Gone is the criticism of the postponed date. Now anticipation is the order of the day. The last few weeks have already shown that internationally, trade fairs are possible again, even without compulsory masks, such as at the French event Les Découvertes en Vallée du Rhône. And ProWein, too, has only recently decided to similarly drop all its requirements for protective masks and measures. The Corona rules have been abolished, keeping a distance of 1.5 metres is no longer compulsory, and instead of wearing masks and maintaining distance is optional.
More Space, Fewer People?
In addition, there will be more space: three more halls will be used. The exhibitor area, on the other hand, has decreased and, at 70,000 square metres is 4,000 square metres less than in 2019, the last active ProWein year. This is to allow exhibitors and visitors to spread out generously. It is unclear how many visitors there will be this year. In 2019 there were 61,500.
What is known, however, is the number of exhibitors: 5,500 compared to 6,900 in 2019, a decline that was to be expected after two years without a trade fair. Perhaps many companies have survived in a surprisingly positive manner, enough to be completely foregoing the trip to Düsseldorf this year.
Or another decisive factor: the date shift to May, when most business is already done. And, not to forget, the still uncertain virus situation, which may have deterred some from attending. So, all in all there will be fewer people in the halls of Messe Düsseldorf.
Distance and Hygiene Remain the Trump Cards
To make sure attendees still feel as safe as possible, there are some hygiene measures in place: disinfectant dispensers, regulars cleaning of contact surfaces, distance markings for those who want to keep their distance, air filters, hot-rinsed glasses and so on and so forth....
The main aisles are much wider than before because the organisers didn't know which Corona protection regulations would be relevant when planning the event. What was an obligation under the conditions at the time of planning is now a voluntary option. “Of course, it would be nonsense to say now: Because we are allowed to, we are making the aisles narrower,'" adds Michael Degen from Messe Düsseldorf in an interview with Wine Business International and Weinwirtschaft.
No matter how big and crowded the fair will be this year, there will be plenty on offer for those who come.
- Champagne Lounge
A popular classic is the Champagne Lounge in Hall 9, where 150 exhibitors present their products: from traditional Champagne houses to smaller artisan producers, everything is there, including the corresponding Champagne and wine suppliers for on-trade and off-trade.
- MUNDUS VINI
The international wine competition MUNDUS VINI is - of course - also represented again. However, the tasting concept has been adapted: Where there used to be self-service - and thus sometimes a big crowd - you can now comfortably step up to one of the four tasting counters, order the wines of your choice and taste them at your leisure. You can choose from 350 award-winning wines of the MUNDUS VINI Spring Tasting. The wine lists are available on site (4 A19).
- "Same but different"
Another classic, with which the fair proves that it has long since ceased to stand exclusively for wine, is the "same but different" trend show. For the third time, the theme of Craft Spirits, Craft Beer & Cider will be the special focus at ProWein. 120 exhibitors from 24 countries will present selected spirits, beers and ciders in Hall 7.0. With around 106 exhibitors, Craft Spirits will occupy the largest space, followed by 8 cider exhibitors and 6 breweries.
- Packaging and Design
The focus in Hall 5 will be on packaging and design, a subject area that is receiving a lot of attention today and will also in the future against the backdrop of climate change, take for example, lightweight glass bottles.
- Organic Wines
Climate change is also the subject of Organic World, which is also located in Hall 5. Around 40 exhibitors will be showing their organic products on stands A11-40. The most important trade associations such as Ecovin (5 C35), Bioland (5 C15), Demeter (5 C20) as well as the French Vignerons de Nature (5 B49) and the Italian Consorzio Vignaioli Del Trentino (5 C25) will be there.
Halls 1/4/5: Focus on Germany and Austria
The significantly airier layout means that many themes will be spread across several halls. In Halls 1, 4 and 5, for example, the focus will be on Germany and Austria. But the "rest of Europe" will also be there, specifically Luxembourg (4 C35), Switzerland with Swiss Wine (4 C50), Belgium with the Belgische Wijnbouwers (4 D34) and England with the Overseas Fairs Division, the UK group stand (4 E 29).
German exhibitors are mainly to be found in Halls 1 and 4, of which a total of 700 are exhibiting this year and together occupy 13,000 square metres of exhibition space, not quite a fifth of the total exhibitor space. In 2019, there were 1,000 German exhibitors occupying 19,500 square metres, around a quarter of the space. Germany thus occupies third place at ProWein.
At ProWein for the first time under a new name is the Association of Traditional Sparkling Wine Makers (Verband traditioneller Sektmacher) (1 A70), formerly the Association of Traditional Bottle Fermenters (Verband der traditionellen Flaschengärer). The trendy theme of German bottle-fermented sparkling wine will certainly also play a role at the VDP (1 A117), which is focusing attention on its new sparkling wine classification this year.
Almost all German wine-growing regions will be represented with joint stands, only Franconia (Franken) will not be present as a region: Rheingau with the promoter Rheingauer Weinwerbung GmbH (1 B10), Nahe with the organisation Weinland Nahe (1 A10), Baden with Badischer Wein GmbH (1 C80) and Weinland Baden GmbH (1 C90), Mosel with Moselwein e. V. (1 C100), Rheinhessen with Rheinhessenwein e.V. (1 C60) and Pfalz with Pfalzwein e.V. (1 E08).
