2024 Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris: The Report

The 5th Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris has turned the current economic challenges into strategic opportunities for the wine and spirits industry. This year, the event has established its credentials not only as a pivotal hub for business, but also as an influential platform, stepping up its decisive role in the business and political space globally.

2024 marks a turning point, with Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris making a sustainable economic contribution to the wine and spirits industry. Exhibitor numbers rose to 4,074, including 53% from overseas representing 48 producer countries, underscoring Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris’ enhanced appeal and international scope. Visitor attendance increased by 14% on the previous exhibition to 41,253 and included 41% international visitors from 137 countries, illustrating the event’s overall reach and growing influence.

Vinexposium’s commitment to business development was mirrored in the 30% rise in attendance by the main buyers from key markets. The top 5 nations represented after France were Italy, Belgium, the United Kingdom, the United States and Germany. The matchmaking service also reached a new performance milestone with 10,146 appointments between producers and buyers made online.

Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris, a place of influence

Placed under the high patronage of Mr Emmanuel Macron, President of the French Republic, Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris received visits by three French ministers and 27 ambassadors, including those from the United States, Italy, Portugal, Japan, Austria, Spain, Switzerland, China, New Zealand and Australia.

The 2024 Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris opening ceremony saw keynote speeches by the Minister of Agriculture and Food Sovereignty, Marc Fesneau, and the Minister of State for Public Accounts, Thomas Cazenave. The collaborative tone of the opening speeches, with input by Vinexposium CEO Rodolphe Lameyse, highlighted the event’s role as a strategic space where the industry can speak with one voice, share ideas and meet current challenges while also setting its sights on a sustainable future. The significance of international trade and the collaborative efforts required to cope with geo-economic risks were also underscored.

A visit by Frank Riester, Minister of State for Foreign Trade and Economic Attractiveness, ended the third day by describing the event as a major exhibition for wine and spirits exports, stressing the importance of wines and spirits to France’s export trade balance. 2023 French export results were in fact announced at Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris by the FEVS.

The International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV), with which Vinexposium works collaboratively, granted its patronage to the scientific sessions of the ON! programme. The event also offered a valuable opportunity for OIV, which took part for the entire three days, to meet many international industry personalities.

Even greater buzz for the ON! and OFF programmes

The ON! programme was enhanced in order to foster dialogue and provide the industry with food for thought. 126 sessions featured on the official programme, in addition to individual presentations hosted on exhibitor stands.

Paul Robinson, wine director at Robinson Wine Merchants, recounts: “As a buyer, it is my responsibility to prioritise business appointments at Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris, but I attended two panel discussions which I found extremely interesting. The ON! programme is one of the highlights of the exhibition”.

The OFF programme, which featured a selection of 200 restaurants and bars across the capital, encouraged attendees to continue their conversations after nightfall in a more relaxed setting.

Angelo Martelli, director at Super Buyrite, found inspiration there: “With so many appointments on stands by day, I particularly enjoyed being able to continue my business relations in the evening as part of the OFF programme. Paris truly is an ideal city for this and the selection was great. It’s that little extra that makes all the difference”.

Be Spirits, an enhanced range

In 2024, Be Spirits reached a whole new level with 26 producer countries exhibiting, an extra 47% floor spaced compared with 2023 and nearly 200 exhibitors, 54% of them new. Alongside the many French exhibitors, international attendee numbers soared by 92%.

The hall designed for spirits, no/lows, beers and ciders attracted buyers and mixologists from across the globe. The robust programme of debates and masterclasses aimed at deciphering markets, exploring the most revolutionary products and responding jointly to the business issues of the future attracted a full house.

Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris 2024 ends, but ushers in the next 12 months

Until the next Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris from 10 to 12 February 2025, the industry is invited to Hong Kong from 28 to 30 May for Vinexpo Asia, New York on 24 and 25 June for Vinexpo America, Mumbai on 16 and 17 September for Vinexpo India, and Amsterdam on 25 and 26 November for the World Bulk Wine Exhibition (WBWE).

