Vinexposium CEO Rodolphe Lameyse reflects on Vinexpo’s return to Hong Kong, and the reception to this year’s event.

After a six-year hiatus, Vinexposium CEO is relieved with the warm reception Vinexpo Asia has had in Hong Kong over the past three days.

“As you can imagine, it’s always a bit question mark, when you are away for six years, you are wondering if people forget you, if people are still interested in you.”

Lameyse told TheShout that he is reassured to find that there is a lot of buzz and interest around the show.

“I feel relief. First of all, that it went well. And I feel relieved that the business has not vanished forever… the response to the show was huge, and I’m so glad that they are still here.”

Business in deed came back with a boom, with the visitor estimate of 10,000 visitors blown away with an official attendance of 14,203 visitors from 60 countries.

As the first show in Hong Kong post-covid, and in trying economic times, planning Vinexpo Asia 2024 well in advance and betting on attendance and interest proved to be a big swing that paid off.

“When you when you organise a trade show, it’s minimum 12 months in advance. So you’reyou trying to foresee what it can be, and you have a budget and also targets in terms of numbers of exhibitors, number of countries and number of attendees. And everything is based upon that. I have to say that this year, it went above our expectation… both talking to exhibitors and the buzz around the show.”

There’s been a lot of buzz particularly around the Australian stand, thanks to the dropping of tariffs on Australian wine in China – something Lameyse has noticed.

“The Aussie folks are checking if they have enough wine to serve, because there were so many people [at that part of the expo]. I think Australia is very excited, and exciting for the Chinese who desperately need wines from Australia. Boom!

“[The Australian pavilion] has been busy all day. Some other wine regions are not so popular anymore… but the market is under your eyes.”

As to his own preferences for Australian wines, Lameyse conceded that he had two “addictions”.

“First of all, I’m a huge fan of Margaret River wines. Because I love what’s been done there. And I will make some people jealous, but also I have an addiction with some Adelaide Hills wines, which are very, very interesting.”

Speaking more generally on day two, the CEO had noticed a couple of things playing out across the expo floor. Firstly, an interest in lower-alcohol wines – around 12-14 per cent – particularly in catering for younger entrants to the wine category.

“It’s a question of also thinking about what kind of wine this young generation is more interested in. They are more interested in wine with a lower degree of alcohol, which is a challenge because climate change is directly impacting this. But I know these folks, they are working very hard to make wine which is lower in alcohol. Freshness of wine is also a point they are working very hard on.”

The second finding  was a consumer interest in new wine regions. Lameyse implored many members of the press to stop by the Célèbre booth, a winery from the Himalayas from Yunnan province in China, which is producing Cabernet Sauvignon.

“Sometimes European critics have the perception that wine from China, they can be doubtful about the quality. But this is perfect, it’s amazing. This is what I like – finding new products that make you say wow.”

Lameyse also took the opportunity to announce that Vinexpo Asia would alternate from now on between Hong Kong and Singapore, noting that the two locations played well for different parts of the Asian market – Singapore works well for the southeast Asian market, while Hong Kong attracts buyers from mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

“I’m very, very happy with this strategic decision,” stated Lameyse.

Vinexpo Asia will return to Singapore in 2025.

Vanessa Cavasinni

Vanessa Cavasinni is the managing editor of Australian Hotelier and Club Management, trade publications for the pub and club sectors respectively. Vanessa has been at the helm of Australian Hotelier since...

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