The organisers of wine trade fair Vinexpo today reacted to just-drinks' report last week that a number of New World wine players have pulled out of this year's event.
 
A statement from Vinexpo's organisers said: "Californian wines will be present but E&J Gallo will not be participating. This is due to internal factors, about which Vinexpo is unable to comment. The company has, however, shown interest for 2007."
 
The statement added: "Wines of South Africa will not be participating. However, leading brands such as Western Wines and Distell will be present. The surface area devoted to South African wines will be approximately half of that in 2003. It should be remembered that there have been cuts in government subsidies to the wine sector in South Africa, which have resulted in a reduced spend on promotion.
 
"New Zealand Wine Growers will not indeed be taking up the 140sq m they had in 2003. However the generic body, since 1999 when it started to exhibit at Vinexpo, has always increased or decreased its presence according to the volume of wine available. New Zealand wines will be present through importers.
 
"Finally, Australia. Vinexpo has been aware for several months that The Australian Wine Bureau would not exhibit. However as the just-drinks.com article says, Australian wines will be present through major brands such as Constellation and through Austrade," the statement said.
 
Vinexpo said it also wished to comment on rumours that the US publication, Wine Spectator, will not be participating in Vinexpo 2005. "These are totally unfounded," it said.    
 
An article in these pages on Friday reported that rising costs and the problems with air conditioning at 2003's event had contributed to the decision by some players not to attend Vinexpo this year.

Vinexpo concluded its statement by saying: "Following the breakdown of the air conditioning in Hall 3 in 2003, all exhibitors who were affected have received compensation. A brand new exhibition hall, Hall 3, has been built to replace the former structure. The hall will host exhibitors from Vinexpo and not from the new exhibition, Univers & Co by Vinexpo, as was mentioned in a second article, dated 4th February, on the just-drinks.com site."
 
Vinexpo 2005 will have exactly the same surface area as in 2003, i.e. 41,500 sqm.