Benvenuto Brunello 2023, Presenting the Iconic Elixir of Tuscany – Filippo Magnani

On November 28th wine enthusiasts and professionals in nine key cities worldwide gathered to celebrate Brunello Day. London, New York, Dallas, Miami, Toronto, Vancouver, Zurich, Shanghai, and Tokyo all raised their glasses in honor of Brunello di Montalcino, the iconic elixir of Tuscany. This celebration is in fact the culmination of a 10-day event called Benvenuto Brunello, organized by the Brunello di Montalcino Consortium. Although Brunello Day is just a couple years old, this was Benvenuto Brunello’s 32nd edition and marked the release of the 2018 and 2019 vintages represented by 118 producers and 310 labels. These wines were evaluated by 90 Italian and international journalists and trade professionals, several of which were hand-picked by the Vinitaly International Academy, now supported by the Brunello Consortium.

During the inaugural weekend the 2023 vintage was presented and the 32nd Leccio d’Oro prize was awarded to five restaurants and wine retailers with an exceptional list of Montalcino wines: Ristorante Veranda at the Hotel Villa d’Este in Cernobbio, The Sistina restaurant in New York, The Il Quadrifoglio in Asti, The Berry Bros. & Rudd in London and the Osteria Il Bargello in Siena which also owns the Salotto del Vino, a wine bar and shop with nearly 100 Montalcino wines served by the glass.

A Story of Visionaries – The Rise of Brunello

After almost 50 years since its DOCG status, Brunello di Montalcino wines continue to grow in popularity and gain market share worldwide. To truly understand why, one must delve into its intriguing history. Montalcino was a very important stop of the Via Francigena, a road that ran from England to Rome and, therefore, it welcomed and hosted important men of power, nobles, politicians and popes. The great wines of Montalcino were crafted to satisfy the illustrious visitors who were traveling to reach the Eternal City, and that’s why the hamlet has displayed absolute quality winemaking for centuries.

The modern success of Brunello di Montalcino started in the late 19th century and is intertwined with the vision and passion of a few key figures who recognized the potential of the Sangiovese grape in a unique terroir. One such visionary was Ferruccio Biondi-Santi, a winemaker from the Montalcino region who experimented with the Sangiovese grape, selecting superior clones and implementing innovative winemaking techniques. He was one of the first to introduce the practice of aging Brunello di Montalcino in large oak casks for an extended period.

This patient aging process proved to be the key to unlocking the full potential of the Sangiovese grape. Over time, the wine developed a deep, complex character with earthy aromas, intense dark fruit flavors, and an impressive ability to age gracefully. Biondi-Santi’s wines gained recognition and set the standard for what Brunello di Montalcino would become.

As the reputation of Biondi-Santi’s Brunello spread, other winemakers in the Montalcino region started to adopt similar winemaking practices. In 1966, Brunello di Montalcino was first recognized as a Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC) and in 1980 it was granted the highest classification in Italian wine, Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG). This prestigious recognition solidified Brunello di Montalcino’s status as one of Italy’s most exceptional and iconic wines.

The Sangiovese Grape – A Match Made in Montalcino

The secret behind the exceptional character of Brunello di Montalcino lies in its main grape variety – Sangiovese. This indigenous grape has been cultivated in Tuscany for centuries, and although it is Italy’s most widely planted black grape variety, many would agree that it finds its ultimate expression in the hilly vineyards of Montalcino.

The name “Sangiovese” is derived from the Latin words “sanguis Jovis” meaning “blood of Jove,” reflecting the grape’s deep red color. It is known by other names too such as Brunello and Sangiovese Grosso. The grape has a remarkable ability to express itself in a range of styles, from light and fruity to full-bodied and complex. Sangiovese is known for its distinctive aromas, lively acidity and tannic backbone. Closely associated with Sangiovese are fragrances of cherries – both fresh and dried – as well as ripe strawberries and plums that often intertwine with appealing herbal nuances like thyme, oregano, and sweet tobacco. This flavor profile captures beautifully the essence of the Tuscan terroir. Its vibrant and refreshing acidity preserves the wine’s balance, enhances its food pairing versatility and contributes to the wine’s aging potential, enabling it to develop complexity and maintain freshness over time.

