By James Wells in Sydney

ProWine China, the sister-event to ProWein, has claimed the position as the leading trade fair in Mainland China after its second annual show was held in Shanghai earlier last month.

With 38 different countries in attendance, ProWine China has equaled or surpassed the participation of several older trade fairs in the country. A total of 650 exhibitors represented a 10 per cent increase on the inaugural show held last year with 8,250 visitors in attendance.

The three-day event featured a broad range of exhibitors including several well-known regions with large country pavilions including France, Italy, Argentina and Spain as well as smaller regions including Moldova and Hungary.

Despite Wine Australia withdrawing its participation a few weeks prior to the exhibition, there was a strong participation of over 20 wine brands from Australasia including Warburn Estate and Cranswick Premium Wines, Villa Maria’s Vidal Thornbury and Esk Valley brands, Ohau Wines, Soljans Estate, Elephant Hill, Babich, Georges Michel, Foley Family Wines, Johanneshof Cellars as well as several distributors and importers for Teusner, Hutton Vale, Mount Horrocks, Pierro, Best’s Great Western, Dalwhinnie, Wantima Estate, Yeringberg, Paradigm Hill and Stefano Lubiana.

One of the Australian exhibitors was Helen Xu from Yarra Valley-based winery Helen & Joey Estate. After growing up in China, Xu feels as though she has a unique understanding of the Chinese market.

“We feel as though we have a good chance to maximise our awareness in this market because we are here at the beginning. We are confident that the dream of an Australian lifestyle is an advantage for us. We want to be in China for the long term and we must educate buyers one by one and we are determined to do this. Wine is perceived to give health to the older consumers as well as fashion and lifestyle to the younger consumers,” Xu said.

“Food safety is definitely an issue in China as the locals are concerned about the safety of liquor with a lot of fake products using industrial alcohol. Australia has strict regulations and reliable quality.”

Warburn Estate projects officer, Robyn Turner said the show was busier on the second and third days with several buyers returning for additional meetings.

“Most of the discussions were from people looking to set up a distributorship or import Australian wines directly. We found that there was more interest in our red wines and our sweeter wines, but there was more tasting of dry white wines than we initially expected,” said Turner.

According to Messe Düsseldorf exhibition director, Michael Degen, ProWine China behaves very differently to its sister-event – ProWein in Düsseldorf.

“Exhibitors must ask themselves what their strategy is in China. Is it a regional strategy, or are you planning to target 5-star hotels, restaurants or retail? We feel this in the central question before you come to ProWine China,” he said.

“Exhibitors cannot expect to spend three days at the exhibition and sign a number of Chinese import deals. This is a completely different sales process and we are here to help our exhibitors with entry into the market. Some wine brands believe the story they use in Europe, will work in China, but China is different and companies will have to deliver a different message for different markets.

For example, to stand out it is not just the presentation of your products, it is also important to introduce an entertainment element such as a tasting or a workshop for educational purposes or at the very least an interpreter.”

ProWine China is a joint venture between Messe Düsseldorf – the owners of the annual ProWein exhibition and All World Exhibitions who own the Food & Hotels China show which runs simultaneously.

ProWine China 2015 will be held from 11-13 November 2015. A new exhibition, ProWine Asia, will be held in Singapore from 12-15 April 2016. ProWein Düsseldorf will be held from 15-17 March 2015 with over 5,000 exhibitors expected from 50 countries.

The Shout Team

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

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