Unmissable spirits exhibitors at Vinexpo Bordeaux

Bordeaux is the setting for this year’s Vinexpo event, and as well as a focus on wine, the world of spirits is of growing importance to the fair.

Bordeaux will become the buzzing hub of the international drinks trade when Vinexpo returns to host its flagship event this month. From 13-16 May, the fair will welcome an expected 1,600 exhibitors from 30 countries and fill 70,000 square metres of the Bordeaux Exhibition Centre. Spirit brands will occupy 10% of the space and represent a growing focus for Vinexpo Bordeaux organisers.

This year, the biennial event will launch a raft of new features, including a first-of-its-kind series of talks dedicated to exploring the effects of climate change on the wine and spirits industries, specifically its scientific, technical and economic implications. The Vinexpo Symposium, launched in association with Nouvelle-Aquitaine Regional Council, will take place on the second day of the show (14 May). It will be broken up into three sessions, led by some of the foremost scientists, economists and academics in the field. CNN correspondent Jim Bittermann will moderate the sessions, which will be followed by expert roundtables and debates.

Christophe Navarre, chairman of Vinexpo, said organisers chose to launch the symposium because of the “fundamental challenge that climate change represents for any professional involved in the wine and spirits industries”.

He adds: “It was felt this is a sufficiently universal and profoundly serious challenge for the future, such that it merited a day’s symposium to try and assess the impact of climate change on global vineyards, and provide answers to the increasingly urgent issue of how to produce and adapt in unstable environmental conditions.”

Another new initiative will be Les Dîner du Palais, which will allow exhibitors to invite their guests to the elegant Palais de la Bourse, where their wines will be served alongside a menu designed by award-winning chefs. Another key highlight in Vinexpo’s social calendar will be The Blend, the show’s official after-work party, which will offer a selection of spirits, wines and Champagnes on pour.

Vinexpo Bordeaux will launch another feature this year: La Grande Dégustation. In collaboration with Terre de Vins, the event will see Vinexpo open up to members of the public for the first time, inviting oenophiles to sample a selection of international wines. It will allow winemakers to receive instant feedback from consumers and form a valuable understanding of the market.

Green-minded winemakers and distillers will once again take the spotlight in the Wow! World of Organic Wines area, where 150 producers from nine countries will exhibit their wares. The feature made a successful debut in 2017.

Vinexpo Bordeaux will host around 40 educational events under the Vinexpo Academy umbrella. Spanning the duration of the show, the programme will include talks, tastings and masterclasses. A notable highlight will be the ‘What it takes to sell wine online’ conference, in which leading stakeholders will discuss the changes set to mould the fast-growing e-commerce drinks sector over the next decade. Speakers will include: Chris Tsakalakis, CEO of Vivino; Marco Magnocavallo, CEO of Tannico; Mark Meek, CEO of IWSR; and Martin Ohannessian, CEO of Le Petit Ballon.

As interest in Asian drinks continues to bloom around the world, there will also be a “strong Japanese theme” in the seminar list, with two masterclasses on shōchū and two on koji.

Vinexpo is once again expecting to welcome a high-calibre of industry influencers and senior executives following its last Bordeaux exhibition in 2017, when 65% of attendees were identified as ‘decision makers’. According to Navarre: “Vinexpo sets itself apart from the other trade shows as a high-level meeting place, bringing together CEOs, presidents, expert producers and approved buyers in a generous four-day timeframe in which to thoroughly access expertise across all the different categories of wine and spirits.”

While Bordeaux will remain Vinexpo’s flagship event, the trade fair has ramped up its international expansion in the past year, announcing the launch of events in New York (March 2018), Shanghai (October 2019) and Paris (January 2020). Vinexpo also launched its travelling exhibition, Vinexpo Explorer, in 2018. Globally, Vinexpo’s attendance figures are higher than ever, but the show maintains that it is aiming for “quality not quantity” with an expanding programme of localised events that “provide more targeted business”.

Going forward, the exhibition will be led by new CEO Rodolphe Lameyse, who has taken over the role from Guillaume Deglise. Based in Singapore since 2014, Lameyse most recently managed Informa Group’s Food & Hotel Asia portfolio, Asia’s largest trade show dedicated to the food, beverage and hotel equipment industry. Before this, he worked as a consultant in the exhibitions industry, and as head of marketing and client services at Reed Midem in France.

“Vinexpo has grown thanks to the quality of the offer available at each of its shows, the relevance of its content and the return on investment it generates,” Lameyse said at the time of his appointment. “We’ll continue to expand Vinexpo shows together, in France and internationally, and provide our customers with solutions, to cement our role as the global leader for all players in the international wine and spirits sector.”

Click through the following pages for a look at some of the top spirits producers exhibiting at Vinexpo Bordeaux.

For more information on the show, visit www.vinexpo.com.