Vinexpo New York sees early jump in participants

With two months to go before its opening on 2 March, the third annual Vinexpo New York trade fair is running well ahead of its 2019 early registration figures.

“Vinexpo New York provides a captive audience for wine producers around the world who want to do business in the U.S.,” show director, Beckie Kier, told the drinks business.

Kier revealed that the number of pre-registered attendees is running “50% ahead of last year, and our ‘Key Buyers’ group already has 97 people signed up.” The Key Buyers group is formed of those people identified by Vinexpo as major decision makers in the US wine buying community.

Members are given VIP privileges during the two-day event, including and a special lounge and other perks at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, where the show is being staged.

“We will continue to sell exhibition space right up until the show,” Kier said, but indicated that already exhibitors have signed up from 23 countries, with a strong showing of participation from Eastern European producers. Some, such as Czech Republic, will have their own pavilions.

Last year the show attracted over 400 exhibitors from 26 countries, and 3,000 wine and spirits professionals – including a mix of importers, distributors, wholesalers, buyers and e-commerce specialists from over 40 US states and seven Canadian provinces.

“A key new feature for this year is a special pavilion for major US-based importers,” Kier said, “and we already have 12 committed to participate.”

In addition to the exhibitors, Vinexpo New York has scheduled eight masterclasses and six conferences over the two-day period.

The one black cloud on the horizon is US wine tariffs, some already in place and others threatened, although Kier says thus far she has received no tariff-related cancellations by exhibitors. “U.S. consumers tend to drink the wines we like, and we like our French wines,” she said.

The Trump administration already has in place import tariffs of 25% on most French, Spanish, German and UK still wines, but indicates it may impose 100% tariffs on those wines as well as Champagne and Italian wines, in retaliation for illegal Airbus state subsidies.

One bright spot for attendees is the opening this year of the Hudson Yards complex of restaurants and shops adjacent to the Javits Center, which had previously occupied a wasteland of diversions for Javits visitors.

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