ProWein, the world’s most important wine trade fair, has been cancelled in response to the spread of Covid-19.
Held in Düsseldorf each March, the fair brings together more than 6,900 exhibitors and around 61,500 visitors. Düsseldorf is the capital of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany’s most populous state and an infection hotspot – at the time of writing, 74 cases have been identified in the region.
"This decision was not an easy one for all concerned," says Thomas Geisel, Lord Mayor of the City of Düsseldorf and Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Messe Düsseldorf GmbH, the organisers of ProWein. "But the postponements at the present time are necessary for Messe Düsseldorf and its customers in view of the increasingly dynamic developments.”
ProWein is one of a number of trade fairs cancelled by Messe Düsseldorf, with others including Beauty, Top Hair and Energy Storage Europe. According to a statement from ProWein, Messe Düsseldorf is following the recommendation of the crisis management team of the German government and has taken the principles of the Robert Koch Institute when making a risk assessment of major events into account.
The Robert Koch Institute is Germany’s centre for disease control and prevention.
"Our customers, partners and employees trust us. Not only when it comes to the professional and successful handling of major international events in Düsseldorf. They can also have this trust in us when we make decisions about critical situations in the interests of their safety," said Werner M. Dornscheidt, CEO of Messe Düsseldorf GmbH.
Reaction on social media was immediate, with many praising ProWein for taking prompt action, while others wondered if they could get refunds on hotels and airline bookings. At least one airline has already said “no”.
“We currently do not offer free cancellation,” the twitter account of Eurowings announced in response to a query.
ProWein now joins the line-up of cancelled and postponed wine fairs, from Chengdu in China to ProWine Singapore. Vinitaly, which takes place in Verona in April, has not been cancelled. Vinexpo Hong Kong, which was due to take place in May, has been pushed back to July.
Messe Düsseldorf is currently working on an alternative date for the show.