Only a few days remain until Italy’s most important international wine fair, Vinitaly (Verona, March 22-25, 2015), featuring thousands of wines from dozens of countries. Every year leading up to the event there is talk among the industry about the expected success (or flop) of the event. This year, five major issues weigh on our minds…
1. Will Vinitaly be able to hold up against the ever-stronger competition (and perhaps foul play) from the ProWein fair in Dusseldorf? The German event has placed itself just a week before Vinitaly. With efficient German service (a metro that takes you directly to the fair, comfortable bathrooms, reduced traffic, ultra-selective entry only for professionals), for some winemakers Dusseldorf is increasingly becoming the essential international fair, particularly for the important northern European market. How will Vinitaly respond?
2. Can Vinitaly stand up to the internal competition it has created from taking on the task of running the wine area at Expo? Does this latest initiative risk cannibalizing the Veronese event, seeing as it takes place just 40 days later? Many consortia are spending bucketloads of money on Expo. Will they also be willing to invest in Verona?
3. Will the new euro-dollar exchange – favorable for Italian exports – help Italian producers to conquer another slice of the market? The financial aspect shouldn’t be underestimated, now that our wines cost 35% less compared to a year ago. This is a good competitive advantage seeing as the Italian wine industry exports over 50% of its product.
4. Who will show up at the two concurrent natural wine fairs, ViniVeri and VinNatur? And will these two resist the increasingly positive impact of Vivit, Vinitaly’s event dedicated to wines from organic and biodynamic agriculture. It’s no coincidence that this year ViniVeri begins on the Friday, perhaps suggesting that the organizers have asked themselves a few questions. The Italian Federation of Independent Winegrowers (FIVI) will also be present at Vinitaly, having a huge stand with more than 60 producers.
5. And finally, our biggest worry: do trade shows in general still have an important commercial value for winemakers? Or is this money that could be better invested in trips abroad to visit clients?
Now a personal note: We are very fond of Vinitaly and happily go back each year (you can find us in PAD 10, stand E4-F4). And we think that Italian wine needs a strong fair that can be competitive on the global market. Having said that, to be a leader we need to face our doubts, otherwise we risk resting on our laurels. We know that Flavio Tosi, Verona’s mayor, has bigger issues on his mind right now, but two hours of traffic to get out of Vinitaly’s multilevel carpark isn’t the stuff of a civilized nation.
Translation: Simone Gie