ProWein and Vinitaly to go ahead despite threat of coronavirus

Two of the wine industry’s biggest trade fairs – ProWein in Dusseldorf and Vinitaly in Verona – are both due to go ahead in March and April respectively, despite a growing number of cases of coronavirus being detected in Germany and Italy.

Representatives from both trade fairs confirmed that the show must go on despite growing concerns about the coronavirus outbreak in Europe. Giovanni Mantovani, CEO of Veronafiere, confirmed that this year’s Vinitaly event was still due to take place from 19-22 April.

He said that decision to go ahead with the show had been made in collaboration with the president of the Veneto region, Luca Zaia, and the mayor of Verona, Federico Sboarina.

“The world of Italian wine has already provided positive signs of change in the past. Veronafiere is convinced that, even on this occasion, the sector will contribute to the recovery of our economy and revive a climate of trust in the country,” Mantovani said.

Vinitaly is due to take place in April despite a coronavirus outbreak in the country

“We are well aware of the current difficulties and the distorted image of Italy perceived abroad, yet we are convinced that the emergency will be brought under control so that we can duly organise the event representing the driving force for Italian wine in the world,” he added.

While due to go ahead at this stage, the show’s organisers are “keeping a close eye on developments”.

It’s a similar story for ProWein, which is due to take place in a matter of weeks. Yesterday, the show’s organiser, Messe Dusseldorf, confirmed to Just Drinks that “at this stage” ProWein is due to go ahead from 15-17 March, but that it was “closely monitoring events surrounding the outbreak”.

According to Just Drinks, so far no exhibitors have cancelled their stands at the show, and Messe Dusseldorf has received no calls from members of the trade to cancel the event.

“At this stage there is no plan to cancel, postpone or shorten ProWein, but we take the concerns of our customers, guests and partners regarding the coronavirus very seriously. Their safety is always our top priority,” a spokesperson for Messe Dusseldorf told Just Drinks.

60,000 people from 140 countries are due to attend this year’s show, which has grown to become the largest wine and spirits trade show in the world.

The spread of the coronavirus from China to Europe has already led to the cancellation of a number of trade shows. ProWine Asia, which was due to be held in Singapore in early April, has been postponed until July.

So far there have been 83,733 cases of coronavirus detected in nearly 50 countries, and 2,859 reported deaths. Italy is the European country to have been worst affected by the virus, with 655 cases and 17 deaths.

There have been 49 cases detected in Germany and no deaths. The head of the World Health Organisation, Tedros Ghebreyesus, said today that the virus has “pandemic potential”, and urged governments to act swiftly to contain it.

A total of 11 towns in northern Italy have been quarantined until 6 March. Food supplies and medicine are allowed into the towns in Lombardy, but no one is allowed to visit the areas and residents have been told to stay indoors.

19 Responses to “ProWein and Vinitaly to go ahead despite threat of coronavirus”

  1. Tony Viconte says:

    This is madness!



  2. Peter Peck says:

    I don’t quite agree with Messe Dusseldorf’s statement about no cancellations from the industry. We received notification today that both Tesco and Waitrose will pull out of Prowein – two major retailers. The buying trade is just as important as the exhibitors trying to sell their wine and I regard that as cancellations. If you focus your research on non-refundable show costs from Messe Dusseldorf, you may come closer to the reason why there have not been cancellations according to them. They should do the humane thing and postpone or cancel Prowein. Money must not rule the decision making when it comes to people’s health..

    • Inge Cramm says:

      Ich gehe konform mit Ihnen, hier wird gelogen. Auch ich habe mint Nichtteilnahme geantwortet, Und habe auch die Veranstalter angeschrieben. Ich unterstütze jeden meiner Erzeuger, deren Produkte ich handle, wenn sie nicht auf diese Messen gehen. Leider ist unsere Politik wieder mal gut vorbereitet, keine Hände schütteln und waschen,ob da rot und schwarz rausgeht ?
      Es ist eine Schande, was hier wegen des Zasters gespielt wird.

  3. Ho Lee Fook says:

    60,000 visitors to Prowein from all over the world (including hotspots) spitting wine all day, client dinners, commuting on packed trams… what could go wrong?!

  4. Andrew Markest says:

    Well done Prowein, it sounds really smart to risk spreading the virus to 140 different countries over a commercial event! Cancell the event already you idiots!!

