Meininger’s International Conference is normally an upmarket affair, held in the conference room of the Hotel InterContinental in Dusseldorf, on the Saturday before ProWein begins. The audience sit at rows of tables that are well-stocked with drinks of all kinds, notebooks and pens and, of course, the obligatory mints. Lunch is a lavish buffet put together by the hotel chefs and served in a luxurious dining room.
This year, the water and apple juice were on the table, as usual, but everyone sat alone, the tables properly socially distanced from one another. It was held at the CCD Congress Center, Düsseldorf, part of the complex where ProWein itself is usually held. And it took place in early October, instead of March.
Welcome to running a conference in a pandemic. There was something slightly spooky about being on the grounds of Messe Dusseldorf, with nobody queuing for the cloak rooms, or running at top speed for an appointment.
But the speakers were excellent, as usual, and the insights on the topic of the younger generation in Germany and their relationship with wine were penetrating – even if the conversation was dominated by Covid-19.