I’ve played a lot with graffiti in the past few months and it’s always been pretty popular. So I should probably post it here on the blog which is a tad more permanent than facebook status updates and tweets.
Sud de France launched an ad campaign with these posters that feature a model who might be eating a picnic on a dock… a picnic consisting of like 300 different products from the south of France including but not limited to an entire leg of ham. It looks like quite a picnic and she is pretty so you worry that she is eating all that alone (although it’s good to know she’s not annorexic).
Here’s the ad as it appears on the Sud de France website:
I floated a different version of the ad with a thought bubble explaining the concerned look on her face.
Then the other day I saw this TER train:
Normally the trains in the region say “Vivre en Languedoc-Roussillon” but you can’t spell vivre without ivre. So with one letter removed, the slogan goes from “To Live in Languedoc Roussillon” to “Drunk in the Languedoc Roussillon”. You have to love French and the efforts of this very inspired graffiti artist. I swear it wasn’t me.
And now the Outsiders are playing around with a new logo for our event at Vinisud.
This is a post about the price of participating in wine fairs (especially expensive trade fairs) and its effect on the cost of wine. I look specifically at participation in the London International Wine Fair. I think the costs of these fairs makes conventional participation too expensive for small independent producers, but the fair does make sense for larger producers or grouped producers.
What is a trade fair?
A trade fair is a large exhibition of wine producers intended for a professional audience (as opposed to a salon or foire which is generally open to the public). Trade Fairs can feature some public speakers, but they tend to center around the wine exhibition (as opposed to conferences which tend to be more about speakers). You don’t really sell bottles at a trade show. The hope is more to make deals for larger quantities.
note: this photo is of Millesime Bio which is actually one of the most reasonably priced and scaled trade fairs. Instead of hiring a stand, you get a table. And everybody has the exact same table and table cloth. No massive two story buildings for the bigger wineries. Just the same plain white table. An interesting twist.
Throughout the year, there are many trade fairs such as the LIWF (London), VinExpo/ViniSud (alternating years in Bordeaux/Montpellier), and ProWein (Düsseldorf). These are massive wine fairs full of stands (hundreds or even thousands of them) intended largely for professional audiences consisting of retailers, importers, negociants, journalists, etc.
You pay a pretty penny for your stand (thousands of euros for a small stand at an event that lasts a few days) and you hope to rack up as many business meetings and journalist sightings as possible.
How much does a trade fair cost?
The short of it is that trade fairs cost a lot. There is the basic cost of getting a stand. Then there are all sorts of ancillary costs like travel, lodging, and stand furniture. In the best case scenario, a fair like ViniSud might cost just over 1,000 Euros for the small stands. In the more extravagant scenarios, shows like VineExpo and the LIWF can cost thousands just to get in the door. And then you still have to furnish the stand and make it look different than the hundreds of other stands within line sight of yours. And if you want electricity, lighting, ice to chill your whites, or really anything other than a carpeted stand, you’ll probably have to pay for it.
I don’t want to be purely theoretical, so let’s grab some real numbers from the official trade fair websites.
– Shell package at £346/per sq.m. – Space only at £291/per sq.m
Shell Package is a pre-built stand with walls, lights, name-plates, shelving and a counter, which you just need to ‘dress’.
Space only is the name given to an area with nothing whatsoever on it. You are literally renting an empty ‘space’ on which you must build your own stand.
I’m not sure what the minimum space is at LIWF, and they’re not answering my emails (probably busy organizing the event which is just around the corner). But, from memory, the smallest stands still seemed to be at least 6 square meters. You might think thrifty winemakers always choose to self-furnish, but it’s not that simple. We can’t generally bring furniture on the RyanAir flight to Stansted. It often comes out cheaper to rent the conference’s furnishings. So you come out to 2400 Euros for a tiny stand. That doesn’t include the cost of shipping wine over, travel, lodging, etc.
270 Euros / square meter with a minimum 16 square metre space (4320 Euro minimum). And that’s for the cheap spaces that are only exposed on one side. There is separate pricing for the stands that are exposed on two, three and four sides. And that is just the stand price. There are additional registration fees just to open an dossier or to gain the right to be an indirect exhibitor (600 to 740 Euros).
