of its total, up from only a quarter last year. International exhibitors will account for 20% of the producers showing their wines, compared to 13% in 2022.
Doubters to believers
“The work we have done and what we have put in place is now paying out,” says Lameyse. “Three or four years ago there were a lot of people who really doubted our ability to turn around the [Vinexpo] business and that is now really happening.”
Turning “doubters” to “believers” is a mantra that Lameyse has followed since he took on the chief executive role of Vinexpo in April 2019.
A key factor in attracting more international buyers and producers, explains Lameyse, has been Vinexposium’s strategy of engaging with key players on a regular basis, and making the show relevant to them, not merely as an exhibition business but also by branching out into a platform producing relevant business content, debates, talks and conferences.
Key country pavilions exhibiting include Italy, Spain, Portugal, Georgia, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, California, Oregon, Washington State, Japan, Lebanon, South Africa, Canada, Germany, Greece, Switzerland, Turkey and Romania.
From the host country there will be seven northern French regions showcasing their wines in a dedicated space a third bigger than in 2022 to accommodate their increased numbers, up by a fifth on 2022 from 843 to 1013.
Alsace, Beaujolais, Burgundy, Champagne, Jura, Savoy and the Loire Valley will be gathered together in Hall 3 to showcase these regions’ diverse wine offering.
First-time exhibitors include Diva Domaine et Distilleries, Château la Nerthe, Synidact Châteauneuf du Pape; along with Champagne Charles & Piper Heidsieck, Champagne Bollinger (Groupe Société Jacque Bollinger), Champagne Lallier and Champagne De Venoge from the Champagne region.
They will be joining long time attendees, including Albert Bichot, Badet Clément, Maison Louis Latour, Veuve Ambal; and for Champagne, Champagne Mailly Grand Cru, Champagne Palmer & Co, Champagne Charles Mignon and Champagne Mandois.
But it’s not all about the wine. From its inception Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris has also been committed to showcasing the best in spirits from around the world – as did the long standing Vinexpo shows in Bordeaux.
The 2023 show will see an entire hall dedicated to spirits under the Be Spirits banner with 20% more floor space than last year, and a 44% increase in new exhibitors. Alongside the French contingent, there will be a strong international presence with the return of representatives from Belgium, the US, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Romania, the UK, Switzerland and Canada.
Newcomers include producers from Uzbekistan, the Czech Republic and Vietnam. With 27 categories of spirits being represented, various new drinks will be featured for the first time, including absinthe, liqueurs, bitter, Peru’s national drink Pisco, hard tea and the Japanese spirit shochu.
A key highlight of Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris is back – The Infinite Bar -designed to showcase the creativity of some of the world’s top mixologists attending Be Spirits, with five European bars, five bars from French regions and 10 Parisian bars spread across a huge, 40-metre-long bar.
Another new feature of Be Spirits will be the Speakeasy, where a line-up of masterclasess, conferences and events will be on offer, including the Japan Sake and Shochu Association masterclass, the IWSR conference and Spirits of the year award ceremony.
What to look out for
Here is our selection from over 100 tastings, masterclasses and discussions taking place over the three days of Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris.
La Nouvelle Vague
To celebrate young wine producers with less than five years’ experience, Wine Paris is laying on a dedicated area, La Nouvelle Vague, to help them secure distribution within both France and further afield and raise awareness of their wines.
A hub for innovative start-ups, WineTech Perspectives, will be focusing on innovation and digital content, with around 100 businesses signed up, twice the number compared to 2022.
Notable exhibitors include Star Beverages which offers wine canning solutions, wine in tube specialists Fibreries de Touraine, a range of services for alcohol free wine from Zenothèque, technology for storing still or sparkling wines with Technowine and a connected wine aerator from Aveine.
The area will also include a number of talks including:
- How to drive business with data. 10.15am-11.15am
- Influence: When numbers swell. 11.30am-12.30pm.
- How to sustain e-commerce growth: 2.15pm-3.15 pm
- NFT – a new revolution in wine or just a gadget. 10.15am-11.15am.
- Financing innovation. 11.30am-12.30pm.