  5. I have spoken to five Suppliers who are exhibitors going to Prowein. Some are considering cancelling, the loss of the booth fee is the only reason that they haven’t. Most of them have told me that some of their customers have cancelled their trips, specific examples include buyers from Norway and China. A delegation of Sommeliers from China have also cancelled. The organization which represents all of the wineries in the Lebanon have written to the organizers of Prowein to ask them to cancel or postpone. Two exhibitors have told me that they might check into an hotel for two weeks after the show to make sure that they don’t take any infection back to their families. One exhibitor told me that he thinks that I should cancel my plans of going. He didn’t think I should risk it because if I came back to my office and infected the other employees, our business would suffer which would damage the Supplier’s business. Personally, I made the decision yesterday that I won’t go. I have told my employees that they should cancel too. I think it is just too risky. With 50,000 people going from every country in the world that drinks or makes wine, the risk is too high.

  6. Shelley H says:

    Coudn’t agree more to the comments above. These are wine fairs where people are tasting wines (and spitting as commented above) in a very close proximity, holding the same bottles, door handles, extremely crowded food halls, using the same food trays, etc. All it takes is one person to bring it into the halls and it can spread like wildfire. Shouldn’t you be concerned about the health of your guests and what could stem from this? Major quarantines in each of the prospective cities. Always better to be safe than sorry and to not have this on your hands later for “letting the show go on.” Take advice from the Ministry of Health how is encouraging the cancellation of the ITB in Berlin. Also not to mention Switzerland’s cancellations of large public events, Facebooks F8 conference, etc.

  7. Neil Bruce says:

    Give it time? Both fairs might change their minds, or be forced to.
    This week I was forced to un-invite all our Italian suppliers from our (far more humble but nonetheless important – at least to us!) 2020 portfolio launch/trade tasting at Parcel Yard on March 10 (10am-5pm). We will be showcasing about 170 wines that we source, sniff, select and buy from around the world – including from Italy!
    Forza Italia.
    Siamo con voi (ma anche il resto del mondo)

  8. Gert A says:

    The fair which takes place a week before in the same buildings has been cancelled

    METAV 2020 wird wegen des Coronavirus verschoben

    Die METAV 2020 wird verschoben. Grund ist laut VDW der Coronavirus. Noch steht der neue Termin für die Messe für Technologien der Metallbearbeitung nicht statt.

  9. Luis Mario says:

    It makes me truly ashamed after 20 years in the wine trade to see that big egos and greed dominate reality over loved ones healths’ back home or even their own buyers’ health!
    When the auto industry is more pragmatic
    When Saudi Arabia looks beyond religion for the good of its people:
    If Prowein goes ahead with this it will not only be a public shame but they’ll have blood on their hands!

  10. Simone S. says:

    I don’t think the decision to continue with Prowein will stand. Today the German government decided to cancel the Tourism Fair in Berlin, so it’s just a matter of time (days) before that expands.

  11. Christine N says:

    PROWEIN fair seems more concern with its turnover than the health of thousands of visitors and exhibitors
    Thousand of people confined 50 km to Düsseldorf

  12. PATELLI says:

    The Messe (exhibition) companies are messing with us. The event is a breeding ground for getting sick, you walk in one hall go our and then walk into another hall. It is quite common to get a cold from this event so people will be walking around with sniffles all day long shaking hands and hugging old friends and suppliers they meet once a yeat !!

    THE ITB event (Tourism) due in Berlin next week just cancelled last night and they have over 5000 journalists of which over 1500 come from abroad, 11,000 exhibitors and over 100,000 visitors of which a large proportion are from abroad as its an international event. The first time it has been cancelled in over 50 years.


  13. Il Cane Pazzo says:

    The Prowein organisation and esspecially the Vinitaly organisation (see quote below) are mad to let an event like this take place at a time like this.

    (“He said that decision to go ahead with the show had been made in collaboration with the president of the Veneto region, Luca Zaia, and the mayor of Verona, Federico Sboarina. “The world of Italian wine has already provided positive signs of change in the past. Veronafiere is convinced that, even on this occasion, the sector will contribute to the recovery of our economy and revive a climate of trust in the country,” Mantovani said.)

    What ignorance and selfishness.

    Alle vittime, siamo con voi.
    (ben detto Neil Bruce)

  14. Gheorghiu Șerban says:

    The guys from Prowein must be crazy.
    It is bloody dangerous. How they will sterilize the used glasses?
    Not to say about the fact that China and Italy will be there.
    Omg. Should be canceled or postponed.

  15. It is official, as of Saturday, Prowein has been cancelled. It will be held at a later date, I’m told. It appears that Vin Italy will be cancelled too.

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