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Richard Siddle: comment March, how wine companies are changing the way they operate

Published:  21 March, 2012

Itseemed like the world, its wife and extended family had turned up at Prowein, the German wine fair early this month. Over 40,000 members of the global wine family had made the trek to Dusseldorf by plane, car and winnebago to take advantage of what is increasingly being seen as the most commercially important trade fair in the world.

It seemed like the world, its wife and extended family had turned up at Prowein, the German wine fair early this month. Over 40,000 members of the global wine family had made the trek to Dusseldorf by plane, car and winnebago to take advantage of what is increasingly being seen as the most commercially important trade fair in the world.

Prowein encapsulates everything that is taking place in the world of wine when it comes to buying and selling wine.

At the one hand you have the all powerful monopoly buyers, closely followed by the supermarket and large specialist buyers. But it was clear a whole new raft of buyers are emerging. There were more agents and distributors from emerging wine markets like Eastern Europe, the Baltic States and the Middle East.

There is certainly more collobarative work, trading partnerships and joint ventures being established by like minded producers to help them collectively crack or gain a foothold in key but difficult trading countries.

Then you have the tier of brokers and consultants setting up the criteria for how tenders for certain wines will work in a particular country or specific importer.

Prowein was also clearly a fertile hunting ground for an increasing number of UK independents and regional wholesalers looking to go direct.

The talk between producers was more about the way they are doing business in certain markets than the actual styles of wine they are selling.

The quality of wine is a given, how creative, flexible and reactive to demand you are increaingly becoming the benchmarks by which business desls are being done.

All of which underlines the enormous opportunities there are now for producers right round the world. The UK, whilst still seen as strategically very important, needs to earn its right to remain on producers increasingly global radar.

Those looking to exhibit or do business at the London Wine Fair in May would do well to look at their own buying or selling model and assess whether it is flexible enough to take advantage of all the ways people are now looking to do business.

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