The announcement by Messe Dusseldorf that ProWein would be held on May 15-17 was not well received in the UK. Not only did the dates clash directly with the annual slot traditionally occupied by the London Wine Fair, but Hannah Tovey, the organiser of that event, felt personally snubbed by the lack of response from her German counterparts to her attempts to discuss the issue before they took their decision.
For many in Britain, Messe Dusseldorf were at the very least, being disrespectful to the London Fair. Some went further and suggested that the Germans were deliberately trying to sabotage a rival. In a UK that is still coming to terms with - and (re-)negotiating - its departure from the EU, this mood of victimhood is not uncommon.
Explanations that ProWein was just one of five similarly-sized, multi-hall, fairs Messe Dusseldorf had to shift in its already-crowded schedule were shrugged aside.
The new announcement that the London fair is now to be held on June 7-9, wlll, however, be widely welcomed.
The British event may have far less global impact in its scope than it enjoyed in its 1990s heyday when its name included the word 'International' and one visitor in five travelled to London to attend, but it remains an invaluable means to find and support distribution in one of the world's major markets.
Brexit has changed the way wine is imported from the EU and brought new trade agreements with countries such as Australia. Now, there is also the prospect of a radically new duty regime based on alcoholic strength. So, there is much to discuss and bridges to build or strengthen after two years of contact that has been largely restricted to Zoom. So, it is expected that many producers will be finding the time to travel to London.
When ProWein returns to its traditional March dates, the London event will probably also move back to May. Unless, of course, it is decided that summertime in London is an ideal time for a wine trade fair.