To give you an idea of what exhibitors spend, VinExpo now has a clef en main offer where you really get a furnished stand where all the work has been done for you.. it’s 16 square meters and costs 9,920 euro. It includes “moquette, cloisons mitoyennes, 1 fronton avec logo de l’exposant, 1 bar comptoir avec évier et branchement eau, 1 vitrine, 1 réserve avec étagères de rangement, 1 patère, du mobilier (1 table ronde, 3 chaises, 2 tabourets hauts, 1 frigo, 1 poubelle), de la décoration florale, électricité (2 prises 24H/24H éclairage), le nettoyage journalier, l’assurance.”
ProWein is one of the most reasonably priced trade fairs which probably explains why it’s gaining so much popularity as an International event. Every year, they get more and more International visitors, apparently. I actually haven’t been so I can’t talk much about it. But even a less expensive fair is still going to end up costing the thriftiest exhibitor 1000+ Euros.
How do trade fairs affect cost of wine?
Well, it really depends on what kind of winemaker you are.
Some of my favorite producers like Domaine Revelh have barely 2 hectares of vines. They’re producing just a few thousand bottles of wine each year. Participation in a single trade show can easily raise the price of a bottle of their wine by 20-50 cents!
On the other hand, producers who put out 3 million bottles each year can amortize the cost of all the major wine fairs over 3 million bottles. In that case, the expense of a much larger stand at each of these fairs, and employees to occupy said stand only add fractions of a cent to each bottle.
It’s hard to generalize, but for your average boutique wine (where production tends to be less than 100,000 bottles per year) attending several trade fairs can mean a significant increase in cost on the wine (several cents per bottle).
As a winery, you’re hoping to generate long term sales. Even if you only make a couple one pallet sales, there’s a chance those merchants reorder your wine again in a few months and again after that. Alternatively, you can meet up with everybody who already buys your wine and taste the new vintage with them. Or you can get some press attention while all the journalists are in town (and again, hopefully this leads to sales).
As a wine drinker though… you have to feel a bit cheated. The cost of the trade fair gets incorporated into the overhead of running a winery and it gets tacked on to the final bottle price. It’s a cost that doen’t improve the quality of the wine.
Additionally, you won’t even benefit from the experience of the the trade show since it isn’t even intended for consumers. Whereas participation in events like Le Grand Tasting can at least be enjoyed by the general wine-drinking public, participation in trade shows is never meant to trickle down to consumers. The only potential benefit to the consumer is that a trade show can create a better supply chain making the product available in your market. But generally speaking, trade shows represent a cost that does not improve the end user’s experience of the wine. So is it worth it? Hmmm..
My UK importer, Naked Wines, strongly discourages its winemakers from expensive trade shows like this. Their philosophy is that all the money we spend should go into making the wine better. However they are pretty keen on some of my low-cost shenanigans which I talk about elsewhere.
What do you think? Are trade fairs a necessary means of finding supply chains? Or are they a bit of bloat that inflates wine prices unnecessarily?
I’m always out there trying to convince Languedoc Roussillon wine people to blog. But sometimes I feel like my proselytizing is a big waste of time. Because outside of a few very devoted winemakers who are taking up the charge to explore the Internet with me, I see very few results. I hear a lot of excuses. A lot of complaints about time management. I also get a lot of people who sort of stop talking to me and who go out and pay a designer to create a blog for them (something I would have done for free). And then the people in that last group often post once or twice about the weather and then never again.
I just get down in the dumps when I see this lack of enthusiasm.
But there is still hope around every corner!
I recently noticed a change from one of the region’s behemoths. You know how long it takes for big organizations to implement change. So if they’re altering their course, maybe it will inspire the little guys to do it too.
Sud de France used to have one of those embarassing blogs that posted a small bit every six months. And I noticed that they’ve published two posts in August alone. It’s a little early to call it, but I’m guessing that somebody over there is waking up to the huge opportunity they have.
Then again, if you look at the archives, August-October is the only period they actively blogged in 2009 as well. So maybe it’s just an annual flurry of posts (maybe tied into the Festival Sud de France). I hope it’s more than that. Because if they can’t be bothered to highlight all the people talking about their brand, I don’t know how I’ll ever convince poor, resource-starved winemakers to do the job for them.
