Hong Kong hosted the world’s leading international wine and spirits fair, Vinexpo Asia-Pacific 2014, for three days from 27th to 29th May, 2014, at the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre. This trade-only event brings together buyers, producers and importers every two years. They use this opportunity to network, establish and maintain business relationships as well as educate themselves. In 2014, the full programme of events consisted of 54 premium seminars, master classes, conferences and tastings. The 2014 event was the largest Vinexpo Asia-Pacific ever held, with 50 per cent more space allocated to exhibitors than the previous event.
Vinexpo recently appointed a new CEO, Guillaume Deglise. Prior to joining Vinexpo, Deglise was General Manager of Laurent-Perrier Switzerland, since 2009. Asian Palate was delighted to have the opportunity to get insights from him, prior to the Vinexpo 2014 launch.
AP – Asian Palate GD – Guillaume Deglise
AP: What plans do you have for Vinexpo 2014 in Asia as well as in Bordeaux in 2015? What will be some differences from the past?
GD: We wish our visitors and exhibitors to enjoy a real experience each time when attending Vinexpo. Our exhibitions are not just wine shows, they are real platforms to develop business and networking, but also the ultimate get together of the industry where views can be shared and trends can be revealed.
At Vinexpo Asia-Pacific 2014, one of the spotlights will be SPIRITUAL – a new innovative bar area of the show where professional mixologists and members of the International Bartenders Association (IBA) will present a vast array of spirits and cocktails for visitors to taste.
We will also launch a China Wine Forum to better understand the situation of the Chinese market. This includes a conference with a panel of key players of the market, a tasting of the top Chinese wines as well as the screening of the movie “Red Obsession” which will be followed by a discussion with the protagonists.
AP: Coming from the Champagne industry, what lessons can wine producers learn from Champagne’s international success in marketing and branding?
GD: As we all know, champagne is probably the only wine you can enjoy at any time of day or night. This is a great advantage! However, the Champagne industry has its own challenges for the future, as any other wine region.
AP: You mentioned in an interview with Harpers that in an interview survey conducted with previous exhibitors and customers, 25% were not completely satisfied. Can you mention what areas you hope to improve upon from this feedback in future shows?
GD: This survey was about Vinexpo Bordeaux and most critics were about the access to the show or other logistics issues. We are currently working hard to build up a complete new Bordeaux show which will offer our exhibitors and visitors a new series of services and benefits.
Vinexpo Asia-Pacific, on the other hand, has already become the greatest wine and spirits exhibition in the region. This year we are increasing the space area by 50% due to the demand of new exhibitors. It reflects the growth of the Asia-Pacific markets, but also shows that Vinexpo is seen as a loyal partner of the industry.
AP: How do you see the Asian market evolving and how do you see Vinexpo fitting in and adapting and meeting the needs of a growing and very diverse market?
GD: Every year, Vinexpo and the IWSR carry out a survey of the worldwide market for wines and spirits. The result of this year’s study shows that the wine and spirits consumption in Asia-Pacific is expected to grow by respectively 23% and 6.7% between 2013 and 2017. The current focus of the industry is definitely on the Asian markets. Vinexpo has a strategic role to play in this growth, as we expanding our exhibition in Hong Kong and releasing a new show in Tokyo on November 1st and 2nd 2014, called Vinexpo Nippon.
AP: Please name the 3 top strengths of Vinexpo versus other wine shows.
GD: Our organization only works on wines and spirits, which makes Vinexpo an exclusive partner of the industry. I would also say that Vinexpo has an international reputation, which allow us to gather the main brand owners and the opinion leaders of the market for our exhibitions.
AP: Can you share the top 3 mistakes Vinexpo has made in the past and how the organization has learned from them?
GD: I was appointed CEO of Vinexpo last year and the coming Vinexpo Asia-Pacific will be my first edition as team leader. I’d rather talk about possible mistakes I would be responsible for, so I suggest we meet again soon to share the conclusions of the 2014 exhibition.