Monday Musings: Future of Trade Fairs

When I heard the news that Vinitaly was closed, I was both saddened and relieved. I was sad because I thought of the lost of such a marvelous event and one I look forward to every year because of the disease. On the other hand, I felt relief for producers who didn’t want to go but felt hard-pressed to say no . Selfishly I felt relief because I knew I wasn’t going to attend and I hate to miss that show. I love it for so many reasons but couldn’t see going to the press room, crowding into seminars, moving through pack pavilions, eating lunch at crowded bars and waiting in the huge lines to get in. The whole endeavor currently seems impossible to navigate.

I’ve attended the last 13 sessions of the fair as a member of the trade and prior to that one or two as a wine student. It’s part of my yearly calendar and part of my Spring season. While I am not decrying the end of wine trade fairs, I do wonder what they will look like going forward. I can only imagine it becoming ever more a B2B event with fewer consumers attending and much smaller crowds. Controlling the spread of a virus with that many people from all of the world though presents extreme challenges. 2022 will be the year to see how these major fairs evolve. It’s hard to know how things will mutate.

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