Sangiovese wines often exhibit a pronounced tannic structure, delivering a firm and grippy texture that can be attributed to both the grape variety and the extended skin contact during fermentation. These tannins not only contribute to the wine’s structure but also bestow it with excellent aging potential. With time, the tannins soften, allowing the wine to evolve and develop greater complexity while retaining its inherent elegance. This is why the Brunello di Montalcino DOCG requires a minimum of 4 years aging, including 2 years in barrel and 4 months in bottle. The Riserva takes another year of aging which includes an additional 2 months in bottle.

The Terroir of Montalcino – A Sublime Expression of Complexity

The terroir of Montalcino is a tapestry of diverse microclimates, soils, and altitudes that contribute to the distinctive character of Brunello di Montalcino.
The vineyards of Montalcino are nestled on slopes and plateaus at varying elevations, ranging from 250 to 600 meters above sea level. This diverse topography results in different microclimates within the region, allowing winemakers the opportunity to express different facets of the Sangiovese grape.

The soils in Montalcino are rich and varied, giving Brunello di Montalcino its multifaceted personality. The northern region of Montalcino has soils dominated by limestone and shale, bringing finesse and elegance to the wines. In the central part, clay and marl prevail, imparting structure and depth. In the southern areas, volcanic soils contribute to wines with power and intensity.

The climate of Montalcino plays a crucial role in the ripening of the grapes. Summers are warm and dry, while winters are mild, providing the perfect balance of sun and rainfall. The significant diurnal temperature variation during the growing season helps to retain the grapes’ natural acidity, resulting in wines with vibrant freshness.

These factors, combined with the expertise and dedication of the winemakers, shape the flavor profile of Brunello di Montalcino. The wines are characterized by their remarkable complexity, intense aromas, lively acidity, and structured tannins that contribute to their exceptional aging potential.

Preserving Tradition, Embracing Innovation – The Future of Brunello di Montalcino

While rooted in centuries-old traditions, the producers of Brunello di Montalcino embrace innovation and strive for excellence in their winemaking practices. In recent years, there has been a greater emphasis on sustainable viticulture and organic farming methods. Many wineries in Montalcino have adopted practices that respect the environment, ensuring a healthy balance between vineyard management and the preservation of the unique terroir. Over half of them are now certified organic.

Modern winemaking techniques have also allowed winemakers to refine their craftsmanship further. Advances in technology have made it possible to control temperature during fermentation, ensuring optimal extraction of aromas and flavors from the grapes. Precision in oak aging has also become a focus, allowing winemakers to strike a perfect balance between the fruit purity and the subtle influence of oak.

Experiences Around Montalcino – A Perfect Blend of Culture, Gastronomy, Wine, and History

For visitors and wine enthusiasts, a journey to Montalcino offers much more than just a tasting experience. Here, you can immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage, savor delicious culinary delights, explore the ancient history, and indulge in the stunning beauty of the Tuscan landscape.

For those with a passion for culture and history, a visit to the medieval fortress that overlooks Montalcino is a must. The fortress, known as the Rocca, offers panoramic views of the surrounding vineyards and the charming town below. Inside, the Museo Civico showcases archaeological finds and artifacts that tell the story of Montalcino’s past. The main street and square are lined with boutiques, restaurants and wine shops perfect for a day of shopping, eating and wine tasting.

