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Top wine fairs of 2014

With the New Year comes a fresh calendar of global trade shows to attend.

From London to Hong Kong via Dusseldorf, we take a tour of the key wine and spirits exhibitions of 2014.

MILLÉSIME BIO, 27-29 January 2013, Exhibition Center Montpellier, France

This year’s exhibition marks the 21st anniversary of Millésime Bio, which was set up by a group of organic winemakers in Languedoc-Roussillon. With a focus on central and southern Europe, the fair will feature some 800 organic producers from France, South Africa, the US, Germany, Austria, Chile, Egypt, Italy, Portugal, New Zealand, Switzerland, Slovenia, Bulgaria and Hungary – up from the 700 producers who exhibited last year.

A working knowledge of French is recommended for those thinking of attending talks during the fair, such as a round table organised by the French “Bio Agency” on European viticulture and lectures on the organic wine market.

New for this year will be a third exhibition hall creating an additional 60 tasting booths, along with a wine bar and the “Challenge Millésime Bio” medallists bar. Millésime Bio has also extended its opening hours until 8.30pm on Monday 27 January with an organic beer tasting taking place in the exhibition halls from 6.30pm.

VINISUD ASIA, 24-26 February, Exhibition Center Montpellier, France

Also taking place at the Montpellier Exhibition Centre this year is Vinisud, which returns to France after a year in Shanghai. Focusing on Mediterranean wines, the fair will feature exhibitors from France, Spain, Italy, Tunisia, Turkey and Morocco.

Among the masterclasses at this year’s fair are “Discovering Mediterranean Wines” presented by Paolo Basso, winner of the World’s Best Sommelier 2013 award; a look at sparkling wines from the Mediterranean; an exploration of Grenache; a focus on Corsican wines; tracking global trends in rosé wines; and “The great red wine regions of the Mediterranean.”

There will also be a presentation on the importance of wine competitions and the growing apéritif trend around the world presented by Wine Intelligence.

PROWEIN, 23-25 March, Dusseldorf

The grand daddy of wine exhibitions offering the world’s largest range of international wines and spirits celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. Over the course of three days, 4,800 exhibitors from 50 countries are expected to descend upon the fully booked fair with enlarged stands, including a new joint stand from Canada and a debut from Japanese Koshu producers, a new feature for this year.

To celebrate Koshu’s arrival in Dusseldorf, the Japanese External Trade Organisation (JETRO) is planning a varied tasting and seminar programme for the fair. Over 40,000 trade visitors from all over the world are due to flood the exhibition halls, representing a range of trades from retail, gastronomy and hotels.
The ProWein Forum in Hall 7.1 will feature an extensive supporting programme, including numerous seminars, theme-related tasting sessions, lectures and the Fizzz Lounge, which will be serving on-trend cocktails made with everything from radishes and red beets to carrots and cucumbers, along with masterclasses on cocktail trends hosted by Thomas Weinberger from the Bar School in Munich.

The full event programme for the central lecture platform will be published at the end of this month. Spread across nine exhibition halls, the Tasting Area at this year’s fair will focus on premium wines, while the “Wine’s Best Friends” stand will include aromatic foods from across the globe paired with aromatic wines. During the show, a number of restaurants and bars around the city will host wine tastings and evening events tied to the fair.

WINE & GOURMET JAPAN, 2-4 April, Tokyo Big Sight, Japan

Gathering over 600 importers, wholesalers, distributors and buyers from the world of food and drink, Wine & Gourmet Japan, the only wine and spirits networking business platform in Japan, showcases a wide range of products from fine wine and spirits to food.

Last year, some 71,157 visitors flocked to the fair from Japan, Australia, China, Singapore and the US, as well as a host of European countries.

New for this year will be an Imported Sweets Zone; the debut of ProCafé – a fair within a fair providing a platform for both manufacturers and suppliers of coffee-related products (Japan is one of the largest consumers of coffee in the world); a Japanese wine and saké pavilion and a wine label contest.

VINITALY, 6-9 April, International Exhibition Center, Verona

Another beast of an exhibition, be sure to pack a pair of comfy shoes before you fly. Once there, you can expect to see over 4,000 exhibitors in an area of 152,000 square metres at this four-day show.

Now in its 48th year, Vinitaly features a number of events, exhibitions, tastings and workshops for the 48,000 visitors who travel to Verona from more than 110 countries. The international leaning is one of the features of Vinitaly, with just 50% of visitors coming from EU countries. More than 20% of those who attend come from North America and around 24% come from the rest of Europe and Asia.

Vinitaly takes place alongside olive oil, food production and packaging fairs.

The main hall of the fair has been expanded this year to make room for a new initiative – VinInternational, set to bring together exhibitors from all over the wine world and offer a tasting area dedicated to discovering new wines from across the globe. Also new is Vinitalybio – a 1,000 square metre area created in collaboration with FederBio dedicated to certified organic and biodynamic wines from around the world.

TFWA ASIA PACIFIC, 11-15 May, Singapore

Now in its 19th year, TFWA is the world’s largest duty free and travel retail group providing the industry with high profile exhibitions, conferences, workshops and in-depth market research.

TFWA Asia Pacific enables exhibitors to meet top industry decision makers in person. Last year, some 252 exhibitors and 2,452 visitors took part in the fair. This year’s exhibition opens with a golf tournament on Sunday then turns serious with conferences and workshops taking place throughout the rest of the week.

On the entertainment front, there will be a Chill- Out Party at the Mandarin Oriental on the Tuesday night, and a Singapore Swing Party on the Wednesday night at Alkaff Mansion, which will have a roaring twenties theme.

