Richard Siddle, Editor's blog June

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Around the world in 80 stands - well 2,400 exhibitors to be exact - but if you really want to get a feel for the global drinks industry then there is no better place than Vinexpo.

 

There were a fair few Phileas and Philippa Foggs who had done just that this week as Bordeaux once again became the eyes, ears and mobile bank account for the world's wine and spirits industries.

These may be depressing times, but the sunny backdrop will certainly have raised the hopes of those who took the trouble to go. Vinexpo's supremo, Robert Beynat, likens his show to a rather over sized family coming together for a mutual session of loving , caring and hopefully not too much rowing. When things are bad, as he puts it, where do you go - but back to the family. With Beynat, himself, acting as a sort of calming partriachal figure from the splendour of his office overlooking the show.

For all its dissenters, Vinexpo remains a vital show and with a record 48 countries present, they don't get any bigger.

Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of a show on this scale is how the sector's changing dynamics bubble to the surface. Most noticeable is the number of diverse brands that now share the same owner. Be it the famous Bordeaux producer that can now boast a Champagne and an Argntine Malbec as part of its range or an Italian producer that is just as excited about its new South American spirit.

Consolidation, as Robert Berynat explains on page 3, is the name of the game and will be the driving force throughout the recession. It was heartening to see how many individual producers there are still big and successful enough to have their own stands, but you fear there will be a lot fewer exhibiting under their own steam in two years time.

It is the individual flair and passion that is the lifeblood of the wine and spirit sector and it was exciting to see it alive and kicking in Bordeaux this week.

Whatever the economy may throw at us, let's hope the Phileas Foggs amongst us are all still taking risks and discovering new delights when Vinexpo throws open its family home in two years time.

 

 

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