Just a few thoughts after reading this interesting article by Reka Haros. This is Prowein 2016 seen from my point of view, as a buyer and a #winelover. Mostly as a buyer, as that is where my main focus is during these 3 days.
I went there again. Everything was well planned and I had a list with meetings booked for all 3 days, and a list of potential people I would like to meet with. Total was around 70 producers that could be of interest to the company I work for; Otto Suenson Wine. We mainly had meetings with current suppliers, where we enjoy that we can meet them each, or every second year here in Düsseldorf. So this is how most of our time is devoted; to current suppliers. The rest is on meetings with producers who approached me, or I found, before the fair. We have communicated before and now have a meeting set up. I will probably not stop at many producers stands where I don’t have an appointment. So the small producer, who spends around 10.000 euro on Prowein will have a very little chance of catching my attention.
I would love to add one more day just to stroll around and be inspired. I even dream of the year where I will book no meetings and just meet with friends and get new inspiration. Maybe spend a few hours tasting wines from Brasil and Uruguay. See what all the fuss is about in what we used to call Eastern Europe. The new wave of balanced wines from Australia that everyone is talking about, and also to see the huge potential in the wines of South Africa. The world of wine have so many corners I still have not experienced.
Do I like going to winefairs? Yes, I love it. It gives me the opportunity to meet many producers in a limited amount of time. I know I have to work many hours before the fair, to be organized. I also have to use many hours on follow up mails/phones in the weeks after the fair. For me this ads up to a good experience. I love meeting my producers, the winemakers, the rest of the trade and a whole bunch of other lovely people from the community.
I enjoyed this year the #winelover party, but otherwise I did not have much time to spend with friends. Most of the time, Prowein is business in the strict sense, where every minute counts.
What did I get out of Prowein 2016 as a buyer? I have not counted my meetings this year, but in 2015 it was 43 meetings in 3 days, which is about the same as this year. We set up some good agreements with current suppliers, made a few marketing plans, negotiated prices and made sure we have a good partnership with producers from Europe and abroad. I admit that we spend more than a day in hall 9, where we talked with suppliers from California, Chile, Argentina, Lebanon and Australia. Areas where we don’t have the same close contact as we do in Europe.
We spend very little time, close to nothing, in the Italian area. We will meet with all these lovely Italians next month in Vinitaly (YES – one more winefair!) France was probably not given the attention it deserved, but I’ve been to 2 other winefairs in France this year. We normally never buy wines on the fair, we have a tasting panel in the company where we taste everything before adding the wine to the portfolio.
So with the high prices for hotels etc during Prowein in Düsseldorf do we get our return of investment? Yes I really think so. When I sit in the plane home I feel confident we did a good job. I will be back next year, maybe with less meetings in the book and time to meet some of the undiscovered jewels in the corners.
A few extra pictures:
One thought on “Prowein 2016, as a buyer”
I discovered this post after reading the great article by Reka Haros and Marilena Barbera. Very interesting to read how you work as buyer when visiting wine fairs, and from other importers I know, the focus is to meet existing suppliers. As well meet new producers, but of course have meetings booked beforehand.
I work for a group of Italian producers, and during Vinitaly, one of them have decided to organize a wine tasting dinner Monday night outside Verona instead. With the rest, I am doing my best to book meetings at the fair. Like you are saying, without any meetings booked, it’s very difficult to get buyers to sit down and taste the wines.
Since you are going to Vinitaly, I need to ask you this. Are you all booked already, or are you open for meeting new producers? You are welcome to reply to firstname.lastname@example.org, and I can also tell more about ourselves.
Wish you a happy easter, and look forward to hear from you.