Vinexpo-Comexposium JV will ‘challenge German supremacy’

Speaking exclusively to db yesterday, Vinexpo CEO Rodolphe Lameyse said that the Vinexpo-Comexposium JV announced on Wednesday would “challenge German supremacy”, referring of course to ProWein.

Vinexpo CEO Rodolphe Lameyse

While stressing during the interview that he “was not against ProWein”, commenting that the German-owned show organiser “was doing a fantastic job” with its annual fair in Dusseldorf, he also said that it was strange that France, which is so famous for its wine and spirits production, should not be the leading host country for an alcoholic drinks trade fair and global exhibition business for the sector.

Since Lameyse took up the post of CEO at Vinexpo nine months ago, he told db that he had been “working very closely with Wine Paris and the Comexposium management on how to build a French company that will become a worldwide leader, and will challenge German supremacy.”

Continuing he said, “When you consider that France is one of the most important wine countries in the world, it was an anomaly not to have a great wine show,” adding that it was Vinexpo, historically with its Bordeaux fair, “that used to be the big brand”, inferring that today such a position was held by ProWein (which now has shows in Hong Kong and Shanghai, along with its flagship fair in Germany).

Lameyse also admitted to db that on choosing to join Vinexpo as CEO in April 2019, his professional acquaintances had questioned his decision, commenting that the brand was seen as somewhat outmoded.

“They were saying, ‘why go to Vinexpo?’ Because it is a fantastic old lady, but it probably doesn’t have so much of a future,” he said.

“I convinced them that it was not about Vinexpo, but its ability to adapt and have a clear strategy,” he added.

And it is this element that Lameyse has focused on, explaining his decision to agree a tie-up with Comexposium for the Wine Paris show on 10-11 February, and from yesterday, news of a partnership that sees the two fair organisers take an equal share of a joint venture entity to manage wine and spirit exhibitions around the world, above all France, Spain and Asia.

While the JV is expected to strengthen existing shows from both companies, with a fresh three-tier approach to the market – addressing segments from bulk to standard to premium – it is also hoped that the partnership will help open up new markets for alcoholic drinks producers.

Acknowledging that expansion is likely from the new entity – which will be finalised by the summer this year, when it will also be given an official name – Lameyse said, “Yes it means new shows and new markets”.

Continuing he said, “We have the means now, Comexposium is based in 22 countries, so we can leverage on the means of Comexposium in the future, for example with shows in the USA or India.”

Nevertheless, he said that such decisions would be based on the needs of the drinks industry.

“Our future development is not just about us, but the expectations of our clients,” he commented.

It was announced on Wednesday this week that Wine Paris founder Comexposium and Vinexpo Holding are to create “a new joint venture entity” that should be complete by summer this year.

In a press release sent to db, it was stated that the two events organisers would join forces to become “the world’s leading organiser of events dedicated to wines and spirits, with annual figures of over 78,000 visitors from 140 countries and 5,900 exhibitors.”

The new entity will see each business have an equal stake, and together host 10 events: Wine Paris (Vinisud/Vinovision Paris), World Wine Meetings and World Bulk Wine Exhibition (Amsterdam and Asia) from Comexposium; Vinexpo (Bordeaux, Paris, Hong Kong, Shanghai and New York) as well as the Vinexpo Explorer events from Vinexpo Holding.

It was also stated, “The new business will look to create new events and developments to support the international growth of the wine and spirits industry.”

The JV follows the decision in May last year by two companies to work together for an upcoming Paris-based wines and spirits event, which takes place from 10-12 February, and sees the first ever Vinexpo Paris.

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