- Record attendance figures: 61.500 visitors from 142 countries - Participants reporting strong orders and deals - Lively high-level exchange of information and ideas
This year's ProWein fair put an exclamation point on 25 successful years of trade fair history at Messe Düsseldorf. Starting with a ceremonial ribbon cutting by German Minister for Agriculture Julia Klöckner, the three-day show (17–19 March) further solidified its position as the world's leading trade fair of its kind. "When we launched ProWein 25 years ago, none of us could have imagined just how incredibly it would develop. It's taken a massive amount of hard work and strong support along the way from our partners to grow this exhibition step for step into the world's largest and most important trade fair for wine and spirits. And we've got many things planned for our future as well," says Hans Werner Reinhard, Managing Director of Messe Düsseldorf. A pair of heads of state, prime ministers António Luís Santos da Costa of Portugal and Andrej Plenkovic of Croatia, were even on hand at the exhibition grounds to join in the ProWein anniversary.
Many Highlights for Visitors
A total of 61,500 industry visitors (2018: 60,500) from the retail and restaurant/catering businesses made the pilgrimage to Düsseldorf. As such, ProWein 2019 once again achieved attendance growth. The share of visitors with decision-making authority also reached a strong new high: more than 80 percent of visitors were involved in purchasing decisions. The visitors traveled from 142 countries (2018: 133 countries) and were expressed strongest interested in wines from Germany, Italy, France and Spain. Great Britain has come to represent the fifth-largest contingent of visitors after Germany, the Benelux, France and Italy.
Top Marks for ProWein 2019
Both exhibitors and visitors expressed strong satisfaction with ProWein 2019. This included for example Santiago DiazHerrenschmidt, Head of Wines & Spirits Trade Department at Business France. His organization was a member of the Communication partner program, which helped shine a special spotlight on France as a wine producing nation: "France is very proud to be attending as a partner here on this 25th anniversary of ProWein. It represents as an essential annual rendez-vouz for the wine, spirits, beer and cider industry. There's nothing better than being at ProWein! Santé – and we'll see you again next year!" Monika Reule, Managing Director of the German Wine Institute, one of the pillars of ProWein, expressed a similarly positive reaction: "From an exhibitor standpoint, this year's ProWein ran very well on the whole. There was particular interest expressed by industry visitors from both Germany and abroad in the 2018 vintage which — from all I've heard — absolutely lived up to its high expectations. Despite the relatively early timing of this showing, the white wines were already noticeably ready to drink, with intense fruitiness. Beyond this, the exhibitors I've spoken with made a point of mentioning the strong professionalism shown by the visitors."
Mindy Crawford, Wholesale Sales Director at Wölffer Estate Vineyard from the USA, reflected the viewpoint of many visitors from overseas:
“We see America as a very important site for wine production. And yet there's no industry gathering in the USA with the same reach and importance as ProWein. The biggest events held on are home market tend to be special distributor fairs. This is why ProWein is so crucial for us."
Carsten Schmidt, Managing Director at "Weinladen Schmidt" in Berlin, has attended ProWein since the beginning, looking for a broad assortment of wines for his six stores and two restaurants in the German capital. "I've been in Düsseldorf for the fair every year since the ProWein premiere in 1994. The strictly industry-only concept and international offerings set ProWein apart from any other event. The trade fair is an absolute must for both myself and my entire team. We're always here for the entire three days." For New York-based importer Ricardo Castiblanco, ProWein is not only the most important, but also the most efficient trade fair: "Within two days I've already concluded seven strong deals and successfully expanded my portfolio."
Düsseldorf: The World Capital for Wines and Spirits
Over 6,900 exhibitors of wines and spirits were registered for this year's ProWein. They represented 64 different nations, with the exhibition space clearly structured between ten different exhibition halls based on winegrowing country and region. No other event offers a comparable scale and scope. The largest exhibitor nations at ProWein 2019 were Italy (1,654) and France (1,576), followed by Germany (978), Overseas (600), Austria (335), Spain (661) and Portugal (387). There were also an additional 400 providers of spirits.
Craft Drinks on the Rise
Beyond the new vintage of wine and release of spirits, ProWein 2019 also gave a strong platform to the topic of craft drinks. The "same but different" special exhibition, with over 100 selected providers from the craft spirits, beer and cider scenes, proved a magnet not just for members of bars and restaurants specializing in those fields, but the majority of ProWein's 'regular' visitors as well. Both exhibitors and visitors proclaimed the innovative exhibition in hall 7.0 a massive success: "There's nothing out there like ProWein's ‘same but different' special exhibition, and it is by far the most important premium industry-only forum to reach the selling markets in Germany, Europe and abroad," notes Raphael Vollmer, who manages Siegfried Gin together with Gerold Koenen. "The conceptual design for ‘same but different' – the way the stands look, the way it's integrated into ProWein – is unparalleled. We were here for the premiere a year ago and will absolutely be booking a stand again next year in 2020."
ProWein as a trend barometer
The four trend topics at ProWein were also a point of interest for visitors and exhibitors alike: trend scouts Stuart Pigott and Paula Redes Sidore explored the topics of "Wines from High Elevations," "Wine in Cans," the comeback of "Field Blends" and the renaissance of the varieties "Chenin Blanc & Gamay." Both of their 'Trend Hour' tasting seminars were filled to capacity moments after the doors opened ProWein's many custom presentation zones were also well frequented by international visitors: there was a Champagne Lounge offering a platform for 50 illustrious champagne producers to set their products apart from the 180 overall champagne brands presenting at ProWein; an organic wine area with roughly 300 exhibitors; a tasting zone with the winning wines from MUNDUS VINI; many individual events at the exhibitors' stands and the ProWein Forum; and of course the Packaging & Design special exhibition.
ProWein Outlook: "To another great year"
The next several editions of the fair are already scheduled, with ProWein 2020 slated for 15–17 March in Düsseldorf. One year later ProWein will be welcoming guests from 21–23 March 2021 with an expanded hall layout. The extensive renovation of the Düsseldorf fairgrounds will allow ProWein to incorporate the modern South entrance and its new and adjacent Hall 1.
Several satellite events are also planned, starting with ProWine Asia from 7–10 May 2019. The next ProWine China will be opening its doors from 12–14 November in Shanghai.