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VinExpo 2007 almost booked up

Published:  23 July, 2008

By Christian Davis
Vinexpo 2007 is nearly full, according to its chief executive Robert Beynat, who was in London last week.

The 41,000 square metre site, which houses the largest wine and spirits exhibition in the world, is 90% booked, with Pernod Ricard the largest company exhibitor with 500sq m and Spain the overall largest exhibitor by country, with approximately 2,000 sq m.

There is a new 25 million H3' (Hall 3), replacing the temporary building where, controversially, the air conditioning broke down in 2003 during a heatwave, prompting official protests from the generic bodies from Australia and South Africa and their withdrawal from the 2005 Vinexpo. The Bordeaux city authority has spent 50 million overall on the exhibition site.

Beynat said that he had had meeting with Sam Tolley and Paul Henry of the Australian Wine & Brandy Corporation and they were looking favourably at returning to Vinexpo - with a still outstanding offer of a 20% discount to return after 2003. He had seen Warren Adamson of New Zealand Wine Growers here in London and Adamson was going to put it to his management board. As for South Africa, all Beynat would say is that Distell, one of South Africa's largest wine and spirits producers will be there with 1200 sq m.

Beynat has also scrapped the Club des Marques, replacing it with the Club du Lac, which as the name suggests will be a series of hospitality suites situated on the edge of the lake by the exhibition centre. Fourteen companies, including Constellation, Grand Marnier, Concha y Toro, Roederer and Rmy Cointreau, have already signed up for a minimum of 120 sq m of space with a patio, lawn and air-conditioned units.

Along with the Club des Marques the Universe & Co exhibition over in the Congress Hall has been replaced by Marketers', a new exhibition for companies that provide services to wine and spirit producers and suppliers.

He disclosed that Vinexpo will be fully Wi-Fi so that exhibitors and visitors will be able to use their laptops throughout. He is also looking at a pontoon bridge to span the lake.

Beynat said he expects between 45 and 50,000 visitors. The challenge is not quantity,' he said, the challenge is getting the right people.' The wine industry will take 85% of the exhibition surface area, with France taking 60% overall; of that Bordeaux will account for 30%, which is equivalent to its percentage of French wine exports, and Champagne around 20%.

Once again, Beynat has commissioned research from the British company IWSR, and that will be presented to the trade in London in January. It is also conducting focus groups in five cities: London, New York, Paris, Brussels and Tokyo.

Asked about Vinexpo Asia, Beynat said the Hong Kong show had been successful and the 2008 show, aimed specifically at the burgeoning Asian market, particularly China, was full at 6,500sq m. The US Vinexpo had failed in 2002 in New York because of repercussions of 9/11' and the 2004 Chicago attempt also floundered as a result of a weak dollar and the onset of the Iraq war. One day we will go back to the US and it will be back in New York,' said Beynat.

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