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Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris, the first major trade show for two years, comes to a successful end

Following a “rollercoaster of emotions over the last eight weeks”, Vinexposium group CEO Rodolphe Lameyse has hailed Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris a great success “despite the fears” of both clients and partners.

first major trade show in two years comes to successful end with Vinexpo Paris

Dates for the Paris event, the first large-scale trade show to take place since the beginning of the pandemic, were announced last October, during a time when there was “no whisper” of the Omicron variant, Lameyse told db.

By Christmas the narrative had shifted, and a month prior to the show in January 2022 Lameyse and his team were looking to the UK to predict how the latest Coronavirus wave would affect France.

“In uk there were no longer any sanitary measures and the borders reopened,” leading Lameyse to retain the show’s original dates, despite “a couple of clients calling me and questioning my sanity,” he said.

Discussions with government also influenced the decision, but the Vinexposium CEO remained confident that the French presidential election set for 2022 would allow some negotiating power, with  “restriction measures an unpopular strain on the economy.”

The turning point came just ten days prior to the event, when Lameyse began hearing of key buyers arranging meetings with exhibitors.

With a third (31%) of visitors attending from overseas, “the margin of error looked to be very thick,” the show organiser commented.

Belgium is the biggest market represented at the fair behind France, followed by the UK.

For Lameyse, As the first big international show of 2022, a successful end to Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris would act as a green light for the industry.

“Prowein was always in the back of our heads,” he said, commenting that he had remained confident that the Dusseldorf show would be postponed. However, Lameyse also recognised the need to work alongside other big players. “it is important to be fierce with the competition, but to be fair,” he said.

International pressure for the show’s success remained, as hopes mounted to “once and for all, turn the page on Covid”. He added: “The idea is to create unity and make sure the whole industry is behind us.”

Wine and spirits remain France’s second largest export after the aerospace sector. Last year saw French wine and spirits exports hit a new record of €15.5 billion (£12.99 billion), up 28% on 2020 and 11% above 2019, the Federation of French Wine and Spirits Exporters (FEVS) said on Tuesday.

Sales abroad of wine and spirits also rose in volume, reaching 203 million cases of 12 bottles, up 11% from 2020, according to Reuters.

Trade shows like Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris remain essential to stimulating international trade.

Lameyse noted there are “several ways of measuring success”, linking the sign of a good show to the number of other countries and regions “knocking on the door” and hoping to exhibit.

The pandemic also brought about the development ofthe Paris show’s technological offering. As Lameyse put it, Coronavirus forced show organisers to ask: “are we just going to be physical?”

Using connect, Vinexposium is able cover the whole wine and spirits industry year round, with exhibitions acting as in-person live events happening alongside.

Connect is a “long term approach” which generated more in person meetings to take place during the fair, according to Lameyse.

RTD and spirit sales have grown as a result of the pandemic. Reflecting this upward trend, Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris’ spirits offering, Be Spirits, grew by 50% between 2020 and 2022.

Lameyse announced plans to develop a separate show in France dedicated to spirits after one more year of the same level of growth, driven by younger brand owners with a “different mindset” and “different showcase”.

Looking back to the Paris exhibition’s development over the last few months, Lameyse commented: “We did what had to be done” in putting on a show.

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