ProWein, the world’s biggest trade fair for wine and spirits, was held in Düsseldorf, Germany, between 19 and 21 March and Australian wine had its biggest stand ever at the flagship exposition.

The Australian wine stand featured six regional booths, 61 different producers (represented by 147 winemakers), an Australian Wine Bar and 11 masterclasses. More than 700 Australian wines were on show from 47 different regions. 

The regional booths focused on: South Australia, Riverland, Victoria, Yarra Valley, New South Wales and Margaret River. These areas were represented by regional wine association heads, including: Lyndall Rowe (Executive Officer, Riverland Wine), Stephanie Duboudin (CEO, Wine Victoria), Caroline Evans (CEO, Wine Yarra Valley) and Amanda Whiteland (CEO, Margaret River Wine Association).

Most eye-catching of all was a visit from Kylie Minogue, who launched her own range of wines in 2020, and who attended the Australian wine stand on 20 March. 

Dr Martin Cole, CEO of Wine Australia, hailed the strong representation for the nation’s wine. 

“This year’s stand was double the size of previous years with 200 brands hailing from 47 regions across Australia. And the meeting space was buzzing as producers juggled a steady stream of appointments with buyers from around the world,” Dr Cole said. 

“We also had a fantastic partnership with the states and regions, which saw six regional booths on the stand for the first time celebrating their unique differences and highlighting the quality and diversity from the length and breadth of our continent of wine.”

Australian-run masterclasses were attended by about 500 trade guests, and covered topics as diverse as the Riverland’s experimental wines, South Australia’s Mediterranean whites, Clare Valley Riesling and Great Southern Syrah. 

Masterclasses were well attended by guests.

Australian ProWein exhibitors share their thoughts

Exhibitors at the event reflected on their experiences. 

“It was exciting being back at ProWein after four years, catching up with distribution partners and making new connections,” said Philip Jeffries, General Manager of Sales and Marketing at d’Arenberg  

“I had very positive conversations with buyers from across the world including the Nordics, Iceland, Greece and Thailand. There’s renewed energy and a new mindset to Australian wine, trade were open to explore new opportunities and more premium offerings,” Jeffries continued. 

Fiona Findlay, Head of Sales at Voyager Estate, struck a similar tone, and commended the camaraderie among Australian exhibitors. 

“ProWein is one of those fairs we keep coming back to. A way of showcasing our wines on the global stage, meeting existing partners and finding new relationships and opportunities. It’s been a fantastic fair for us – excellent quality visitors, valuable meetings and a buzzing atmosphere on the Aussie stand,” Findlay said.

Founder and Winemaker of Small Things Wine, Ian Batt, stated that he had secured a major deal at the exposition, in his company’s first time exhibiting. 

“I’ve had productive meetings with distributors in Europe and Asia, with opportunities opening up in several markets. The icing on the cake was a handshake with a leading UK distributor on the second day of the fair.

“What a brilliant result from my first ProWein.”

Another first time exhibitor was Bec Hardy Wines, with Joint MD Richard Dolan delighted by the occasion. 

“This was my first time at ProWein and it was beyond my expectations. A must-do event and I’m in for next year.”

ProWein 2023 attracted 49,000 guests from 141 different countries, including major buyers from Europe, the UK, the USA, Canada and Asia.

Australian exhibitors will now look ahead to Vinexpo Asia, held between 23 and 25 May in Singapore, as the next major trade show. 

ProWein will return in 2024. 

James Lindner of Langmeil Winery shows off his wares.

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