Last week was Vinisud, down in sunny Montpellier, a vibrant and dynamic event that has done much to promote the wines of the south of France, and this week sees the birth of another wine trade show: Bordeaux Vinipro.
And may I say a very Lesley Phillips-esque “Hellooo!” to this new arrival. We all know the two big Bordeaux salons, Vinexpo for the sales side and Vinitech for the production side, both of which are very internationally oriented. But Bordeaux Vinipro offers something different, and something which I for one am very happy to welcome.
The salon bills itself as a “rendez-vous with the new generation of wines from Bordeaux and south-west France”, and although I am obviously biased in this respect I reckon the region – if you include everything from Cognac in the Charente down to Jurançon in the foothills of the Pyrenees – deserves to be showcased outside the broader context of Vinexpo. So this is a bit like Vinisud, really.
I must admit that when I visited I was really on the lookout for interesting wines to work with from producers outside the Bordeaux region, but I found that, for this first edition at least, the vast majority of exhibitors were locals. I was hoping to spot some talent from lesser-known appellations like Madiran, Buzet or Cahors, and I did come away very impressed by the wines of a tiny producer in the Côtes de Duras named Clos des Figuiers, offering a red and a white from 100% merlot and sauvignon blanc respectively.
The white is a particular revelation, savoury, mineral and complex, although the wines are produced in tiny quantities from just 2.5ha.
By far the majority of producers taking part were from the Bordeaux region, though, with just a smattering of wines from Bergerac, Duras, and not much else.
That in itself was not a bad thing, as it gave me the chance to encounter a few more of the bordelais that I did not yet know, and it’s always hard to encourage people to take part in a new trade show, especially if they have to cover travel and accommodation into the bargain.
What was very positive, I felt, was the number of foreign visitors who must have made quite a commitment to attend, with a lot of English spoken and a good number of Dutch and Germans present too. And the overwhelming difference from Vinexpo, partly due to the much smaller scale, was the relaxed atmosphere while business was being transacted. I even saw the director of one second growth château playing table football with some prospects!
So here’s to Bordeaux Vinipro, to the wines of the south-west which have so much more to offer than just claret, and let’s see if this salon can do for them what Vinisud has done for the Languedoc-Roussillon etc. Maybe next year, we might see you here?