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Vinexpo to host first ever consumer event

Vinexpo has unveiled plans to host a consumer event in New York City with a US$180 ticket price.

The Rendez-Vous by Vinexpo logo

The new exhibition, dubbed Rendez-Vous by Vinexpo, is hoping to attract 6,000 visitors over three days from 16-18 November, just ahead of North America’s major public holiday, Thanksgiving.

Speaking at a press briefing in London yesterday, Robert Beynat, chief executive of the exhibition organiser said he had “decided to diversify the activity of the company”, which has traditionally organised events for the trade in Bordeaux, as well as Hong Kong, Tokyo, New York and Chicago.

The upcoming event, he explained, was in response to a desire from Vinexpo exhibitors to “invest in building direct relations with consumers”, as well as tap into the growing US market, which he declared, is now the world’s biggest by volume, having reached 311.3 million 9-litre cases in 2011.

The inaugural Rendez-Vous will be held in Manhattan’s Javits Convention Centre, and Beynat said he had chosen New York over other North American cities because, “There are 25 million inhabitants within one hour’s travelling time [from the centre], plus 50 million tourists, which is enough to find 5-6,000 people”.

He also said, “And we have a lot of friends in New York.”

Indeed, not only was the Vinexpo Americas trade exhibition held in the Javits centre in October 2002, but Rendez-Vous is being planned in partnership with Marvin Shanken, publisher of The Wine Spectator, and organiser of the New York Wine Experience.

Beynat explained that Shanken was a longstanding friend and that he had expressed interest in Vinexpo’s plans for a consumer event in the US.

As a result, Beynat said that Shanken will have a 10% shareholding of a new company, which will be formed in March for the upcoming show.

A further 10% will be held, he said, by the New York Chocolate Show, while Constellation, Kendall Jackson and Kobrand will each hold 5% of the business, leaving Vinexpo with a 65% shareholding.

Explaining the decision to partner with The Chocolate Show, Beynat said it would bring expertise in organising consumer events as it holds exhibitions in 17 different cities worldwide each year. He also pointed out that the show is owned by a French company.

As for ticket prices to Rendez-Vous, Beynat admitted that a one-day pass to the event will be sold for $180, and entry to masterclasses during the three-day exhibition would cost $300.

This, he said, was less than half the price of tickets to Shanken’s New York Wine Experience.

Stands at Rendez-Vous will cost upwards of $6,000, and Beynat promised the event would host 150 exhibitors, with 50% of the space devoted to producers from France.

Referring to the longterm outlook for Vinexpo’s new event business, Beynat said he would consider Rendez-Vous exhibitions in other cities, mentioning Tokyo and London as possibilities, but ruling out Paris and Bordeaux.

Click here to watch our video interview with Robert Beynat


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