I also hope that they personalize it a bit more. Put in a photo of whoever is writing the blog. Let that person write it in a personal, human tone. Et cetera.
“Ils sont fiers d’être considérés parmi les meilleurs artisans du vin du Languedoc. Leur programme bilingue languedocjetaime.com met en valeur notre belle région.”
–Sud de France Export
So needless to say, I’m flattered and honored. It’s nice to know that one of the biggest powerhouses in promoting the Languedoc-Roussillon thinks that little old Ryan is doing a good job with Languedoc, je t’aime. It’s like the crazy parallel universe where David and Goliath are buddies and work together for the good of the kingdom. ;-D
And they acknowledge that we’re amidst the best artisanal winemakers in the Languedoc! Thanks!
We had a fun little vineyard party. Sud de France sent us a kit of Languedoc-Roussillon wines so that we could host a Carcassonne wine tasing. We drank and were merry. We did a live stream which is really lo-fi, but fun and spontaneous. The live stream of our synchronized worldwide tasting is available at Love That Langedoc.
This is just a brief update to say we had a good time and we’ll put together a better-edited version of the tasting soon. Thanks for all the cool people who showed up like Emma and Matthew from Vinecole, Aude Campos (our marvelous wine selling dynamo), and Mallorie from the gorgeous Chateau Bouis.
A little last minute, but I decided to have a party on Monday in the middle of the day. I’m not expecting hundreds of people, but if you can tear yourself away from work (or your relaxing vacation), come to O’Vineyards and join me for Sud de France’s SYNCHRONIZED GLOBAL TASTING in commemoration of their 4th birthday.
They sent kits of wine to 50 different people around the world. And they’ll be running tastings with all sorts of journalists and wine lovers at the Maisons du Languedoc in New York City, Shanghai, London, Milan, etc. And we’ll all be tweeting and blogging and video conferencing and all sorts of nonsense. So tune in on June 21st. Wine is going to be tasted.
And when we run out of the preselected wines Sud de France sent me, we will drink other wines from the Sud de France.
If you cannot come, please do your best to go out and find a bottle from the Languedoc Roussillon and open it on June 21st! With good friends, if they’re around!
The tasting starts at 11 AM but you can come before or after. If you know my mom, you realize that there will be food.
All tweets should use #WorldTastingSync and/or #SudDeFrance
As a lot of you know, Vicky Wine has been tearing up the wine tasting circuits, with grandiose events in London, Paris and beyond.
In her recent flurry of London tastings, she presented a couple of wines from O’Vineyards (to rave reviews). And she even found a home for the Mediterranean Mojo in London.
The top notch wine-innovators at Borough Wines are taking the Mojo under their wing for good. So if you want to get your hands on that Mojo, contact Borough. And if you want to get a sneak peak before you splurge, keep an eye on Vicky’s page where she’ll announce her next tasting in your area.
I’ll probably swing by the next London tasting myself. So you won’t have to watch the ridiculous videos we make to say hello to you from afar. Instead you’ll have to deal with the ACTUAL me. Thank god you’ll be drinking!! ;D
Intro video from last London tasting:
How to find us
Domaine O’Vineyards, located in the North Arrondissement of Carcassonne, is just minutes from the Carcassonne train station, the Medieval City, and the Carcassonne Airport.
GPS coordinates: 43.259622, 2.340387
Wine, Dine, Relax at our Boutique Vineyard
Unique thing to do in Carcassonne
Wine Cellar. Winery Visits. Wine Tasting.
Wine & Food Pairing
North Arrondissement of Carcassonne
885 Avenue de la Montagne Noire
11620 Villemoustaussou, France
Tel: +33(0) 630 189 910
Best by GPS.
Follow the signs to Mazamet/ Villemoustaussou using the D118. At the end of the last straight part of D118, you will come to a roundabout with the Dyneff gas station.
Take the exit towards Pennautier. Continue 500m to a small roundabout and go straight over.
Look out for the second road on your right, Avenue des Cévennes which curves up hill (about 1km) to Avenue de la Montagne Noire on the left.
At the last juction, bear left. the road sign “Ave de la Montagne Noire” (confusing as it seems to show a right turn)
After another 500m you will see our red brick color building in the middle of the vines.