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Vinexpo brings wine buyers to Vienna

Vinexpo has brought almost 100 wine buyers to Vienna as the fair organiser opens the doors to its latest initiative today.

The inaugural Vinexpo Explorer began today with a conference at the Orangerie In Vienna’s Schloss Schönbrunn. Picture credit: Anna Stöcher

Called Vinexpo Explorer, as previously reported by the drinks business, the new event is designed to immerse leading buyers in the winemaking and culture of an up-and-coming wine region or country.

Speaking this morning at the opening ceremony of the inaugural Vinexpo Explorer at the Orangerie in Vienna’s Schloss Schönbrunn, Vinexpo’s chief executive officer Guillaume Deglise stressed that the fair organiser’s job was to facilitate trade between the host country and the rest of the world.

He also said that he wanted to build “a community of buyers” with the Vinexpo Explorer concept, which will be held annually in a different location.

Speaking exclusively to the drinks business after the opening conference, Deglise said that he had chosen the Austrian capital for the first ever Vinexpo Explorer because it was a relatively undiscovered area of wine production, and because it was accessible.

Guillaume Deglise (left) and Willi Klinger introduced the first ever Vinexpo Explorer in Vienna today. Picture credit: Anna Stöcher

“I don’t want to go to the big regions where everybody has already been… it is better to go to a region with a need for exports, a place with potential, and a region that is a place of discovery for buyers,” he said, adding that “a lot of regions correspond to this, but Vienna [and its surrounding wine-producing areas] also benefits from the fact it is near an international airport.”

Although Vienna is already host to an annual wine fair, Vie Vinum, which takes place in June, Deglise said that the event tended to attract people who were already buyers of Austrian wine, and mainly wine trade figures from the domestic country, or Germany, which is Austrian wine’s largest export market by a significant margin.

“Or aim is to bring new potential buyers of Austrian wine, and a truly international audience,” he said, pointing out that this was made possible through Vinexpo’s global buyer network, which has been built up through decades of trade fairs in France and Asia.

Deglise also said that he had approached Willi Klinger, head of the Austrian Wine Marketing Board, to support the first Vinexpo Explorer, because Vienna “is the only capital city in Europe with vineyards”.

Deglise then recorded that he had no difficulty persuading Klinger to support the concept, with the managing director of the AWMB apparently telling Deglise immediatly that he wanted to be the first host-country for the new Vinexpo concept.

Klinger later joked that he had no choice when invited by the Bordeaux-based fair organiser to be the inaugural host for the initiative. “When the French call, you have to obey”, he quipped.

Vinexpo Explorer: the facts

• 90 buyers have descended on Vienna from 31 countries
• 46 of these are from Asia-Pacific, with 10 from Mainland China alone
• 28 are from Europe, with the rest from North and South America
• 22 of the visitors are CEOs or presidents of their companies
• 5 are sommeliers
• 4 are supermarket buyers
• 57 are importers.
• 10 are in e-comerce
• According to Guillaume Deglise, 34 of the buyers at Vinexpo Explorer already have Austrian wines in their portfolio and 36 don’t
• 36 said they have a good knowledge of Austrian wine, and 34 say they don’t
• 41 are looking for sweet wines
• 36 are looking for sparkling wines
• 31 are millennials – so they were born after 1980

Vinexpo Explorer is a two-day event in Vienna from 11-12 September.

The programme includes seminars, vineyard visits and tastings, including a major blind comparative tasting pitching Austrian wines against benchmarks from around the world.

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