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‘Complicated’ US wine market led to Vinexpo postponement

Vinexpo CEO Robert Beynat says a 'complicated' US wine market and the economic downturn contributed to the postponement of its first consumer show.

Billed as ‘the one rendez-vous you can’t miss’, too many wineries thought otherwise. Rendez-Vous by Vinexpo was postponed indefinitely this week.

‘Despite a lot of effort, we only succeeded in selling 52 tasting areas out of the 150 scheduled,’ Beynat said.

The three-day show, the first of its kind by Vinexpo, was to be held in New York in November with up to 6,000 consumer visitors expected and a one-day ticket costing US$180.

Louis Latour, Barton & Guestier and Baron Philippe de Rothschild were among the exhibitors signed up.

Beynat is ‘disappointed’ but said the decision to cancel was a ‘responsible’ one.

‘With this limited number of exhibitors we were afraid of attracting a limited number of visitors,’ he told Decanter.com. ‘I guess the economic crisis didn’t help.’

Despite the setback, Vinexpo remains committed to hosting a consumer wine show, although this might not be in the US.

‘Promoting wine in the US is quite complicated,’ Beynat said. ‘In the next months we will analyse exactly what we maybe need to improve or amend. We are always thinking about the US, but we are also open to several countries.’

Vinexpo has promised full refunds to exhibitors already signed up to Rendez-Vous.

This will mostly consist of refunded ‘down payments’, because exhibitors were only due to be billed for the full amount earlier this month.

‘The investment we made to create the brand will be useful for the next time. So [the money] isn’t lost,’ Beynat said.

Written by Chris Mercer

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