On May 15–17, 2022, ProWein, the international wine and spirits trade fair, returned to Messe Düsseldorf after a two-year, pandemic-related pause. Some 5,700 exhibitors from 62 countries filled the 13 halls attended by more than 38,000 members of the drinks trade from 145 countries.
Erhrd Wienkamp, the managing director of the exhibition hall, Messe Düsseldorf, is grateful to the exhibitors and attendees at ProWein 2022.
“Due to the Covid peak in the first quarter of the year, we had to postpone all our spring trade fairs to May and June, or cancel them completely,” says Wienkamp. And, as for those who stuck with ProWein? “Their commitment has paid off,” he says, noting that exhibitors had already closed deals.
Anne-Laure Rayne-Helfrich, marketing executive assistant at Les Grands Chais de France, echoes this sentiment.
“We are so delighted that things are finally get going again after three years and ProWein is being held in Düsseldorf,” says Rayne-Helfrich. “We succeeded in reaching out to our customers–especially the buyers from Europe, the USA and Africa–and concluding good business deals.”
The Messe Düsseldorf team credits this success rate to the nature of ProWein’s exhibitors and attendees. Two-thirds of the wine and spirits trade members who attend ProWein have decision-making capacities in their businesses, they say.
Rayne-Helfrich agrees. “To us, ProWein is also so relevant because we can reach our essential target groups here–in concrete terms, specialist retail and importers and exporters.”
For some attendees, the global scale of ProWein is especially significant.
“ProWein is the only international trade fair that covers the complete world market,” says Michael Degen, Messe Düsseldorf’s executive director. “Accordingly, the visitors are also international. Two-thirds of the 38,000 professionals from specialist retail, food retail and hospitality who traveled to ProWein in Dusseldorf come from abroad.”
This international scope is important to Udo Bruns, the director of international business for Semper idem Underberg AG.
“ProWein is the ideal platform for pursuing our globalization strategy,” says Bruns. “Düsseldorf’s global, no.1 trade fair for wines and spirits kicks off the international roll-out of our new corporate image while serving as a presentation platform for the latest developments in our brands Underberg, Asbach, PITÚ and XUXU.”
Sandro Sartor feels similarly. “For our business, this year’s ProWein has been very important,” he says. Sartor is the managing director of EMEA at Constellation Brands and holds the same title at Italy’s Ruffino. “We managed to conclude concrete deals with customers from Europe, the USA and even Korea.”
Monika Reule, the managing director of German Wine Institute (DWI), a ProWein sponsor, was pleased to welcome global visitors back to Messe Düsseldorf, noting “the quality of international trade visitors, who hailed predominantly from the European region,” as well as the venue itself. “The new hall concept has contributed to more time and quietness for talks with customers and made for a very professional atmosphere overall.”
The event made a similar impression on Miguel A. Torres, the fourth-generation president of Familia Torres. “For us, this year’s ProWein has presented a very high-quality level. The new hall concept has contributed to a more relaxed and yet very professional atmosphere overall. We also clearly noticed this during talks with our customers.”
After a long hiatus, attendees and exhibitors alike appreciated the opportunity for face-to-face interactions.
“The German exhibitors were happy to have personal conversations with their customers again,” says Reule. DWI presenters focused on the country’s 2021 white wine vintages, she says, “which were received very well by both German and international wine experts.”
Theresa Olkus, managing director of VDP, feels the return to in-person interactions had several benefits.
“After two years of pandemic, there were fewer but very interested and above all selected, high-quality trade visitors at the trade fair so there was more room and more time for in-depth conversations,” says Olkus. “What remains in the end, however, is that despite a lot of change and the creativity required for new concepts, personal contact is irreplaceable and that the reunion of VDP vintners with international friends on German soil is center stage.”
The next ProWein in Dusseldorf, Germany is scheduled for March 19-21, 2023. There is also an event scheduled for Hong Kong, May 10–12, 2023. In the meantime, the international portfolio of trade fairs will take place in Singapore (September 5–8, 2022); Sao Paulo (September 27–29, 2022); Mumbai (October 17–18, 2022); and Shanghai (November 8–10, 2022).