I have often visited the large European trade shows, but was a little reluctant to take Mirabeau to the massive Prowein trade fair in Düsseldorf. After all we are trying to do things differently at Mirabeau and Prowein seemed to be doing just the same as all the other wine producers – standing behind a stall, hoping for a major buyer to stumble upon you and fall in love with your wines.
ProWein is one of the major trade shows and this year the three-day fair hosted 4,783 exhibitors from 48 countries and more than 44,000 trade visitors. So we felt like a gnat in a hurricane, jostling for attention with everyone else. Having said that, we were in a ‘new’ hall for Prowein, upstairs in Hall 7.1 (which was above Hall 7 and nowhere near Halls 7a or 7b) so no one could find us anyway – so it didn’t feel that busy.
Having said that, we had managed to pre-arrange several meetings with buyers from the US, Norway, Sweden, Germany, the UAE and the UK so we had lots to do. But all of my ‘cold-emails’ trying to solicit meetings from key European buyers went unanswered, which was rather disconcerting. But I understood from one of the buyers that, in the run-up to Prowein, he was typically receiving 150 emails per day inviting him to meet a producer on their stand. No wonder we didn’t get any responses and this further reinforces my reluctance to invest in the same areas as everyone else.
One of the highlights was entering Mirabeau into a new ‘Winestars World’ competition – which is a cross between X-Factor and Dragons Den and we were one of the winning finalists in that, which was great. More on that in another Blog.
So, all-in-all it was worthwhile and a lot of fun. It was nice to ‘work the stand’ with Jeany and Ninie and we picked up some very useful contacts that we wouldn’t have otherwise made.
Will we do it again? I think we probably will actually, especially if we can be in a better hall and amongst the other Provence wine producers. As much as I like to do things differently, there are certain bases that have to be covered, and doing a trade fair with the magnitude of importance that Prowein holds will probably make it an annual pilgrimage. And we happen to love Düsseldorf and have several good friends there.