Home crowd: Arvinis wine fair attendance slips, but sales up
MORGES, SWITZERLAND – Marketing efforts for Swiss wines are being stepped up in Germany while at home the crowds turned out once again to meet the new vintages in Morges. The Arvinis wine fair closed its doors Monday night with atendance down slightly to around 21,000 visitors, a trend that several other major Swiss events have noticed recently, organizers PHF report.
The good news from the Swiss producers who took part in Arvinis is that sales were up: visitors appeared more interested in quality and in finding wines to buy.
The home fair took place just days after 44 top Swiss producers presented 250 of their wines at a special event for food and wine professionals in Düsseldorf, Germany, on the eve of Prowein, one of the major European wine shows for professionals. This was the second year for the event and the number of invited professionals who took part rose to 271.
The tasting event included rare older Swiss wines: 22 wines from vintage 2004, part of the Mémoire des Vins Suisses (MDVS) bank of older Swiss wines.
The MDVS is an organization whose core group is some 50 of the country’s best wine producers. Each year they contribute 60 bottles of one particular wine in order to see how well they age. The group was created in order to better understand Switzerland’s capacity to develop well-aged wines.
German market targeted for stronger image of Swiss wines
The Düsseldorf event is the first in a series of activities in 2014 that are targeting Germany, a key market for Swiss wines.
Germany is a large wine importer, although well over 50% of the imported wine is in bulk, and a large portion of that is re-exported, notably by wholesalers like Lidl and Aldi. The main suppliers are Italy, with more than $1 billion in sales to Germany in 2012, France, over $800 m, Spain, the US, and South Africa, according to Vinexport.
Switzerland’s main export market in terms of quantity of wine is Germany with 463 million tons, according to Agirinfo, but Germany is well down the list in terms of the value of the wine, CHF5.3 million compared to CHF48.9 million for wine sold to Great Britain – which imports 200 tons, less than half the volume Germany imports.
Clearly, for Swiss wine producers, improving their image and selling higher quality wine to Germany is worth the marketing effort.
“SwissWine@ProWein” was the kickoff for a series of what is being called City Tastings, with workshops for professionals and food and wine journalists in Hamburg, Cologne, Berlin and Munich in the autumn, to be followed by a five-day trip to Swiss wine regions to put the accent on “the improvement in the image and diversity of today’s Swiss wines, say the organizers.
SwissWine@Prowein was jointly organized by the MDVS, Swiss Wine Connection (owned by the MDVS), the national wine board Swiss Wine Promotion, and Sommelier Consult. The same group is behind the City Tastings series.
The five-day tour for professionals will start in Zurich, at the Mémoire & Friends event, one of the largest presentations of Swiss wines, with some 170 producers, more than 1,000 wines and 1,500 visitors.