[Note: The following post was originally published in Italian on 28 March 2013] I realise that it is a rhetorical question, but returning from Prowein and with Vinitaly on the near horizon, I find myself asking, as I have for a few years now, the same question over and over: are the wine industry fairs still necessary? Now that the internet has made the world smaller and producers are travelling more and more, I wonder whether these presentation venues are still needed. Personally speaking, I have always enjoyed Prowein and I continue to like it for its good organisation and the quality of the visitors, but it is also true that the number of new contacts made is increasingly smaller. In today’s world, if you want to find new clients, the fair alone is no longer enough; it has to be preceded by months if not years of work. At this time, the only fairs that guarantee new contacts are those held in the Far East, since it is a growing market – the big difficulty with this is however communication and assessing the seriousness of potential partner.
Increasingly often, importers and distributers are organising private annual events at hotels, open only to their own customers and with the producers themselves serving their own wines. This is an effective way of supporting the representatives of the businesses and is a way for the wine makers to have direct contact with end customers. Obviously, here we are talking about clients we already have, and not about new business contacts.
On the subject of finding new business partners, I think that the B2Bs are the most profitable in terms of the cost/risk ratio. They are organised at hotels and last around three days; normally, the producers are guaranteed 15-20 appointments of 20-25 minutes each with professionals from various places, with profiles that reflect the requirements of the wineries.
It is always necessary to assess costs, by now the fairs have become very expensive and the guarantee of new contacts is no longer guaranteed, while the B2Bs, when well-organised, can yield good results, especially for small businesses. This is my experience anyway and those are the thoughts I wanted to share with you. Below are some photos clients/friends who stopped by the Rivetto stand in Düsseldorf – thanks to everyone for coming and we are waiting for you in splendid Langa!