The 51st annual edition of Vinitaly, which took place on April 9–12 in Verona, attracted more than 128,000 visitors from 142 countries. Billed as the world’s leading wine fair in terms of exhibition space and the number of attending operators from the international trade, the show’s global position in the wine world continues to gain momentum.
When compared to the 2016 edition, attendance of international operators increased from the US (+6%), Germany (+3%), UK (+4%), China (+12%), Russia (+42%) and Brazil (+29%). Overall, foreign buyer attendance jumped up 8% over 2016 to 30,200 accredited international buyers.
The worldwide trend carried over to exhibitors, with more than 4,270 from 30 nations (up 4% overall when compared to last year’s Fair, with an increase of 74% of international firms).
Since the Fair is solely for the trade, to satisfy consumers Vinitaly’s organizers created a platform for wine lovers called Vinitaly and the City, which debuted in 2016. Set up in different venues in the historic center of Verona, this year’s Vinitaly and the City attracted some 35,000 wine drinkers who could choose between several different wine tasting events in Verona as well as in the nearby town of Bardolino.
Besides meetings and events at the show, there were a number of invitation-only gala dinners at wine estates outside of Verona, including Sunday night’s extravaganza at Allegrini’s Villa Della Torre. During the dinner, Marilisa Allegrini, the firm’s co-owner and CEO, welcomed Deborah Brenner, Founder and President of the Women of the Vine & Spirits (an association dedicated to the support and advancement of women in the alcohol beverage business), who officially announced the association’s expansion into Europe.
The nascent WOTVS European Advisory Board includes Marilisa Allegrini, Chief Executive Officer, Allegrini Estates, Margareth Henriquez, President & Chief Executive Officer, Krug Maison de Champagne, Stevie Kim, Managing Director, Vinitaly International, Beatrice Cointreau, Owner and Chief Executive Officer, ADMIRABLE Wines and Jancis Robinson, OBE, MW, Wine Critic, Journalist and Wine Writer.
Although Vinitaly is focused on business to business, outside of the Fair there was ample opportunity to unwind with colleagues, including Wine Enthusiast’s own cocktail party in the center of Verona on April 9th. More than 175 producers, importers and buyers attended, including Cristina Mariani-May, co-proprietor and co-CEO of Castello Banfi, Piero Antinori, President of the Marchesi Antinori firm, Renzo Cotarella, CEO and Chief Winemaker for Marchesi Antinori, Josè Rallo, co-owner and CEO of Donnafugata and Donatella Cinelli-Colombini, President of Le Donne del Vino and owner of Brunello firm Casato Prime Donne and Fattoria del Colle in Val d’Orcia.