Gastronomy connoisseurs will find themselves in heaven as they explore the local cuisine. The traditional dishes of Montalcino are a perfect pairing for Brunello di Montalcino, from hearty wild boar ragù to Pecorino cheese made from the milk of sheep that graze among the vines.
Many wineries in the area welcome visitors, offering guided tours of their vineyards and cellars. The winemakers take great pride in sharing their knowledge and passion, allowing visitors to gain a deeper understanding of the winemaking process and the philosophy behind their wines. And of course, the tastings of Brunello and Rosso di Montalcino are an absolute highlight, immersing visitors in the flavors, aromas, and history of these exceptional wines.

For those who are captivated by the natural beauty of the region, a drive through the rolling hills of Montalcino is an enchanting experience. The vine-laden landscapes, dotted with rustic farmhouses and charming villages, create an idyllic setting that begs to be explored. Hiking and biking are great ways to fully appreciate the picturesque scenery and immerse yourself in the soul of this incredible region. In fact there are two famous events that take place every year here: the Brunello Crossing for walkers and hikers and L’Eroica for cyclists. Among other scenic landscapes, both will take you through Val d’Orcia, a UNESCO World Heritage site that embodies the best of the Tuscan countryside.

In Conclusion

Brunello di Montalcino DOCG is not just a wine; it is an embodiment of the passion, dedication, and the magic of the Montalcino terroir. The Sangiovese grape nurtured in this exceptional climate and soil produces wines of unrivaled elegance, complexity, and longevity. A visit to Montalcino is an opportunity to experience the rich heritage, indulge in the gastronomic delights, immerse yourself in the mesmerizing landscapes, and uncover the secrets of Brunello di Montalcino. With every sip, you will taste the rich history, feel the love and respect for the land, and be transported to the heart of Tuscany’s winemaking excellence. Cheers to a truly unforgettable wine experience!

Taste-Driven AI Algorithms Enhance Wine Selections

For wine enthusiasts, choosing a bottle of wine can be challenging when scanning unfamiliar labels, while shopping. Questions that come to mind: What does it taste like? What was the last one I bought that tasted so good? Vivino, Hello Vino, Wine Searcher and other apps let wine buyers scan labels to get information about the wine and read reviews of others. These apps have been built from artificially intelligent algorithms.

Using taste or other sensory inputs as data sources is entirely new.

Now, scientists from the Technical University of Denmark (DTU), the University of Copenhagen and Caltech have shown that you can add a new parameter to the algorithms that makes it easier to find a precise match for your own taste buds: Namely, people’s impressions of flavour.

“We have demonstrated that, by feeding an algorithm with data consisting of people’s flavour impressions, the algorithm can make more accurate predictions of what kind of wine we individually prefer,” says Thoranna Bender, a graduate student at DTU who conducted the study under the auspices of the Pioneer Centre for AI at the University of Copenhagen.

More accurate predictions of people’s favourite wines
The researchers held wine tastings during which 256 participants were asked to arrange shot-sized cups of different wines on a piece of A3 paper based upon which wines they thought tasted most similarly. The greater the distance between the cups, the greater the difference in their flavour. The method is widely used in consumer tests. The researchers then digitized the points on the sheets of paper by photographing them.

The data collected from the wine tastings was then combined with hundreds of thousands of wine labels and user reviews provided to the researchers by Vivino, a global wine app and marketplace. Next, the researchers developed an algorithm based on the enormous data set.

“The dimension of flavour that we created in the model provides us with information about which wines are similar in taste and which are not. So, for example, I can stand with my favourite bottle of wine and say: I would like to know which wine is most similar to it in taste – or both in taste and price,” says Thoranna Bender.

Professor and co-author Serge Belongie from the Department of Computer Science, who heads the Pioneer Centre for AI at the University of Copenhagen, adds:

“We can see that when the algorithm combines the data from wine labels and reviews with the data from the wine tastings, it makes more accurate predictions of people’s wine preferences than when it only uses the traditional types of data in the form of images and text. So, teaching machines to use human sensory experiences results in better algorithms that benefit the user.”

