FRANCE: Wine producers mull Vinexpo abandonment
A breakaway faction of New World wine producers is considering abandoning Vinexpo's flagship event in favour of an alternative show elsewhere in Europe.
Representatives from the generic associations of Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, California, Chile and Argentina have met to discuss their dissatisfaction with the biennial Bordeaux trade fair, which they believe is skewed in favour of France.
They are also unhappy about a series of recent problems with the show's organisation, including an air conditioning failure during the heatwave of 2003, which affected producers from South Africa, Australia and New Zealand in particular.
"There's been an idea put forward that the New World get together to do a show that's an alternative to Vinexpo," said one leading New World wine industry figure, who declined to be named.
"It's been driven by a level of dissatisfaction from the New World producers that the experience they get at Vinexpo isn't as good as it should be. But so far it's research only - no decisions have been made."
An email sent to key wine industry figures in the name of "The Consortium of New World Wine Producers" puts forward the idea of a New World show "in a major European city" just before Vinexpo's 2009 Bordeaux event. As an alternative, it mentions the possibility of a three-day event in London during the autumn.
Vinexpo chief executive Robert Beynat told just-drinks today (19 May) that he did not fear the prospect of the alternative event, and was confident that New World countries would still come to Bordeaux.
"This is something made by a small number of correspondents in London and we don't worry about that," he said. "Next week all of these countries will be in Hong Kong. We have to now forget this opposition between Old and New World wines. I consider New World to be China and India and that is it. It may have an impact on the London Wine Fair but when producers see small wine fairs, then they will want to see the larger ones and they will want more square metres."
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