- New labelling opportunities. 2.15pm-3.15pm.
Battle of the Female Sommeliers
For the first time in Paris, Paz Levinson, 2015 ASI Best Sommelier of the Americas, Heidi Mäkinen, 2015 ASI Best Sommelier of Finland, and Véronique Rivest, 2013 ASI World’s Best Sommelier, will go head-to-head in a Battle of the Female Sommeliers focusing on the influence of the various vessels used for winemaking and maturation. February 13 from 1:30 to 2:30 pm.
Chef & Sommelier Duo
Another new feature in 2023 is the Chef & Sommelier Duos which aims to showcase chefs and sommeliers, who will compete to present the most inspiring wine and food pairings under the watchful eye of 1992 World’s Best Sommelier, Philippe Faure-Brac.
World’s Best Sommelier Competition
The World’s Best Sommelier Competition, hosted by the ASI, is taking place in Paris the day before the show, with sommeliers, including the winner, taking part in the competition then expected to attend Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris.
A new area, the Craft pavilion, will be reserved for young, up and coming producers of spirits, RTD’s, alcohol free drinks, ciders and beers. Featured producers will include gin and pastis from the Distillerie de l’Ort, produced organically by a brother and sister duo in the Perigord region; rum infusions from Guadeloupe-based K’ribean Cocktail-Taleya; gin with lavender accents by the Le Vadrouilleur-Maison LC 1901 distillery in Haute Provence; and the craft aperitif Vylmer Apéritifs, also produced in Provence and inspired by the 1950s.
Battle of the mixologists
Four top mixologists selected from the cocktail bars featuring in the OFF programme will be pitted against each other and challenged to create three cocktails based on a surprise theme only revealed on the day. This will be judged by a panel comprising Lionel Albano, founder of La Mentheuse, Marc-Antoine Fulconis, co-founder of Beeche (Bulles de Ruche), Gauthier Zucco, brand ambassador with Bollinger Diffusion, and Benjamin Flavigny, brand ambassador with Maker’s Mark France. After the panel has reached its decision, the winning cocktail will be available to taste
100 plus masterclasses
With over 100 masterclasses being held during the three-day show hosted by top industry figures and renowned experts, visitors will be able to immerse themselves in the minutiae of a number of different wine regions and their wines.
February 13 Masterclasses
Kicking off the programme on Monday morning, visitors can discover the wines of Champagne with the manager and owner of Champagne Veuve Fourny Emmanuel Fourny, while the art of aperitivo with Prosecco Superiore will be debated by Gallo’s Edouard Baijot, MW and top chef Gianmarco Gorni.
The Jeunes Vignerons d’Alsace Group will discuss the expression of the same terroir in white and red wine with Jean-Emmanuel Simon, a member of the RVF tasting committee.
Wine writer, educator and speaker Elaine Chukan Brown will take delegates on a vinous California road trip from north to south, while Alex de Cata, senior business development manager of the WSET will discuss spirits training and where to start. Neurobiologist and researcher in sensory neuroscience at the Institut Pasteur, Gabriel Lepousez, will describe and interpret the feel of wine with top sommelier Franck Thomas, while Julia Scavo will analyse Japanese Shochu.
New trends in Loire Valley Roses will be highlighted by journalist and international speaker Gabrielle Vizzavona, while Laurent Delaunay, the chief executive of Maison Edouard Delaunay will discuss Pinot Noir and climate change from Burgundy to Limoux with Jean Emmanuel Simond.
Konstantin Baum, MW will examine whether Centre-Loire wines should be tasted young or left to age, and Jacques Lurton, chief executive of Les Vignoble Andre Lurton kicks off Tuesday’s masterclass programme with a debate entitled Semillon – back to the future!
February 14 Masterclasses
Chukan Brown returns centre stage on Tuesday with an analysis of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir of the Willamette Valley, while Les Eleveurs sommelier Andy de Brouwer and Paulo Tomaz of Divinal Wines & Food will explain why wines from the Centre Loire make the perfect match for seafood.
Brandy is the new black, according to Fanny Darrieussecq, the general manager of WiSP, while oenology training manager Thierry Fritsch will attempt to shake up lots of preconceptions about wines from Alsace.