Thoranna Bender points out that the researchers’ method can easily be transferred to other types of food and drink as well:

“We’ve chosen wine as a case, but the same method can just as well be applied to beer and coffee. For example, the approach can be used to recommend products and perhaps even food recipes to people. And if we can better understand the taste similarities in food, we can also use it in the healthcare sector to put together meals that meet with the tastes and nutritional needs of patients. It might even be used to develop foods tailored to different taste profiles.”
The researchers have published their data on an open server and can be used at no cost.

“We hope that someone out there will want to build upon our data. I’ve already fielded requests from people who have additional data that they would like to include in our dataset. I think that’s really cool,” concludes Thoranna Bender.

Key Facts:
1. Wine apps are using AI algorithms to assist users in selecting wines based on labels and reviews.
2. Researchers integrated people’s flavor impressions into the algorithms for more accurate wine recommendations.
3. This approach can be extended to beer, coffee, and personalized food recommendations, benefiting various industries.

Source: Neuroscience News

The 10 most-consumed alcoholic drinks have been identified

Insider Monkey’s list of the 10 most-consumed alcoholic drinks have been identified in a new list that outlines which tipples we favour most.

The analysts at the investment advisors Insider Monkey drew from their deeper dive report of the ‘20 Most Consumed Alcohols in the World’. Here is a list of the top 10, for your review.

1. Beer
Global market size in 2022: US$793.74 billion

Beer is the most consumed alcohol in the world. In fact, after water and tea, beer is the most popular drink in the world. According to reports, in the 2022 brewing year, global beer production ended up increasing slightly year-on-year by 1.3% to 1.89 billion hectolitres. However, the market is yet to return to its pre-pandemic levels when production peaked at 1.91 billion hectolitres in 2019. The category has also evolved with consumer tastes as brewers look to satisfy the thirst of their audience. Plus, the overall demand for premium and low-calorie beers, the rising popularity of craft beer, and the continued expansion of distribution networks in emerging countries are all expected to continue driving growth in the global beer sector over the next few years.

2. Wine
Global market size in 2022: US$441.6 billion

The rising demand for premium and luxury wines has been reported alongside the growing popularity of wine tourism which have become key factors driving growth. According to the analysts, global wine consumption in 2022 was estimated to be at 232 million hectolitres, marking a decrease of 1% compared to the previous year. Year-on-year, wine consumption around the world has decreased at a regular rate and yet this can be mainly attributed to the decline in China’s consumption, which has lost an average 2 million hectolitres per year since 2018.

3. Liqueurs
Global market size in 2022: US$128.9 billion

Liqueurs, which are essentially distilled spirits that are sweetened with sugar or syrup, and often also contain fruit, herbs, and oils, can be sweet or bitter depending on the flavours used.

4. Baijiu
Global market size in 2022: US$95.21 billion

Baiju plays a prominent role in China’s drinking culture and has done so ever since the Ming Dynasty. It is most distilled from sorghum, although other grains – including rice, wheat, corn, and millet – are also available in blends throughout the country. Last year, consumers in China consumed US$91 billion worth of baijiu, yet it remains less well-known outside the nation.

5. Whisky
Global market size in 2022: US$64 billion

As millennials are increasingly beginning to experiment with different drinks and assisting in the rise of ‘cocktail culture’, the use of whisky as a premium ingredient has increased in bars. 2022 was hinted to be a great year for Scotch whisky and exports of Scotland’s native spirit hit US$7.5 billion last year, the highest figures ever. Whisky exports by volume also rose, with the number of 700ml bottles shipped overseas up by 21%, to 1.67 billion.

6. Vodka
Global market size in 2022: US$25.98 billion

Vodka continues to be the most consumed spirit in the US and has been since 1970. Around 78.1 million cases of the spirit were sold in America in 2021 and by 2022, 28.1 million 9L cases were sold globally.

