ProWein 2023 and tomorrow

Wednesday, 29 March, 2023
Kristina Beuthner CWM
Some understand what it means to be in the public eye, to step out of your comfort zone in another country. These are the wine and spirits producers at ProWein this year!

ProWein is the most well-known international specialist wine trade exhibition in the world, taking place in Düsseldorf, Germany every year. Bear in mind that it has been in China too, for 7 years, and there are also other countries into which ProWein is expanding. Last year, the wine fair catered for 2 500 international experts from 47 countries. In 2023 the statistics show that 60 countries, 6 000 exhibitors, and 49 000 trade visitors attended ProWein.

A ticket to ProWein for 3 days as trade visitor costs you € 80, including access to wifi for those days. Düsseldorf is a generous, well-organised fair town – although there is a spike in prices during important exhibitions, especially for hotel and transport (which on 20 and 21 March were influenced by public strikes and resulted in extra costs and time delays).

The ProWein App guides you, through the many halls, in the language (11 accessible languages) of your choice.

The main target group of ProWein is international buyers, importers, and distributors. Producers from different sectors come together, network, showcase their portfolios, and make purchasing/strategic decisions. There were famous wine critics and even a well-known singer, Kylie Minogue. Forums and masterclasses are hosted every day to open your mind to the new tomorrow, and what you should keep in mind.

Trends and observations

Interesting trends

  • There were a number of breweries from countries generally considered wine nations presenting their specialty brews (statistics show that consumers are prepared to spend more money on beer).
  • World of Zero: A self-service tasting zone with de-alcoholised wines, sparkling, and spirits…. and some real eye-openers!
  • Same but Different: Some 120 innovative suppliers of craft spirits, beer and cider presented tastings.
  • Different packaging: The serious change is there, to send a "message in a …". It is not only screw caps and light glass, go look at paper bottles or bag out of box (or BOB, which was an acronym I heard for the first time from Stuart Pigott!)
  • Shades of Green: As Paula Redes Sidore and Stuart Pigott mentioned in their Trade Hour tasting... Get to know all the different realities of 'bio'.
  • #kabilove is an underground trend that has increased the pricing of Kabinett wines, where collectors fight over every bottle and has now "sent ripples out over the surface of the global wine pond". Flash words (like refreshment, vitality, minerality) at cool locations were presented to a trend-orientated audience and this lead to a new streamlining trend. Re-package your sweet wines for the consumer (eg. Sauterne on the rocks with orange zest!)

South African wine at ProWein

South Africa was represented by 109 exhibitors, mostly in Hall 14. Wines of South Africa (WoSA) showcased South African wines at tasting zones. The tasting zones were described as "a glimpse into a small selection (120) of some of the best wines that are produced in South Africa from different producers, regions, along with different styles and price points – something for everyone".

The generous WoSA pavilion offered white wines (60 different Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, Cap Classique and white blend wines) in the mornings and red wines (60 Pinotages, Shiraz/Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignons, Cinsault, Grenache Noir and red blend wines) in the afternoon.

Even as a well-versed wine nerd, you found stands where you could discover brands you had never heard of, producing anything from a Wellington Chenin Blanc to a Malbec/Vermentino Rosé to Methode Ancestrale/Pét-nat. There were companies that can provide you with your own private/bulk labels; famous winemakers with their own winning old vine brands; and icons of the industry known for their grape varieties or diverse involvement in a number of countries (many were there in person!).

South Africa also won a number of Mundus Vini awards, with the Best South African Producer and Best South African Red Wine awards going to DGB.

In summary

The ProWein website commented that for "many exhibitors it was the chance to strengthen and further expand their international trade links".

ProWein is too important to miss. You need a strong team for 3 days. Meet your suppliers, do the talk, and participate in the masterclasses/forums. Be at your stand, approach the customer, be curious, and think out of the box (Pinotage is being made in Ukraine!).