The recently-concluded Vinexpo Asia 2023, held in Singapore from May 23 to 25, saw an impressive gathering of over 9,989 professionals from 64 countries, with Singapore, China, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Thailand emerging as the frontrunners.
Although Vinexpo Asia was held in the city-state this year instead of Hong Kong, it does not indicate that Singapore will be the permanent host in the future. The organisers understand the importance of alternating venues to cater to the varied needs and preferences of industry professionals, exhibitors, and attendees. Hence, the two cities will take turns hosting the event every year.
Vinexposium CEO Rodolphe Lameyse says: “The wine and spirits industry has drastically changed over the last five years. Asia and Southeast Asia are rising markets, requiring specific attention through a specific trade show. This is why we had Vinexpo Asia in Singapore to address the Southeast Asian markets, while Vinexpo Hong Kong will cater to the mainland Chinese markets. One is not against the other; both are supplementing each other.”
Lameyse adds that covering the whole of Asia is a perfect balance while acknowledging that there is a bit of rivalry between the two cities. He observes that competition is good as it will spur both cities to improve.
Vinexposium is a platform that caters to every aspect of the wine and spirits industry, offering a diverse range of relevant event formats designed throughout the year and globally. Vinexposium’s ultimate goal is to support the wine and spirits industry by expanding sales reach and fostering growth opportunities.
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What gives Lameyse the edge to lead such an event? To begin with, he is a specialist in organising world-class trade events. A graduate of Kedge Bordeaux (formerly the Bordeaux Business School), he also holds an MBA from HEC Paris. He began his career with Accenture in Paris, then joined the Adecco Group in Lyon and Zurich.
He subsequently became the marketing and customer services director at Reed Midem in France before moving to Singapore, where he was the director of the Food Hospitality Asia and Prowein Asia exhibitions for UBM and Informa. Lameyse returned to France in 2019 to take over as the CEO of Vinexpo, which became Vinexposium in 2020.
On the last day of the trade show, Options met Lameyse for a quick chat to talk about Vinexpo’s debut in the city-state.
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What key trends do you foresee shaping the wine and spirits industry in the coming years, and how is Vinexpo adapting to these changes?
There are several ways in which we have had to adapt. For example, the number of countries on the show floor has significantly increased. Perhaps 40 years ago, it was only the French and some Italians, but now when you come to a Vinexpo show, you will find exhibitors from Australia, California, Argentina, Chile, France, Spain, Lebanon, South Africa and more. We are the window to the world of wine, showcasing diversity. There is also a growing demand for spirits, particularly among the younger generation.
As you can see, our shows have a strong presence of spirits, and I believe this presence will continue to grow. Part of our journey is not only to adapt to the demands of the market but also to accommodate the various product offerings on the show floor.
What sets Vinexpo apart from other industry events and trade shows in an increasingly competitive market? How does Vinexpo create value for its participants and exhibitors?
It is challenging to compare ourselves to the competition, especially in Singapore. I believe that Vinexpo Asia in Singapore is the only true trade show dedicated exclusively to wine and spirits.
We are fully committed to serving professionals in the industry. What sets Vinexpo apart from others is the winemakers’ presence on the show floor. It’s not just the importers or secondary distributors; the winemakers and wine buyers are present. It is not advisable to compare Vinexpo’s products against each other because this is our unique offering and what we specialise in.
Sustainability and environmental responsibility are growing concerns across industries. How is Vinexpo addressing these issues, and what initiatives or measures has the organisation taken to promote sustainability within the wine and spirits sector?
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We are not only pushing the message, but we are embracing it. Instead of carpets, we use wood floorings that are 100% sustainable. We are recycling the corks, we are recycling the glasses, we are recycling the remaining wine products. For us, sustainability is very important, and we chose MBS [Marina Bay Sands] because it is a sustainable standard-approved building.
The pandemic has impacted the events and hospitality industry. How has Vinexposium adapted to the challenges posed by the pandemic, and what innovative approaches or technologies have been implemented to ensure the success of your events in this new environment?
Our main challenge was the inability to hold trade shows, which is our core business, for two years. During this time, we had to find ways to survive. Many of our partners also had to adapt to the situation. We experienced periods when borders were reopening in one country but not another, making it difficult to make accurate forecasts.
However, this period allowed us to reflect on what truly matters to our company and the values we want to share, not only with our team but also with our clients. Internally, it was a game-changer for us. The company now fully understands the importance of being 300% client-focused, striving to provide the best service for the benefit of our clients. Our goal is to work for them, not for ourselves.
Since Vinexpo was held in Singapore for the first time, are you happy with the outcome?
I’m more than happy. Why? Because the turnout was great. People are happy. And I think launching an event is never easy. But to be successful on our very first one is rare, and we have achieved it.