By James Wells

The world's largest wine trade fair, ProWein, has set a new record for visitors and exhibitors with over 100 Australian wineries in attendance, including 76 separate wineries on the Wine Australia stand.

The Wine Australia team of Stuart Barclay, Camilla Coste, Laura Jewell MW, Andreas Clark

Over 6,500 exhibitors from 60 countries were represented at ProWein in 2017, with 58,500 trade visitors from 130 countries up from 55,700 and 126 countries last year. The show organisers, Messe Düsseldorf confirmed that one in two visitors attended the fair from abroad and at least two-thirds of all visitors were decision-makers.

Here is an overview of the reactions from Australian wineries in attendance: 

Martin Strachan – Bleasdale:

“ProWein has been great for me – first time I have had the opportunity to visit lots of  countries without having to walk away from a stand, so I have seen our importers and distributors from 15 locations to date – including Canada, UK, Germany, Sweden, Finland – so good cover, a lot cheaper to do it this way. Wine Australia have done a bloody fantastic job and in particular our contact Camilla Coste. I must say I stepped away from Wine Australia for about 10 years as I was a bit disillusioned, but this has been impressive. I have walked through competitor wine regions and we have a better vibe here. My advice is to book your stand, your accommodation and your appointments in early. Put the work in and get the results.”

Jonathan O’Neill – Angove Family Winemakers:

“ProWein 2017 has been far bigger than any prior year and the Australian presence has probably grown by another 20 or 30 Australian producers. We weren’t here 10 years ago, and since then this has become the most important show in Europe for producers selling wine all around the world. We are seeing our current customers and talking about promotion plans and new products going into their portfolios for the year, but we are also using the show very much for new customers. We want to refresh certain markets which we haven’t focused on for a while such as central Europe, so we see a lot of those customers come to this show. Different buyers have different tastes and different needs. We see certain markets wanting user friendly wines if that’s the channel that they are targeting or the more HoReCa style of customer wants the more seriously made wine – it is really horses for courses.”

Andrew Calabria – Calabria Family Wines (pictured):

“The hardest thing for us is that we are halfway through vintage, but that is how important ProWein is for us. It is a global hub for distributors, importers and wholesalers and not just those who are European-based. We have also had some walk-ups from countries such as Slovakia and Estonia which is great because they are markets that we are not in and we want to be in.”

Cameron Ashmead – Elderton Wines:

“The first day of ProWein this year was very busy, despite it being a Sunday. I had 12 really good meetings and three-quarters of these were people we already export to around the world, including South America. There were also two really strong possibilities for selling wine in Europe countries that we have never considered before – Finland and Poland. They are at completely different ends of the spectrum and not the biggest markets in the world, but they are nice to have and I’m excited. If you are an Australian exporter, there is no way that you would not consider coming here. This is the show to come to on a global basis. The great thing about the Australian wine industry is that everyone is friendly, they love it and they share and it is no different this year – it’s a really positive environment.”

Richard Doumani – Pernod Ricard:

“ProWein 2017 has been an improvement from last year in my opinion. You get a really good cross section of sommeliers, educators, importers, exporters and buyers from right across the world in all sorts of different markets that are really looking to explore some of the well known brands but also the some of the less established brands and newer brands. We have had everyone from German importers, some French importers, Myanmar, Azerbaijan, all sorts of smaller markets from Russia and Mongolia. We are looking at through the proliferation of the internet and a big wine fair where we can bring it all together, it gives them the opportunity to taste the wines and start to get their business out as well, and it might start small from small things large things grow.

We don’t have distribution in every country – we don’t have a Pernod Ricard office in some of these places so we are looking at third party endorsements, You are always looking to grow your business even though last year Jacob’s Creek sold 6.2 nine-litre cases over the world – well we would like to sell 7 million nine litre cases – why not? I would like to see some more wineries exhibiting from Tasmania, from Canberra and maybe some of the newer regions like the Granite Belt – people are surprised to see a wine region in Queensland.”

ProWein organizer Messe Düsseldorf Managaing Director – Hans Werner Reinhard: 

"ProWein is an incredibly intensive trade fair. For three days very concentrated and effective business goes on here. Visitors particularly included key players – important importers and representatives from large international commercial chains. Again this year the sector showed how strong and capable it is. An extremely high number of orders were placed and a great deal of new business ideas were discussed.”

The next ProWein exhibition will be held in Düsseldorf from 18-20 March 2018. After its inaugural show in Singapore last year, ProWine Asia will be held in Hong Kong for the first time from 8-11 May 2017 and the next ProWine China event will be held from 14-16 November 2017.

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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