Mixed reviews of Vinexpo 2013 as Beynat bids farewell

Exhibitors offered a mixed appraisal of Vinexpo 2013, the last Bordeaux show of Robert Beynat’s reign as CEO.

The show, which today closed its doors for another two years, attracted an estimated 48,800 visitors from 148 countries.

Thomas Seiter, international director of H Mounier, said his company's expenditure at the show had amounted to about €100,000 and doubted that attending Vinexpo was profitable.

“Vinexpo Bordeaux is 90% PR,” said Setier. “There is a reason why the big names are not here: Cognac’s big markets are in Asia. If I have to spend money it would be at Vinexpo Hong Kong, which is more business orientated. We do generate contacts here but the new business does not cover the costs.”

Chateaux & Terroirs managing director Frederic Raynaud said “the best show in Europe is Prowein” and added he plans to scale back the size of his stand next time, in favour of the German show because “Vinexpo is expensive”.

He added: “People say that you do business at Prowein and at Vinexpo you just party.”

Beynat rejected exhibitors’ criticism that French brands now attend the show for social and political, not business reasons.

He said: “It’s nothing to do with diplomacy and politics. Vinexpo Bordeaux has never been a fair – it’s a place to prepare business for the next year – to speak about strategy, bottle labels and vintage. Without Vinexpo there is nothing.”

The 65-year old will leave his role before the 2015 edition of the show after 30-plus years at the helm. He is mooted to be taking up a role in Asia where the show is rolling-out from Hong Kong to incorporate events in Beijing and Tokyo.

He added: “If you do not exhibit at the Bordeaux show you cannot exhibit at the Hong Kong show. Bordeaux will always be the mother show.”

Jan Pettersen, managing director of Fernando and Castilla offered a more positive assessment of the 2013 show: “We have been coming to Vinexpo since 1983. The number of international visitors [this year] is impressive.”

About 40% of visitors came from outside France this year, organisers said.