Vinexpo's new chief executive has said he is listening to the show’s critics and that next year in Bordeaux will be a 'really different experience'.
Speaking to decanter.com in London, Guillaume Deglise (pictured) said that he is keen to address past criticisms of the show, which have ranged from accusations of a French wine bias to gripes about transport and the quality of food. More recently, some producers have argued Prowein in Germany is better for doing business.
Vinexpo’s bi-annual fair in Bordeaux remains the world’s biggest wine trade expo, and organisers are currently preparing for their fifth Asian satellite show in Hong Kong after returning there in 2006.
But, 39-year-old Deglise, formerly of Laurent-Perrier and Bollinger and who has replaced Vinexpo co-founder Robert Beynat, has spent his first six months in the job leading a review of operations.
‘We need to modernise Vinexpo. We need to become more attractive,’ he said.
‘A lot of people come [to Vinexpo Bordeaux] because they say they have to come, but I want people to want to come.’ He added, ‘I’m listening to the people who say that Vinexpo is more for the French.’
There are plans for a ‘really different experience’ at Vinexpo 2015, he said. Specific details are still to be revealed, but one idea is Vinexpo-hosted events to engender a more inclusive feel.
‘I realised as a former exhibitor that for most of the events in Bordeaux you had the same people invited, and it wasn’t necessarily a Chilean or Argentinian exhibitor,’ Deglise said.
More immediately, Vinexpo Asia-Pacific organisers said this week that the show’s floor space in Hong Kong has risen by 50% versus 2012 and stand space is 90% sold.
Late last year, Vinexpo cancelled a planned inaugural show in Beijing, but its return to Tokyo via Vinexpo Nippon will go ahead on 1 November this year.
Deglise did not rule out a return to Beijing in future. ‘We continue to believe there is potential in the north of China,’ he said.
Like his predecessor, he has less appetite for a move to the US, and there appears to be little chance of a return to the consumer show format that was proposed and subsequently abandoned in 2012.
‘We need to keep an eye on the US market and on possibilities, but I don’t think our raison d’etre is in consumer shows.’ Latin America may hold more promise as a venue for the future, he indicated.
Written by Chris Mercer