There is life in Austria beyond Gruner Veltliner, according to wine writer Alexander Zecevic, while the role of sugar in liqueurs will be considered by Benjamin Galais, a spirits instructor and consultant.
Visitors will also be able to discover the red wines of Montepuliciano d’Abruzzo with Jérémy Cukierman MW.
February 15 Masterclasses
On the final day of the show, attendees will be able to find out about the ancient wines of Carignan and Pais from Chile from Gabrielle Vizzavona.
Which new grape varieties are best suited to climate change will be discussed by Régis Cailleau, the editorial director of Institut Francais de la Vigne et du Vin with his Institut colleague Olivier Yobregat, and Chablis’s terroir will be the focus of Francois Gilbert’s talk, while Sober Spirits founder Calixte Payan will discuss whether all alcohol-free products are created equal with Frédéric Roginska, distiller and founder of DistilNews.
IWSR: Global drinks market developments: exploring the trends and outlook for beverage alcohol to 2026. 9am-10am.
Z (like Zebra?): the younger generation and their relationship with wine and spirits. 11.30am-12.30pm
How to invest in a vineyard successfully? Avoid traps and learn about our wine experts feedback & experience. 2.3opm-3.30pm.
Resilient spirit: What does the future hold for the global spirits market? 2.30pm-3.30pm.
Luxury, redefined: how to adapt to a world in transition? 4pm-5pm.
February 13: Can Centre-Loire wines remain crisp and fresh in a changing climate? 1o.30am-12pm.
February 14: Why certification matters: a B corp case study for the Wine & Spirits Community. 1pm-2pm.
Developing a world class sustainability strategy for your wine business. 11.30am-12.3opm.
New winegrowing regions: rules for success. 1pm-2pm.
Wine Paris will also be promoting and working with more than 200 restaurants and bars in the city as part of its OFF programme. This features those hospitality outlets which place a particular emphasis on wine service and mixology, and where guests can enjoy the very best of Parisian wining and dining.
Ranging from small, family-owned outlets to Michelin-starred venues, each one must have a list featuring at least 50 wines.
The featured ‘OFF’ restaurant and bars will be hosting wine and cocktail focused events for the three evenings of the show.
At Canon D’Achile, for example, the focus will be on wines produced by women, both by the glass and bottle, while at Grand Coeur, magnums will be the centre of attention. Meanwhile at Bon Vivant, there will be a tasting of skin contact wines, while wines from Jura will be the main theme at Fulgurances La Cave, where traditional dishes from the region in Northeast France will be served with three wines from one of the top producers.
February 13: 9am -7pm
Be Spirit: 10am – 8pm
February 14: 9am – 7pm
Be Spirit: 10am – 8pm
February 15: 9am – 5pm
Be Spirit: 10am -5pm
Venue: Paris Expo Porte de Versailles, 1 Place de la Porte de Versailles, 75015 Paris. France
By City transport
Underground – Line 12, Porte de Versailles station or line 8, Balard Station
Tram: T2 and T3a, Porte de Versailles – Parc des Expositions station
Bus: line 80, Porte de Versailles – Parc des Expositions station and line 39, Desnouettes station
Bike: Vélib’ station avenue Ernest Renan
From Roissy – Charles de Gaulle airport:
• RoissyBus to Paris – Opéra / Métro line 8 direction Balard to Madeleine / Métro line 12 direction Mairie d’Issy to Porte de Versailles – Parc des Expositions.
• RER B direction Saint-Rémy-lès-Chevreuse to Cité Universitaire / Tramway T3 direction Pont du Garigliano to Porte de Versailles – Parc des Expositions
From Orly airport:
• Orlyval to Antony / RER B to Cité Universitaire / Tramway T3 to the Porte de Versailles – Parc des Expositions station
• Orlybus to Denfert-Rochereau / RER B to Cité Universitaire / Tramway T3 to Porte de Versailles – Parc des Expositions
Accommodation: Book accommodation with Wine Paris’ partner, network here https://wineparis-vinexpo.bnetwork.com/ where you can choose from a wide range of hotels across all price brackets.