13-11-2015

Spanish wines to feature at Vinisud 2016

I received an email the other day announcing that “Spanish Wines” will be featured at the next edition of Vinisud in 2016. For those unfamiliar with this event, it takes place in Montpellier and I went to it for the 2014 edition which was when it was still being run every other year. Essentially, it’s an impressive event with over 1,000 wineries from the South of France as well as a few others from outside the country in attendance. Tasting everything in three days you will not do. I went with a mission to taste one or two regions in the Rhône fully, met some great people from Châteauneuf and was generally overwhelmed while at the same time greatly informed. And this of course with everyone saying that it was smaller than the 2012 edition…

As Spain has few events that garner this much attention they appear to have wanted to latch on to Vinisud and I while I have zero confirmation on this (Spain is completely opaque in public funding), I have to assume that ICEX and their Foods & Wines from Spain marketing arm are given a very healthy “donation” to the event for the privilege. This may seem like good news for Spanish winemakers, but honestly, it’s weird news. There generally is a contingent of Spanish wine producers at Vinisud already although they are usually from Catalonia given that the rest of Spain has pretty squalid language skills.

The other problem is in how ICEX works. The main big complaint I’ve continually heard from winemakers is that if you go to an event with ICEX then you have to wait out something like 2-3 years before you can do another. And of course, it’s often the huge producers that seem to get in on the events time and again allowing them to grow ever larger which smaller producers keep finding their asses dragging in the dirt.

This is going to make for a weird situation as I’m sure there will be producers that would much rather use ICEX’s quite large war chest to get promoted in say Asia which is seen as a growing market as opposed to France where almost no one from Spain bothers to sell. Sure, there is the chance that people taking part in the ICEX stand (which was noted as being “front and center” in the Vinisud email) may get seen by the wine buyers who come from around the world. But those who are looking for Spanish wine would probably go to the Spanish section that’s always been at the event.

So, who on earth is actually going to be in this amazing stand which will total 20 producers who will have paid 2,415€ each for the pleasure? I’ve no clue, but I’d already planned to go in February and so this will be interesting to see, especially as they’ve extended registration for the pleasure despite the “limited spaces” available. My viewing of it will indeed be brief though as I make a beeline for Cornas, Côte Rotie, St. Joseph, and too many others to name.