Vinexpo HK plans networking party

Vinexpo Asia-Pacific is to host an evening event in Hong Kong’s city centre to increase the networking opportunities for its exhibitors.


Vinexpo will host an evening networking event during its Hong Kong fair

According to the fair organiser’s new CEO, Guillaume Deglise, an after-show party will give members of the trade the chance to mix with their peers in the industry.

While acknowledging that many events will already be taking place during the fair – which takes place on 27-29 May – Deglise told db that it’s generally the same core of guests that get invited to such soirées, leaving others without the chance to network and socialise.

“We don’t want some exhibitors to be left alone without the chance to continue the Vinexpo experience in the city, so I thought it was important to run an event ourselves.”

He also said, “Most events at Vinexpo tend to be quite formal, but we don’t want ours to be too formal,” noting that he will probably limit the party to 500 people.

Deglise added that Vinexpo would also run a similar event during its Bordeaux fair next year.

As reported earlier this week, Deglise also announced that this May’s Vinexpo in Hong Kong will feature a dedicated spirits zone with a bar for mixology demonstrations to capitalise on the growth in spirits sales in Asia.

“Spirits consumption is growing and we need to have more spirits and give more activities around spirits,” he said.

Looking back over his few months so far as CEO, Deglise admitted to db that it’s been far from a gentle start. “I’ve already had to make lots of decisions which I didn’t think would be necessary quite so quickly.”

One of these was the cancellation of Vinexpo’s first ever exhibition in Mainland China.

As previously reported by db, this was due to be held at the Beijing Convention Centre immediately after this May’s Hong Kong fair, and similar to other Vinexpo exhibitions, the Beijing event was for wine and spirits producers from around the world, and hoped to attract 200 exhibitors.

However, it was announced at a Vinexpo media briefing in Hong Kong last October that Vinexpo Beijing would not be going ahead.

Guillaume Deglise

Guillaume Deglise took on the role of Vinexpo CEO in September 2013

Speaking to db this week, Deglise stressed that the exhibition was not cancelled, but “postponed”.

“We still believe there is a strong potential for our industry in the north of China, and it’s interesting, not only as a market, but also as a producing place – most of the winemaking regions in China are closer to Beijing than other cities,” he said.

As for the decision not to hold a fair on the Mainland this year, Deglise said that his customers, the exhibitors, were worried about the timing. “There has been a slight decline in wine imports to China because of an overstocking problem and so our customers said it could be risky to come to Beijing.”

A further reason was the fact many Vinexpo exhibitors had already committed to two fairs from the show organiser in 2014. Not only is Vinexpo holding the Asia-Pacific event – which is 50% bigger this year having taken a second floor of the Hong Kong Convention Centre – but also an exhibition in Japan.

The latter, called Vinexpo Nippon, will take place over two days from 1-2 November in the Prince Park Tower in Tokyo.

Unlike other Vinexpo exhibitions, this fair is smaller and targeted specifically at the on-trade, with space reserved for 400 exhibitors to meet an expected 3,000 sommeliers and bar and restaurant wine buyers.

Marking a move by Vinexpo into the organisation of a specialist business to business fair, Deglise said it has been engineered to take advantage of the vibrant and sophisticated restaurant sector in Tokyo.

“Tokyo has more Michelin-starred restaurants than London, Paris or New York,” he recorded.

Japan was also home to Vinexpo’s first foray into Asia with fairs in Tokyo in 2000 and 2002, before the organiser moved its major Asian event to Hong Kong, and, said Deglise, “The Japanese trade was sad when we left Tokyo and we’ve listened to them, and gone back with a different format – this will be a local, not a regional exhibition.”

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