Coronavirus Disrupts the Wine and Spirits Industry

Tastings and trade shows worldwide have been canceled or pushed back to mitigate the spread of coronavirus – we are keeping you up-to-date with the latest news from the drinks industry.

In northern Italy, roughly 16 million people are in a state of lockdown until 3 April after the government imposed strict quarantine that includes the closure of museums, cultural institutions and the suspension of all public gatherings and social events, including pubs, nightclubs and games halls. Budget airline Easyjet announced on Sunday evening it would cancel flights to Milan Malpensa, Milan Linate, Venice and Verona airports in the period up to April 3 and will provide further updates in due course.

The UK’s Foreign Office has advised members of the public to cancel all-but essential travel to key Italian wine-growing regions such as Lombardy region, including the cities of Milan, Bergamo and Como, and the provinces of Modena, Parma, Piacenza, Reggio Emilia and Rimini in Emilia Romagna region. A spokesperson for the UK government has said anyone returning to the UK from these parts of Italy should self-quarantine regardless of whether they are displaying symptoms.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson held an emergency meeting with the UK’s cabinet on Monday morning (9 March) to decide whether the country will undergo a similar lockdown to prevent the spread of the virus. However, a spokesperson confirmed that the UK will not pursue any stricter measures for the time being.

The Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) has said its annual trade show, BeerX, will be going ahead as normal on 11 and 12 March, but with extra precautions in place.

James Calder, SIBA’s chief executive said: “We’re taking extra steps to ensure the risk of passing on infection remains low. We are working with our event partners, the Liverpool ACC and closely following Government guidance on a day by day basis. We would encourage all brewers, suppliers, judges and delegates to stick to their plans and take sensible measures.”

The measures include:

  • A ban on handshakes
  • A ban on sharing beer glasses with anyone else
  • Hand sanitizer stations placed throughout BeerX and on every bar
  • Exhibitors to use hand sanitizer on all stands
  • Encouraging everyone to stick to the NHS latest guidance on hand washing and sneezing into tissues

On Thursday, March 5th, Messe Düsseldorf, the organizer of ProWein, has revealed that the show will not take place this year. The group plan to host ProWein as scheduled in 2021.

On Tuesday, March 3, London’s wine trade had its first casualty. The RAW Wine Show, which was due to take place this weekend, has been postponed. Founder Isabelle Legeron MW said: “With so many producers flying in from all over the world this seems like the right decision for such a large gathering of people and such an international event.”

At the same time, the bi-annual Grands Jours de Bourgogne tasting, due to take place between 9 and 13 March, has likewise been called off.

And the organizers of the leading Italian wine show, Vinitaly, have announced the 2020 edition will be postponed until June.

On March 2nd we learned that the London Wine Fair will still go ahead, but attendees have been told to proceed with caution. The organizers have pledged to supply extra hand sanitizers and face masks to curb infection at the mammoth wine tasting in Kensington Olympia in May.

Also set to go ahead as normal is the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux’s annual primeurs week, which takes place at the end of March.

Arguably the biggest event in the drinks trade calendar, ProWein, has also been pushed back. Messe Düsseldorf states on February 29th that it was postponing a series of trade fairs set to take place in the exhibition center, including ProWein, Wire, Tube, Beauty, Top Hair and Energy Storage Europe.

A number of shows have also been canceled altogether in China, while the dates for Vinexpo Hong Kong and ProWine Asia in Singapore have also moved to later this year.

Source:  Drinks Business

 

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