Guillaume Deglise, CEO, VINEXPO

The Vinexpo brand is expanding in France and internationally. Guillaume Deglise tells us more about the latest developments.

Can you tell us about Vinexpo’s strategic objectives in terms of the brand’s international expansion?

Vinexpo started in Bordeaux in 1981, in the heart of one of the world’s most prestigious wine-growing regions. It has become the industry’s key event, developing global reach. Today, visitors come to the show from 150 countries. Since then, the brand has been rolled out internationally to support its exhibitor customers in other markets. Hong Kong was the first to be added to Vinexpo’s global network in 1998, closely followed by Tokyo and New York.

Vinexpo Bordeaux remains the flagship show. Each edition features an unparalleled programme of tastings and talks in addition to opportunities to conduct business with 2,300 exhibitors. But our other events have greater potential for expansion since they are located in growth markets in some of the world’s major cities. Vinexpo is also perceived as an “elite” European brand, which appeals to buyers in key export markets, even though the products presented by our exhibitors reflect the entire market.

The latest edition of Vinexpo Bordeaux took place from 18 to 21 June 2017. What were some of the innovations and highlights?

Today, speed and efficiency are the watchwords of any B2B show, so we cut the show’s duration to four days, giving it a more contemporary format. Then to achieve optimal efficiency, we offered exhibitors and visitors a free matchmaking service with pre-arranged “One to Wine” meetings. Over 2,000 of them were arranged. For example, a whisky producer seeking an importer in Vietnam and a Canadian sommelier wanting to taste Georgian wines enjoyed targeted meetings tailored to their requirements.

Vinexpo has always been the place to meet major decision-makers. Key international buyers can meet producers from around the world. This year we wanted to offer family-sized businesses the opportunity to benefit from this access to the wider business world. So we set aside three areas dedicated to viniculture: a special hall with an affordable stand offer, a stand in partnership with wine critics Bettane+Desseauve, and an area for organic and biodynamic wines that we have dubbed WOW! (World of Organic Wines).

We also need to take into account the major issues facing our profession. Economic and climate changes have direct repercussions on our customers’ businesses. In response, Vinexpo organised talks on those key themes, including climate change and its impact on wine production, the post-Brexit wine and spirits market and e-commerce on a global scale.

Can you tell us about some of the flagship events?

This year, Spain was Country of Honour, enabling it to showcase the special characteristics of its terroirs and especially the variety of its production which is becoming increasingly popular with consumers.

And since it’s a trade show, it’s also about social interaction, so we organised two evening events in central Bordeaux. First there was A Taste of Spain, which brought together 112 exceptional bodegas and featured 12 chefs who are rising stars in Spanish gastronomy. Each of them was selected by the world-famous Ferran Adrià and José Andrés. Then there was The Blend, Vinexpo’s official gala evening which takes place during every show and gives all our customers the opportunity to expand their networks in a warm, friendly atmosphere.

Promosalons is helping Vinexpo Bordeaux and Hong Kong expand internationally. What added value does the Promosalons network bring you?

Our collaboration with Promosalons goes back many years. Today our relationship is based not just on business but also on friendship, with a lot of back-and-forth. Promosalons is part of our family and I think they have a real bond with the show. The strength of the Promosalons network is its global reach and market knowledge. It allows us to establish close links with key players, which is essential, while still being able to respond to sector developments.