Posted on | June 24, 2013
Written by | W.R. Tish
Trade shows are, if not the lifeblood of an industry, at least vital resuscitators. They provide an under-one-roof opportunity to share wares and ideas. Connections are kindled, deals are made, and the industry as a whole gets a chance to freshen things up.
Vinexpo, Vinitaly and the London Wine Fair have for some time topped the traditional list of international trade shows that move the wine world. Now it’s time to add ProWein to the list—perhaps at the top. Held in late March in Dusseldorf, Germany, Prowein already rivals its peer shows in sheer size, having attracted this year 4,783 exhibitors and 45,000+ visitors from 48 nations. But it’s not scope alone that makes ProWein tick—it’s the organization. The physical setting—a series of connected “halls”—has the effect of making the show remarkably manageable. It also keeps any single sector from seeming dominant, while giving smaller players the sense of a more level playing field.
Think ProWein is all about German wine? This year, the highest number of exhibitors came from Italy, followed by France and Germany. But there were contingents as well from China, England, Brazil, Tunisia and Lebanon. Thematic areas also highlighted organic wines, Champagne and spirits (replete with mixology demos). Expert-led seminars abounded; and dedicated self-pour areas for some regions enabled efficient tasting. The net result is a trade show that is truly global in feel and practice.
In turn, it is no surprise that many firms choose ProWein to unveil brand new projects. To wit: Spanish sparkling leader Freixenet launched its sweet, fruity Mia Moscato. Trapiche trotted out two brand new Malbec bottlings—Pure (unoaked) and Extravaganza (blended). And Prowein 2013 was the official debut of Miraval Rosé 2012 by Jolie-Pitt et Perrin.
Those were just some of the more conventional launches. Also on tap: an energy drink blended with Champagne; vegan wine; an organic wine spritzer; an alcohol-free RTD cocktail; and a line of charity-driven Spanish wines (Whatever It Takes) featuring artwork by celebrities from George Clooney and Penelope Cruz to Coldplay and David Bowie.
Trends at Every Turn
For sheer trend-watching, ProWein 2013 offered a humbling glimpse into the ever-shifting global market. America, with its notoriously complicated distribution system, is simply not the epicenter of innovation. By default, many of the more dramatic new products are not in the U.S.—which is all the more reason aggressive American importers should be checking ProWein out. At the same time, the progressive wines and spirits on offer at ProWein help cast a spotlight on trends that may be hitting our shores sooner than later. Some particular items that caught my eye:
All things considered, the real triumph of ProWein is that the show is truly business-focused—parties take a back seat. With principals converging on Dusseldorf from all over the world, ProWein has become the stage for an increasingly global industry.
Attendance at ProWein 2013 (up 6% from 2012) marked a noticeable increase in participation from Great Britain, Scandinavia and the Benelux countries, but also from France, Spain, Italy, North America and Asia. With almost 50%, the international wholesale, retail and specialist trade sector again accounted for the largest visitor group, followed by members of the restaurant and hotel trades. Over 70% of the visitors held management positions.
Prowein is organized by trade fair specialist Messe Düsseldorf (mdna.com). Exhibitor registration for 2014 is now available (deadline July 31st) at prowein.com; visitor registration opens in the fall. ProWein 2014—the 20th anniversary of the show—will take place March 23rd–25th, at the fairgrounds in Düsseldorf, Germany.