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Wine Paris extends international reach

Published:  15 February, 2024

Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris has reported a bumper show this year, with both exhibitor and visitor numbers up, including the international element.

The fifth iteration of the three-day event, which wrapped up on 14 February, saw exhibitor numbers rising to 4,074, against 3,400 in 2023, with visitor numbers up by 14% to 41,253.

The show also appeared to be delivering on its ambition to grow its international appeal and challenge rival event Prowein’s reach. Some 53% of exhibitors at Wine Paris were non-French, representing 48 wine and spirit producing countries, while 41% of visitors were drawn from 137 ‘overseas’ countries.

At the 2023 event, CEO Rodolphe Lameyse told Harpers that his future aim was to realise a 60:40 balance between France and international exhibitors and visitors – a balance that was hit according to the attendance figures from the first day of the show.

The organisers said that the 2024 show delivered a “30% rise in attendance by the main buyers from key markets”, with the top five nations present beyond France being Italy, Belgium, the UK, the US and Germany, respectively.

Amid the throng of the event, Lameyse told Harpers: “International visitor-ship is more than expected,” citing queues for left luggage as a fixable sign of higher than expected direct arrivals from overseas.

Describing his approach as ‘bullish’, Lameyse added: “Where we are today is exactly where I wanted [the show] to be.

He went on to outline the importance of both the content and the more political role that a show like Wine Paris can play on behalf of the trade.

“It’s all about what we can bring to the industry in general. It is important that the content is high end, quality, and relevant in the topics we address.

Harpers hosted one of those key sessions, Doing Business with Brexit Britain, which brought together a UK cross-trade panel to explain how best to navigate the current challenges faced by those selling into the UK market (a recording of which will be made available by Wine Paris).

Lameyse continued: “Where I also think we are very important is on the lobby side – business is one thing, but business only exists if the conditions are there for this to happen.”

Issues highlighted included climate change, encouraging “enough young blood” to participate in the show and the industry more generally, and the need “to encourage people to drink more wine” in a declining market.

“We are all facing pressure from organisations like the World Health Organisation, saying – and I’m exaggerating – we are like drug dealers for having a sip of wine, so it’s about understanding moderation and what is the wine industry, what is the spirits industry, and we are working on that in the background.”

Speaking more generally about the issues facing the trade, he added: “Behind the scenes I am working with various people in order to ensure they have an understanding of the situation in front of us, so we can think about a positive answer.”

Another addition to this year’s Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris was the V d’Or Awards, encompassing economic performance, social and environmental responsibility across the drinks industry, with entries judged by a panel of international professionals, which took the form of a gala dinner ahead of the show.

Again, an international flavour was evident, with UK companies including When in Rome and Mallard Point picking up awards, while Jancis Robinson OBE MW was given a lifetime achievement award.