The comprehensive international range at ProWein 2006 was matched by first-rate demand at the wines and spirits fair. Considerably more than 30,000 trade visitors (compared with 28,000 in 2005) from 40 nations came to Düsseldorf this year. It was particularly pleasing to note that the proportion of professionals coming to the fair from outside Germany has risen disproportionately (now standing at 26%). Furthermore, exhibitors voiced unanimous praise for visitors’ exceptionally high competence and specialist qualifications.
“For German exhibitors this year’s ProWein was a resounding success. We are seeing numerous dealers now broadening their German wine ranges and very many good deals were concluded here. The fair confirms the gen-eral current trend towards German wine,” was the verdict from Armin Göring, Managing Director of the German Wine Institute (DWI). In his view, another aspect to be highlighted was the high quality of visitors from throughout the world: “ProWein is the most important trade fair in Europe. We can feel very happy that this international event is held here in Germany.”
“ProWein is a major fixture for the European wine and spirits trade and has continued to develop its role as the leading fair for the global wine and spirits business,” was also the verdict from Wilhelm Niedergöker, Managing Director of Messe Düsseldorf. The rise in visitors from Western European countries (such as the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Austria, Sweden, Switzerland, UK) and Eastern Europe (the Czech Republic, Poland, Russia, Serbia, Croatia) have made this particularly clear. Pleasingly, the number of specialists from overseas has almost doubled (from the USA, South and Central America and Japan, for instance).
The concept of the fair offers the ideal setting. Buyers can prepare and place their orders in Düsseldorf in professional surroundings; exhibitors can focus on their customers. Klaus Fetzner, Marketing & Sales at the top Tuscan wine estate Capannelle, can only further stress this: “No other event in the wine and spirits sector offers such a high concentration of specialists and decision-makers. It is the only fair we always have as a firm fixture in our diaries.”
“No-one can afford to miss ProWein anymore,” was the view of wine writer and journalist Stuart Pigott and one also clearly shared by numerous top buyers from Europe and overseas. Many high-profile visitor delegations from Japan, the USA, Russia, the Benelux, Scandinavia and Eastern Europe travelled to ProWein, often combining their stay in Germany with a tour through wine-growing regions. This year’s event also generated great in-terest from the international media (over 750 journalists from 33 coun-tries).
This exceptional interest in ProWein is not really surprising as with 2,900 exhibitors from 46 countries ProWein 2006 boasted the most comprehen-sive range worldwide.
As expected, the forthcoming World Cup was one of the top themes at this year’s ProWein. This is because when the 32 national teams kick-off at a total of 64 matches the VIP lounges at the different football stadiums will all be serving German wine exclusively; around 100 wines from 54 selected wine estates have be granted the licence to market their official wines throughout Europe.
Visitors’ interest in the comprehensive spirits range at ProWein was also high. 313 exhibitors presented the varied international world of high-proof drinks. “ProWein provides a unique opportunity to discover the varied tastes offered by the world of spirits – first-hand, direct from the pro-ducer,” praised Peter Schütte, owner of Cocktail Convention. “A major plus is also the tasting zone with this year’s liqueur theme. This platform opens up the market to new target groups, prompting smaller restaurants, for instance, to look at this product group and maybe feature it on their menus,” added Schütte. The visitor survey echoed the great response to the spirits range at ProWein and the tasting zone theme “The Colourful World of Branded Liqueurs”. 87% of visitors were very satisfied with this tailor-made range.
Other trends at ProWein 2006 included wines for young consumer groups, the uncomplicated enjoyment of wine, fun accessories, organic wines and, obviously, the current 2005 vintage. The visitor survey showed that wines from Germany, Italy, France, Spain and Austria were those most in de-mand, followed by products from the New World and Eastern Europe. Other visitor magnets were the international tasting zones for over 1,000 varie-tal wines and the exhibitors’ comprehensive supporting programme.
Düsseldorf also confirmed its reputation as the world’s wine and spirits capital outside the halls of the fair. Already on the eve of ProWein wines and spirits “reigned supreme” in numerous restaurants, trendy bars and event locations. And this continued up until the last day of the fair. Ex-hibitors invited their guests to tastings and wine menus, presented their new products in elaborate shows or simply met up with their staff in the Old Town for a glass of wine after their day at the fair.
While the next ProWein will not be held for another a year, hogatec (The International Trade Fair for Hotels, Food Service and Catering) run-ning in Düsseldorf from 24 to 28 September will provide an early foretaste of the 2007 event: the wine meeting “Klasse-Treffen mit Wein” in the ProWein lounge will give visitors the opportunity to taste selected wines from international wine-growing regions. Lecture events are also planned. This will therefore give “vinophile” hoteliers and restaurateurs another reason to come to the trade fair metropolis of Düsseldorf.
The next ProWein will be held from 18 - 20 March 2007.