French President François Hollande Opens Vinexpo Bordeaux;
U.S. Wine and Spirits Industry a Major Highlight of the International Program
Prominent U.S. producers from California and beyond share first impressions from the expo
BORDEAUX, FRANCE – June 14, 2015 – Over 50,000 wine and spirits professionals have converged in Bordeaux, France for Vinexpo 2015, connecting 2,350 exhibitors from 42 countries with importers, wholesalers, buyers and retailers for five days of intense business. The U.S. industry has a prominent role this year, named Vinexpo’s first-ever “Country of Honor,” with American heavyweights like the Napa Valley Vintners association and Wine Institute of California on showcase, and programming by Wine Spectator, expertly mixed cocktails at Spiritual bar by the United States Bartenders’ Guild and more. Today’s debut received an auspicious start thanks to French President François Hollande, who joined Vinexpo Chairman Xavier de Eizaguirre for the inauguration at Parc des Expositions, near France’s most storied wine country.
President Hollande remarked, “Today, Bordeaux is not just the capital of a region, it’s an exhibiting site for France, the capital of the world for wine and spirits.”
Chairman de Eizaguirre added, “In less than 40 years, the United States has become the fourth largest producer and the largest wine consuming country in the world. This is among the reasons it was chosen as the country of honor for Vinexpo Bordeaux’s 18th year.”
Early Expo Insights from American Producers
The California contingency – collaborating in a premier spot in the center of the exhibition floor – expressed excitement for the first day’s progress and the week ahead, with high expectations to meet their global business objectives in Bordeaux. Connecting with Canada and Scandinavia appear to be a shared focus amongst many American companies.
Honig Vineyard and Winery – known as an industry leader in the green winery movement – is looking to forge new connections in Sweden, Mexico and Norway during its time in Bordeaux, according to Stephanie Honig, director of sales and public relations. She added, “We’ve presented our wines through Vinexpo Hong Kong, but this is our first time in Bordeaux. It’s important that we really build Napa Valley as a brand, increase Honig Vineyard’s visibility and put it in front of key trade worldwide.”
Ray Signorello, Jr. of Napa Valley’s Signorello Estate is another newcomer to Vinexpo Bordeaux and used the words “grand” and “overwhelming” to describe his first impressions of the expo. Noting his region’s excellent 2012 through 2014 vintages, he remarked, “It’s a smart time to showcase Napa Valley with important export targets like Canada and Asia, and also the U.K., where we’re about to have a new presence.”
Paul L. Leary, president of Blackbird Vineyards, is eager to meet with visitors from Scandinavia and Holland, and also expects to strengthen relationships with his top four export markets, Canada, Asia/Hong Kong, Southeast Asia and Germany. Leary was attracted to Vinexpo Bordeaux because of Napa Valley Vintners strong commitment to the 2015 program, giving Blackbird Vineyards an opportunity to put its brand front-and-center. The winery is presenting four of its signature Cabernet Franc and Merlot blends at Vinexpo Bordeaux, including three reds and a rose, produced in the French saignée method.
Markus Volk, sales director, Europe, for Constellation Brands, which manages California-based wineries including Sonoma’s Ravenswood and Napa Valley’s Robert Mondavi Winery, mentioned, “there is growing interest in our U.S. brands in Europe. Vinexpo Bordeaux gives us an opportunity to reach important markets for our business, such as Canada and Eastern Europe.” Constellation is pre-releasing Robert Mondavi’s 2012 To Kalon Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve at Vinexpo, which will formally debut for the public Aug. 2015.
Proprietor Herta Peju of Rutherford, California’s Peju Province Winery commented, “Vinexpo is the place to be.” The family-run Peju has focused on expansion over the last year, acquiring a fourth vineyard in Sept. 2014 in Napa’s Oakville region.
From the spirits world, Even Kulsveen, distillery manager for Kentucky Bourbon, is a regular presence in Bordeaux and added, “Vinexpo really gives us insight into new markets that are emerging that we wouldn’t otherwise get. For instance, we do business now with Israel and Ukraine, which just wouldn’t have happened unless we’d been at Vinexpo. It’s the only Europe show that we attend and it helps us plan ahead for trends in future markets.”
Founded in 1981, Vinexpo has evolved into the world’s leading show for wine and spirits professionals and a partner for the wine and spirits industry worldwide. Vinexpo is held in Bordeaux in odd-numbered years; since 2006, Vinexpo Asia-Pacific has taken place in Hong Kong in even-numbered years and has become the key exhibition of the industry in Asia. Before each exhibition, Vinexpo commissions studies on industry-specific issues and presents the findings in conferences around the world. Since 1999, it has produced a world market study with a five-year outlook, as well as a variety of trend reports. For more information, visit www.vinexpo.com.