June 29, 2009
just-drinks.com editor's weekly highlights
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Vinexpo, which took over the city of Bordeaux for five days last week, continues to divide opinion in the world of wine and spirits.
New World antipathy towards the biennial event was highlighted by the marked lack of Australian and New Zealand accents. South Africa put in a fringe appearance, with Chile, Argentina and California's Napa Valley there in only slightly greater numbers.
Organisers, naturally, argued that all stand space was sold and that a record number of new countries, such as Egypt and Madagascar, turned out. Critics retorted that a large number of “strategically-placed” plants had reduced the space available for sale.
While just-drinks won't take either side on this one, it seems only sensible to question how long Vinexpo can maintain its reputation as the biggest and most important of the world's wine shows when Australia, still the world's fourth largest exporter, and Constellation Brands, the world's largest wine company, do not take part.
Perhaps more Antipodean wine firms will attend Vinexpo Asia-Pacific next year, in a nod to the growing Chinese market.
The shadow of the economic downturn doubtless created a more subdued atmosphere at last week's show, but organisers were relieved to find visitor numbers at around 47,000, only slightly down on the 50,000 from 2007.
Anheuser-Busch InBev, meanwhile, denied claims that it is looking at ways of consolidating its distribution network in the US, while over in Asia-Pacific, Diageo confirmed a change of leadership for its unit in the area.
A busy week all around the world, then, it would seem.
Until next time...
Olly Wehring, Managing Editor
Did you know? The top three spirits categories are: Chinese spirits (607m cases, 27% global share), vodka (501m cases, 22.3% share) and shochu/soju (255.6m cases, 11.4% share).
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