ProWine China to be Mainland’s biggest26th September, 2013 by Patrick Schmitt
ProWein’s first Chinese wine fair will be the Mainland’s biggest vinous trade exhibition when it opens its doors on 13 November this year.
Held in Shanghai, where ProWein organisers Messe Düsseldorf have a shareholding in the Shanghai New International Expo Centre (SNIEC), the event is now closed to exhibitors because the maximum of 500 stands have been booked, according to Michael Degen, division director at Messe Düsseldorf and ProWein director.
However, speaking to the drinks business earlier this month, Degen admitted that some had accused ProWein of being behind the competition when it comes to a Chinese wine fair, particularly considering the long history of Hong Kong based exhibitions from France’s Vinexpo.
“A number of people have said that we are too late,” he said.
However, he stressed that Hong Kong is “a completely different market”, adding that he believed that 2013 was a sensible time to bring an international wine fair to Mainland China because the market was starting to embrace a broader range of wines.
“Now is the right time for us to go to China because the Chinese consumer is only just starting to learn about the variety in the wine industry – it was focused just on French red wines,” he said.
Continuing he commented, “And the concept of ProWein is not to be dominated by one region or one nation.”
As a result, he told db that one quarter of the exhibitors at the new show, called ProWine China, would be from Germany – a similar proportion to the Düsseldorf fair.
He also noted that there was a high percentage of stand space given over to South America, particularly Argentina and Chile, which, due to their mineral wealth, have free trade agreements with China.
Unlike ProWein Düsseldorf however, visitors will not be charged to enter the Shanghia-based fair, and Degan said he expected as many as 10,000 people to come to the exhibition.
When asked about the potential for wine producers to further develop sales in Mainland China, Degan said be believed the market would take time to evolve.
“Everyone is telling the story of the high potential for wine among the Chinese middle class,” he began.
“But at the moment, they are not drinking wine regularly, and wine is seen as the best gift you can give, which is why expensive Bordeaux has been so successful,” he continued.
Nevertheless, looking ahead, he added, “Now the middle class are starting to explore new wine regions, although it’s not an explosion – there aren’t 400 million people drinking Riesling – but in the mid-term I strongly believe in the potential for wine in China.”
ProWine China will run from 13-15 November and comprise 500 exhibitors from 26 countries.