The first-ever Vinexpo Americas has ended with the organisers declaring it a hit despite a lower than expected turnout and its failure to make a profit.

The three-day wine and spirits trade show for the North American market was held between 22 and 24 October at the Jacob K Javits Convention Centre in Manhattan. It attracted 10,000 trade buyers and professionals, and 600 exhibitors from 28 countries.

Organisers had forecast up to 15,000 visitors, but say that the quality of the guests and business prospects made up for any shortfall in numbers.

‘The gamble paid off,’ chief executive officer Robert Beynat said. ‘The quality of the trade professionals was really there, at least that’s what the statistics tell us.’

Chairman Dominique Hériard Dubreuil admitted that the show had not been a financial success. It’s an investment for the future, she said. ‘We envisage a second step. Our aim is to go deeper into this market.’

A decision about a possible New York re-run in 2004 will be made by the International Wine and Spirits Exhibition early next year, she said.

The show’s biggest attractions included a seminar on the influence of Bordeaux wines by critic Robert Parker and France’s celebrated flying winemaker Michel Rolland, plus a four-hour tasting of Bordeaux’s celebrated 2000 vintage organised by the Union des Grand Crus de Bordeaux. Up to 600 people attended the seminar.

Mexican and Brazilian stands enjoyed good business, as did the Canadian exhibitors who served icewine to their guests. White Torrontes wine proved popular for Argentina, while Chile’s sector, with around 40 booths, was another favourite destination.

With 59 booths representing 70 bodegas, Spain appeared to have the largest delegation. ‘I believe 90% of them would repeat participation,’ Francisco Núñez of the Spanish Institute for Foreign Trade said.

Show sponsors were, however, disappointed by a poor California turnout, with many wineries ostensibly staying away as a result of a flat economy. The absence of Robert Mondavi interests was widely noted, although E & J Gallo was out in full force.

Most visitors originated from the US, with 20% coming from Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean. Of the 80% US guests, 55% came from New York State.

Vinexpo Americas is 80% owned by Vinexpo Bordeaux, the International Wine and Spirit Exhibition held in Bordeaux every two years.

Vinexpo

Written by Howard G Goldberg in New York25 October 2002