Q&A: Vinexpo CEO Robert Beynat

07 February, 2013
Robert Beynat

Robert Beynat

In the run up to wine show season, Hamish Smith catches up with Vinexpo CEO Robert Beynat. 

Key stats: Vinexpo Bordeaux 2013 will house 2,400 exhibitors in a 40,000 sq m space and will attract about 48,000 visitors, a similar number to 2011. 

HS: Does the frequency and progression of ProWein suggest that Vinexpo Bordeaux should become an annual event?

RB: We are not afraid about ProWein. Every two years is enough [for Vinexpo Bordeaux].  When people have to choose they choose Vinexpo. But we love competition – if not you never evolve.

HS: When was the last time you visited ProWein? 

RB: 10 years ago, but I have people that go. 

HS:  Many shows are adding to their conference and seminar programme – is this an area of importance for Vinexpo?

RB: Yes, if the subject can educate the exhibitor. But exhibitors do not want to go [to seminars] if they have three Chinese and two Brazilian buyers at their stand .

HS: Last year you cancelled the New York consumer show Rendezvous by Vinexpo, citing a paucity of exhibitors. What went wrong?

RB: The target was 120 producers as a minimum. We got 70. Vinexpo can not mix defeat with success [so we cancelled]. It’s very difficult to organise an event in the US.  They have a very specific system of distribution. There is terrific concentration [in the market]. Our exhibitors were also afraid about the [economic] crisis.

HS: Did the New York adventure damage the Vinexpo brand?

RB: No it’s the inverse. People say: ‘ Vinexpo tried to help us in this difficult market’.

HS: Your Hong Kong show, Vinexpo Asia Pacific, is growing 25% in visitors, show-on-show. What has been central to its success and how long before it is bigger than its parent show?

RB: “We are the biggest [in Asia] but we don’t want to extend too much. Hong Kong will stay only for the Asian market. We don’t want US buyers at the event. The exhibitors are there for the Chinese and the Japanese. [After visiting Vinexpo Asia Pacific] Asian visitors then want to  find out about the Bordeaux show."

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