7. Cider
Global market size in 2022: US$17.9 billion

Cider has risen in popularity significantly over the last decade and can also flex with the seasons. In the UK, Insider Monkey outlines how cider continues to be a popular alcoholic drinks category with an off-trade value sales growth in the UK of 5.2% over the past year. Some 47.8% of all British households now regularly buy cider – up from 45.5% last year.

8. Rum
Global market size in 2022: US$17.4 billion

While rum sales are still dominated by major producers, many consumer preferences are said to be moving away from value options and towards an appreciation for craft and aged rums instead. Made from fermented sugar cane juice, rum also provides a key function in cocktail culture.

9. Gin
Global market size in 2022: US$15.3 billion

There are, reportedly, three main reasons for gin’s continued popularity – taste, versatility, and the variety now available. The UK is the largest exporter of gin in the world and, according to His Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) data, gin exports from Britain hit US$879 million last year, up from US$651 million in 2021.

10. Tequila
Global market size in 2022: US$14.7 billion

Tequila’s popularity has been on the rise for years, and in 2021 it surpassed whisky in retail sales. The analysts found that the growth in popularity of Tequila can primarily be attributed to several factors, including the expansion of the premium spirits sector as well as the introduction of new flavours, and a greater social media presence.

Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Preview 2023 by Filippo Magnani

Tuscany’s “Old Red Wine Zone” becomes a leader in sustainability

The 2023 edition of the highly anticipated Anteprima Vino Nobile di Montepulciano returned to the medieval fortress of Montepulciano on February 15th.. The doors were opened to the public from Saturday the 18th to Monday the 20th. There were over 40 producers present, which is over half of the denomination.

Participants had the opportunity not only to taste both the 2020 vintage and 2019 reserve wines, they also had chance to learn about DOCG’s innovative projects related to sustainability and the ‘Pieve’ project which defines 12 unique zones of production called “Additional Geographic Units.”

As the first DOCG in Italy, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano is also leading the way in sustainability and is now the first Italian denomination to have received the sustainability certification mark under the Equalitas standard. This has been a long journey, that started back in 1985 when the Consortium, with the support of the Municipality of Montepulciano, decided to install a network of meteorology stations to record weather data throughout the entire production area. Expert agronomists made recommendations based on the findings to limit the use of chemical pesticides. Further studies were done in 1992 and 2006 to investigate the soils and biological waste respectively. Then in 2015, the “Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Carbon Footprint” project became a model on a national scale, calculating the CO2 emissions for one bottle of Vino Nobile. The protocol established by Equalitas for certification is extremely rigorous and includes numerous environmental requirements, such as measuring the carbon footprint, the water footprint, and socio-economic compliance with free trade unions and equal opportunities.

The “Pievi” project continues the route towards the excellence of the pure expression of Sangiovese

Launched in 2021, during the pandemic, the Consorzio of Nobile di Montepulciano introduced 12 Additional Geographical Units called “Pievi” that are the result of an in-depth study of history, landscape, and wine production. The name refers to the ancient parish churches used to divide the territory into areas as far back as Roman times. The goal of the Consortium with this project is to reaffirm and codify a current physical reality with its ancient historical roots since Montepulciano is one of the oldest wines documented in the Middle Ages. In fact, one of the most interesting documents testifying to the existence of a Montepulciano wine production and marketing district dates back to a rare sales contract from 17th October 1350, preserved in the Madonna de’ Ricci (crociferi) collection found in the Italian National Archives in Florence. The first Vino Nobile wines with the “Pieve” label from the 12 selected zones will be released next year.

The noble heritage of Montepulciano

A symbol of local culture, the village of Montepulciano is situated on a gently sloping limestone hill that separates Val di Chiana from the Val del Orcia. Due to its rich history, Montepulciano represents a sort of open-air museum in the heart of one of the most popular and explored wine destinations in Tuscany. The old town is filled with Etruscan artifacts, Renaissance buildings, ornate churches decorated by illustrious artists, ancient theatres, and local artisan shops—a perfect place for wine enthusiasts to immerse themselves in Tuscan beauty and history.