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Wi-fi and walking on water at Vinexpo

Vinexpo boss Robert Beynat is planning a host of changes to Vinexpo this year – including state-of-the-art temporary bridges across the lake.

Bordeaux city council has put €50m towards two new buildings: the notorious Hall 3 – in which air-conditioning failed in 2003 – has been entirely rebuilt and the main exhibition hall has been improved.

There will also be wi-fi access throughout all buildings, allowing visitors to connect to the Internet and email wherever they are.

Beynat also told decanter.com, ‘We’re also going to make it possible to cross the lake on foot.’

This will be accomplished, he says, by the use of incredibly expensive patented pontoon bridges of a type used by the New York Fire Department.

‘I saw the invention when I visited New York. It will require a huge investment,’ he said.

Also new is the Club du Lac – in place of the old Club des Marques, which Beynat has abolished. The new Club is in permanent air-conditioned units alongside the lake.

And importantly, members – who pay €48,000 for their pavilion – will no longer be able to blackball prospective members, as they did with Gallo two years running.

They were motivated, Beynat said, not so much by snobbery as disapproval of the fact that Gallo makes America’s top-selling sparkling wine: Andre Champagne. Under complex place-name laws Gallo is allowed to market the wine as Champagne in the US even though it has no connection with the Champagne region.

Fifty companies were asked to bid for 15 places in the Club du Lac, and 14 – including Constellation, Roederer, Dourthe, Concha y Toro, Cointreau, Diageo, Taittinger and Marie Brizard – have sent cheques.

Vinexpo 2007 takes place from 17 to 21 June. Plans are far advanced: ‘the grass has already been planted for the lawns,’ Beynat said.

Written by Adam Lechmere

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