Some 125,000 trade members attended this year’s Vinitaly, held in Verona from April 7–10, including 33,000 international buyers. More than 4,600 companies—the most that has ever attended the event—filled the 1,076,391-square-foot exhibition space, according to Maurizio Danese, president of Veronafiere.
And the show’s gala dinner, Ornellaia was honored with the Vinitaly International Award for their excellent production of Italy’s cult classic, Ornellaia Bolgheri Rosso. Aimed to honor the top names in wine, the Vinitaly International Award was also granted to Leon Liang, a passionate promoter of Italian wine and co-founder of GRAPEA Institute, an important wine school in China. Demei Li, China’s leading enologist credited with improving quality at Chinese wineries and an associate professor at Beijing University of Agriculture, also received the honor.
Ornellaia, Liang and Li are in distinguished company. Previous honorees include Marchesi Antinori, Vittorio Moretti, the Biondi Santi Family and Livio Felluga. Past international award winners include E & J Gallo Winery, Hugh Johnson, Zind Humbrecht and Kendall-Jackson.
But the big news at the show?
Veronafiere SpA, the company that produces Vinitaly, announced it had struck a deal with Shenzhen Taoshow Culture & Media to launch a multi-channel platform called Wine to Asia. The platform, which will support marketing, sales, road shows, trade shows and events both on- and off-line, will be up and running in 2020 and is expected to reach a $7.2 billion Asian market.
“It only need be mentioned global demand for wine in the Far East is worth 6.4 billion euros ($7.23 billion) of imports and is moving close to North American, where imports come to 6.95 billion euros ($7.86 billion),” said Danese.
Shenzhen was the selected because they have “achieved the highest rates for economic growth in China over the last 20 years,” said Giovanni Mantovani, CEO of Veronafiere. He noted the city was home to 30 percent of China’s wine importers.