Interview: new Vinexpo CEO Rodolphe Lameyse

In his first interview since taking over at Vinexpo, CEO Rodolphe Lameyse talks to Arabella Mileham about the importance of climate change, attracting an international clientele, and why Vinexpo Bordeaux is so successful

Rodolphe Lameyse, directeur général de Vinexpo, Bordeaux

Vinexpo Bordeaux is back with a bang this month, celebrating its 40th year and its 20th edition in a revamped venue and with a new CEO at the helm. Rodolphe Lameyse only joined the team last month, a year after the departure of his predecessor, Guillaume Deglise, but he is certainly looking forward to the challenges of the job.

As Lameyse points out, his appointment marks a change in direction, as he not only comes from outside of the wine business – he has a background in exhibitions – but also from outside France. He joins the team from Singapore, where he managed Asia’s largest trade show dedicated to the food, beverage and hotel equipment industry, the Food & Hotel Asia portfolio, for the Informa group.

“I have spent six years in Asia, so I hope I can bring different angles to the company on how to expand and how to deliver the international shows,” Lameyse tells the drinks business in his first press interview as the new CEO.

“Bordeaux is the first show, then soon afterwards Shanghai, Paris, Hong Kong, New York then Vinexpo Explorer in September, so there are lots of events going forward, and that’s where I can bring my expertise.”

However, despite the continuing development and expansion of the brand internationally, Vinexpo Bordeaux remains key to the Group’s DNA, according to Lameyse. He says the personality of the show is closely bound up with the historic city, the surrounding region, and the strong ties it has with local partners.

As a result of these factors, Vinexpo is the first to benefit from the considerable investment in the Parc des Expositions, including the €34.7 million (£29.9m) project revamping Hall 2 inside the venue, that was accelerated by Bordeaux Metropole and the Regional Council of Nouvelle-Aquitaine.

It is a great honour for Vinexpo to be the first to use the new Hall, Lameyse says, and testament to the close working relationship Vinexpo has established with the city and with the Bordelais. The investment will also make a big difference in terms of quality and experience for exhibitors and visitors, he says, having introduced a new reception area and more than 14,000m2 of exhibition space.

“We will be the first to use it in Bordeaux, which is a big privilege so we’re really looking forward to it.” According to Lamayse, the city of Bordeaux remains at the heart of Vinexpo, and not just as a backdrop.

“Any visitor coming to Bordeaux will be amazed by the harmony between the city, the region and the show. It’s not just a visual thing, but true in terms of transportation, with the Citypass, which enables you to travel within the city for free, and the hospitality professionals and different hotels in the city – all have their heart beating at Vinexpo. So you’re not only going to a show, but to experience the art of living and the art of doing business at Vinexpo, and really experiencing the Bordeaux area,” Lameyse says.

This year’s show will cover 70,000m2 of exhibition space, which the organisers say makes it the largest international wine and spirits trade show in France. But the fair has also been designed to be “more manageable ” than ever before, with bookable business meetings, and trend-driven content.

Other improvements that have been made this year include a new reception and information areas at Bordeaux-Merignac airport and Bordeaux Gare Saint-Jean railway station, to help smooth visitors’ arrival in the city.

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