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Vinexpo CEO: the time of ProWein vs Vinexpo ‘is over’

The Be Spirits arm of Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris doubled in size this year, and CEO Rodolphe Lameyse is confident the show has grown into a globally respected entity.

Vinexpo Paris 2024
Rodolphe Lameyse speaking during the V d’Or awards

Vinexpo Paris has been taking place in Paris this week (12-14 February) – with a Be Spirits hall twice the size of the 2023 section.

Asked whether he felt pressure from the development of a dedicated spirits section at ProWein this year, ProSpirits, Lameyse stated: “No, I don’t feel pressure because I don’t look at that.”

He continued: “I played that game too at the very beginning about us versus Prowein because it was necessary. The company [Vinexpo] was far behind. We wanted to pay more attention.

“This time is over. We are a decent show – and I think there is room for everybody. I’m interested in what we do and why we do it.

“Yes, I feel the demand growing further year after year. This year was important and next year we will change all over again. It’s getting bigger. We have the interest.”

Official numbers from this year’s Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris event will not be confirmed until the end of the third and final day today (14 February).

However, Lameyse shared that the percentage split between international visitors and local guests on the opening day of the show had increased from roughly 20%-80% in 2023 to 40%-60%.

Plans have already been agreed to grow the show further for the next two years, as Lameyse prepares for future demand.

Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris will remain at the Paris Expo Porte de Versailles venue in the French capital, with an even greater number of halls. Hall 7, which housed this year’s Be Spirits space, will cover a trio of floors next year.

Be Spirits will move to the larger Hall 5. Lameyse has been vocal in the past about how the spirits sector is better able to connect with younger audiences of legal-drinking age, more so than wine.

Asked what it was that the spirits category was doing well, he highlighted about the show: “The dress code [for spirits] is very different, you see tattoos out. [The spirits hall] is also very quiet in the morning, loud in the afternoon. Look at the age of people here than in wine, it’s very different.”

Lameyse also added that the invitation-only V d’Or awards would return next year – but he noted: “For once, I want something exclusive. It won’t reach 500 [people], 300 is the limit. I want to keep it very high end, very exclusive and manageable.”

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