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ProWein 2024: the key theme is sustainability.

I have been participating in ProWein for over twenty years and I have seen it grow and transform from a fair for the first wine world import market to a reference event for the global wine business where trends in the sector are discussed, and sometimes launched.

The question that almost everyone in the wine sector is asking today is “Will our heroes manage to confirm themselves as the leaders among international wine fairs?”

The last two editions have been a bit bumpy for reasons beyond the control of Messe Dusseldorf: first COVID and then, last year, the local transport strike which made arriving at the fair complicated (even though I personally found immediate and efficient replacement buses).

This year the Lufthansa ground services unions also got involved with the strike declared for today and tomorrow (I never would have believed that they would lead me to buy the first ITA Airways flight in my life).

Above all, the role of ProWein is called into question by the growth of Wine Paris – Vinexpo Paris which is demonstrating its desire to bring forward a much more international vision regarding exhibitors than Bordeaux did.

In the last two weeks I personally have heard from several Italian practiotioners who have decided to skip Dusseldorf this year. These are above all people not directly involved in the commercial aspects of the winery, who will therefore be present, but who in any case participated in previous years even just to touch the pulse of the market. Then there are independent operators, freelancers and opinion leaders, who believe that the “game is not worth the risk”, also considering the costs of hotels in Dusseldorf during the fair.

ProWein responds (even if the term is a misnomer given that the program was defined well before the exploit of Wine Paris) with an extremely rich “bill” which sees 5,322 exhibitors who will bring 13,376 to the fair and will organize over 600 events in the three days between on March 10 and 12.

Above all, it maintains its characteristic open-mindedness which allows it to grasp trending themes, whether it is organic wines with the Organic World section dedicated to organic wines, organized for 14 years now, or the ProWein Zero area inaugurated last year to give visibility to the proposals of low or 0 alcohol wines.

ProWein therefore confirms itself as a fair driven more by the market than by production, therefore in 2024 it improves and increases the spaces dedicated to liqueurs and spirits and has set sustainability as its key theme.

It is worth remembering that sustainability is not just a nice principle, while is becoming a crucial element of business every day. Suffice it to say that the Swedish monopoly Systembolaget has already set 2045 as the year in which to achieve carbon neutrality.

In pursuing the theme of sustainability, Prowein 2024 will carry out some specific actions:

– Participation for the first time of the IWCG – International Wineries for Climate Change, an association that brings together around 50 wine producing companies and 139 winemakers around the world.

The association was founded by the Torres and Jackson families, heads of important winemaking groups in Spain and California respectively. The IWCA’s goal is to reduce carbon emissions related to wine production by establishing a global standard for decarbonization. For this reason, since its foundation in 2019 it has experimented with techniques and processes from which the IWCA certification was developed, already recognized internationally.

– Second edition of the “Sustainable Wine Roundtable” (SWR), an initiative that has more than 70 members around the world who operate along the entire production and distribution chain.

Production, distribution, logistics and research integrated in a vision that aims to develop shared measures regarding the use of synthetic chemistry, worker conditions, packaging, and logistics in order to make the sector more sustainable at 360°.

– Participation for the second time of the “Zukunfteweine Initiative”, a German association whose name can be roughly translated as “Wine Initiative of the Future”, which is dedicated to the production and promotion of PiWis wines, which are genetically resistant to fungal diseases.

The association now has 60 members in Germany and was awarded the German Sustainability Award.

Sustainability also includes the theme of digitalisation, which will be addressed at the Meininger’s Wine Conference organized the day before the opening of the fair and where we were kindly invited to present the Vinophila Wine Expo case.

I’m leaving tomorrow, when I get back I’ll tell you what I saw.

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