Nineteen well-known French wine cooperatives launched a new trade fair Paris on 27 and 28 September, with The Wine Rendez-Vous.
The B2B event, held at the Pullmann Eiffel hotel, with the Eiffel Tower as a backdrop, was organised in partnership with Business France, and aimed primarily at international buyers. It attracted some 120 buyers from around 20 European countries, USA, Canada and Asia.
Among the cooperatives represented were Plaimont, Marrenon, Cellier des Princes, Alliance Loire, Vinovalie, La Compagnie Burgondie.
According to Pierre Cohen, director of the Cellier des Princes cooperative and head of the event committee, the aim is to re-establish personal contact with customers after all the restrictions caused by the pandemic.
The timing was not chosen by chance, as Cohen stresses: "Since a particularly weak harvest is expected for 2021, it is the ideal time to talk about [it] and…the availability of the products early on. It's also often the time when buyers are thinking about restocking or making contacts."
Harvest expectations were described by the cooperatives as ‘heterogenous’. While at the Alliance Loire certain parcels are showing falls in production of around 30 per cent, others have fared better. The picture is the same in the Rhône Valley, while at Plaimont and Vinovalie in the southwest, there was a partial 45 percent drop in volume. At Cave d'Aléria in Corsica, on the other hand, there were no losses that could be linked to the weather. Despite the certainty of a smaller French crop than usual, the mood was generally positive.
Both organisers and buyers were also very satisfied with the new initiative, which will be repeated next year. As Jochen Sammüller, purchasing manager at Schenk, one of Europe’s biggest distributors said "The fair allows me to meet many suppliers I haven't seen for a long time. The crisis has been very challenging for all of us in terms of communicating with each other. The standard of the wines is very high and the timing very well chosen, especially in view of the current, difficult harvest,"