VINEXPO ASIA-PACIFIC, 27-29 May, Hong Kong

Things are getting supersized at the 6th Vinexpo Asia-Pacific, with 50% more space for stands at this year’s fair. Stand sales are already strong, with 87% of the venue’s 15,000 square metre space already sold and a high demand expressed from non-French exhibitors.

While Vinexpo Asia-Pacific 2012 hosted 1,050 exhibitors from 28 countries, the number is expected to rise to 1,300 this year. France will be strongly represented, though the fair will welcome a large number of participants from southern Europe and the New World, along with exhibitors from the spirits sector.

The fair has a shiny new layout this year and some 18,000 visitors are expected through the doors, who will be privy to the latest news on global wine trends along with a packed programme of tastings and conferences via the Vinexpo Asia-Pacific Academy. Launched in 1998 in the nerve centre of emerging markets, Vinexpo Asia-Pacific has gained in maturity and built a significant reputation over the years.

LONDON WINE FAIR, 2-4 June, Olympia, London

London’s largest wine fair has upped sticks from ExCel to Olympia this year, and swapped its mid-May dates for early June. Going back to its West London roots, the 2014 “London Wine Fair” (the “international” tag has been dropped) promises exhibitors large and small and wines from bulk to boutique.

Already confirmed to attend are Accolade, Australian Vintage, Bibendum, De Bortoli Wines UK, Enotria, Mentzenforff and PLB. Around 15,000 trade visitors are expected to walk through the doors this year, cementing London as a vital international wine hub at the forefront of emerging drinks trends. This year, London Wine Fair organisers Brintex are partnering with the team behind London Cocktail Week to launch London Wine Week; a seven-day celebration of the capital’s thriving restaurant and bar scene. Some 10,000 participants will wear London Wine Week wristbands, which will give them access to the special offers and wine experiences taking place across the capital. The fair meanwhile, will offer a comprehensive timetable of workshops and seminars.

In line with the fair’s commitment to focus on independent merchants and the on-trade, new for 2014 will be Esoterica; a “show within the show” table-top tasting exclusively for smaller independent importers or agents who hold UK stock. “While the new venue and name are important changes, what is really core to making 2014 a success is value and relevance,” organiser Ross Carter said. The fair will launch two new areas this year designed to better reflect the current UK wine market. Bulk wine will have its own stand-alone section with bespoke branding, while a boutique wine section will cater to small UK importers. For those looking to exhibit, stand space is down 25% on the 2012 price. Another plus for exhibitors will be restaurant and bar partnerships offering corkage and dining deals to allow exhibitors to entertain guests with their own wines.

On the agenda this year will be masterclasses and industry briefings delivered by leading voices in the trade. Key industry issues will be addressed and representatives from production, logistics, importation and government will be asked to debate the subjects that are changing today’s wine trade. In addition, workshops will be introduced that address the everyday needs and issues of on-trade and independent retail professionals, with subjects ranging from effective buying, stock management, supplier relations and credit control.

The fair will also partner with Wine Intelligence to deliver a “State of the Nation” document that will provide valuable category insight into the multiple and independent retail sectors and the on-trade.

MOSCOW BAR SHOW, 23-25 September, Moscow IEC Crocus Expo

The Moscow Bar Show takes place over three days in Moscow and will be attended by 7,500 visitors, including bartenders, bar owners, restaurateurs, hoteliers, nightclub owners, sommeliers, drinks experts and distributors.

Aiming to become the Eastern European answer to similar shows taking place in London, Berlin and Amsterdam, the event showcases the latest beer, wine and spirits releases to help visitors discover new developments in premium products and services.

TFWA, 26-31 October, Palais de Festival, Cannes

Every year, the chic city of Cannes plays host to the TFWA’s flagship event, which brings together more than 450 exhibitors and nearly 6,000 visitors. Described as “a leading business forum for the duty free and travel retail environment”, the event brings together exhibitors from all over the world. Conferences and workshops are hosted by “global opinion leaders and experts from business, politics and economics”, and aim to help visitors understand the latest trends, new technology and consumer attitudes.

One of the other notable aspects of TFWA is the array of social events that take place, with the week’s social agenda crowned with Le Premium Evening on Thursday night featuring a range of live performances from international artists.

Last year, 6,303 delegates involved in the global travel retail industry attended the show to do business with its 470 exhibitors and listen to keynote speeches from Olympic gold medallist Lord Sebastian Coe and British Airways’ CEO, Willie Walsh.

HKTDC INTERNATIONAL WINE & SPIRITS FAIR, 6-8 November, Hong Kong Exhibition and Conference Center, Hong Kong

Asia’s biggest wine event offers a wide range of products and exhibitors for visitors. The exhibition covers everything from fine wine, Champagne, spirits and beer to Koshu, soju, yellow wine and saké. Visitors can also see exhibitors representing bottling, packaging, labelling and tourism as well as accessories, equipment and investment.

This year marks the 7th edition of the fair, which attracted 1,005 exhibitors from 40 countries last year with attendance from Asian buyers up by 15%. Spain was the partner country for the 2013 fair, providing a networking platform for over 90 Spanish wine and spirit exhibitors.

Over 70 events took place during the four-day fair, including masterclasses, cocktail demonstrations and fine wine tastings.

Expect more of the same this year.

SHANGHAI INTERNATIONAL WINE & SPIRITS EXPO 2014, 4-6 December, Shanghai New International Expo Centre

This exhibition, which brings together domestic and overseas drinks industry manufacturers, distributors and retailers celebrates its 13th year in 2014. Dedicated to trade and spread across 50,000 square metres, exhibitors include major players Diageo, Pernod Ricard and United Spirits, along with many more.

The expo features seminars on importing, bonded warehousing, tax issues, marketing analysis, and logistics.

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