Important importers and distributors are also to be found here, such as Schlumberger (4 E40), the organic specialists Peter Riegel Weinimport (4 C59) and Vinaturel (4 C40), Weinstraße Adolph (4 D40) as well as large producers such as Les Grands Chais de France (4 E10), Henkell & Co Sektkellerei (4 E20), Moselland (1 E100) or Lenz Moser (4 B10).
Austria has found its home in Hall 5 with 274 exhibitors. The Austrian Chamber of Commerce, Advantage Austria is organising a large joint stand (5 L40). Also present on site is Österreich Wein Marketing GmbH (5 L20). At its stand, it offers several master classes, e.g. on individual regions, grape varieties or on aged wines.
Hall 4 is also the ProWein home of Meininger Verlag. At stand A20 this year there will be tastings on the topics of champagne, German bottle-fermented sparkling wine, Douro Valley, Greece and non-alcoholic wines, among others.
Halls 9/10/11: Focus on France
The French are in pole position in terms of trade fairs this year. Not because of their placement at ProWein, but because, daringly but successfully, they have pulled off their relatively new, combined trade fair format - Wine Paris/Vinexpo Paris - in February despite rising Covid numbers. But the French - bien sûr - can't do without ProWein either. Therefore, 1,100 exhibitors from France - the second largest group after Italy - will find their way to Düsseldorf this year.
The most important producers and distributors can be found in the three halls 9-11. For example, the new cooperative giant Cordier by Invivo (9 D71), large-scale producer Gérard Betrand (10 H19), German distributors and agencies such as Vinergie (9 D89) or also Veritable Vins & Domaines (9 D90).
Business France, the state economic and export agency of the Grande Nation, will be represented in Halls 10 and 11 on 5,700 square metres with the most important regional agencies: Association Interloire (10 H60), Centre - Val de Loire (10 H56), Vins de Provence (10 E30), Inter Rhône (10 G67), Inter Beaujolais (10 F74), Sud de France (10 C66), Food Loire (10 H56) and the Chamber of Commerce of the Bourgogne-Franche-Comté Region (10 J25).
Hall 11: Focus on Spirits, Central and Eastern Europe
Hall 11 is also about high-proof spirits: big players like Diageo (11 H63) or Grupo Osborne (11 G50), brand experts like Kanlaon Limited, who produce the trendy rum Don Papa (11 E50), or the German distillery and import company Felix Rauter (11 H43).
There has been a lot going on in the wine-growing countries of Central and Eastern Europe lately. Exciting wines from large and small, conventional and biodynamic producers with mainstream as well as niche products have been discovered in recent years. Therefore, it is worth going to one of the numerous joint stands with which the countries still flying below the radar are represented.
Hall 12: Focus on the New World
400 exhibitors from overseas wine countries will travel to Düsseldorf. The three big regional representatives of the US wine industry are there, of course: the California Wine Institute (12 E26-4), Washington State Wine (12 D50) and the Oregon Wine Board (12 F50). Their northern neighbour Canada is also represented with Wines of Canada (12 A40).
Besides Wines of Argentina (12 A62- A70) and Wines of Chile (12 D60, D70, E70), South America is represented by numerous big players and premium producers, such as Viña Errazuriz (12 E89), Viña Concha y Toro (12 G70) or Familia Zuccardi (12 A54). This year, however, these two countries are the only ones in the southern hemisphere to be represented with large joint stands.
Neither New Zealand Wines nor Wine Australia will be travelling. And Wines of South Africa - which was present at the last fair in 2019 with a 600-square-metre joint stand and 100 exhibitors - has also decided against a ProWein presence in 2022. The reason: high planning uncertainty and the resulting financial risk.
23 individual South African exhibitors will be present in Hall 12 this year. From New Zealand, the two large producers Marisco Vineyards (12 A06) and Villa Maria (12 A09) will be there. The Australian wine giant Treasury Wines does not have its own stand, but its top brand Penfolds can be visited at the fair (4 E23). Other international heavyweights will of course not be missing: Constellation Brands, for example, resides at stand 12 E10, Accolade Wines can be found at stand 12 A02.
Halls 13/14: Focus on Portugal and Spain, International Importers
Halls 15/16/17: Focus on Italy and Greece
Italy is only to be found at the end of our tour of the halls - but it is well represented: With 1,400 exhibitors, it is number one and occupies more than a fifth of the total area (15,500 m.). Of course, Italy's regions will be represented with large joint stands, for example Abruzzo (17 F05), Piedmont (15 A41), Puglia (17 E19), Sicily (17 A19) or South Tyrol (15 E71). Other regions, such as Veneto or Tuscany, have several stands where the consortia present their respective appellations.
Greece is represented by Enterprise Greece and will exclusively show the country's wines in Hall 17 (17 F39-K38). If you are interested in spirits from Greece, you will find Ouzo and other spirits in Hall 11 E42.
Although there are fewer exhibitors and, as expected, fewer visitors, the first glance at the fair programme and hall plan is convincing. The enlargement of the area allows considerably more distance, so that crowded stands are at best a thing of the past. How much the absence of the joint stands of some large wine-growing countries will be noticeable will be seen on site.