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Vinexpo chief plays down absences

Robert Beynat, chief executive of Vinexpo, has dismissed concerns about the absence of several major players at this year’s fair.

Although Constellation and Gallo, not to mention the bulk of Australia and New Zealand, left noticeable gaps in the 2009 line-up, Beynat maintains that Vinexpo remains on good terms with the world’s key producers.

"We have a very good relationship with Gallo and Constellation," he said. "Just after the financial crisis hit, the two companies’ highest management called to say they had decided to stop expansion through trade fairs for the moment, but they asked to keep their booth for 2011."

Highlighting the other side of this coin, Beynat added: "Kendall Jackson were not here two years ago and they have now come back." Of the 48 countries represented at this year’s Vinexpo, Beynat highlighted the new addition of countries including Egypt, Brazil and Belarus.

While the final figures for attendance this year are not yet established, Beynat revealed: "After two days, our visitors are in exactly the same numbers as two years ago."

Moreover, he noted that while the show usually welcomes a representation from non-French visitors of 30%, so far this figure stands at 40%, suggesting that Vinexpo is attracting a more international crowd than ever before.

Naturally, Beynat remains confident of the fair’s ability to remain ahead of the competition: "We were, we are and we will be leaders," he asserted, adding: "In times of crisis, people will decide to come to just one fair and we are the main meeting point for the trade in the world."

Although confirming that the Bordeaux incarnation of Vinexpo remains the "only regular programme", Beynat is particularly positive about last year’s Vinexpo Asia-Pacific in Hong Kong, which is due to be repeated in 2010. He denied this shows any weakness in the core Vinexpo formula, explaining: "These markets are very dynamic and so far away. There are now 8000 people in the Hong Kong trade and they can’t all come to Bordeaux."

Gabriel Savage, 24.06.2009 

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