Home Wine Business Editorial It’s Trade Show Time… Are You Ready?

It’s Trade Show Time… Are You Ready?

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Writer Jim Brumm

Wine Industry Trade Show season is fast approaching. For exhibitors, trade shows are an opportunity to showcase new products, advances and innovations, and to connect with thousands of potential new clients (and reconnect with old ones). For attendees, it’s a chance to learn what’s new and exciting in the industry, attend seminars or workshops to hone your skills or learn new ones, and to rub elbows with others in the industry.

“Technology is really changing the way customers make buying decisions, that’s no secret and no one knows that better than us in this industry”, says George Christie, President of the Wine Industry Network, “but there’s no substitute for what happens when you put a supplier and a buyer in the same room. We attend every show and while they all offer something different, there is one common denominator….they all work like crazy to put prospective buyers in the room.”

For exhibitors and attendees alike, trade shows save money. Suppliers can attract hundreds of potential customers for a small fraction of what it would cost to seek them out individually or in a mass marketing campaign. Likewise, for the price of admission, an attendee can find everything he or she needs to run a successful business in one place. They can inspect and compare products side by side and many vendors offer special discounts for those who buy at the show—don’t forget to ask.

Yes, trade shows leave us exhausted, with sore feet and scratchy voices. But, if you use them effectively, they can pay off in a big way. Here are some trade show statistics from Merchant’s Circle, an online business networking organization:

  • 83 percent of trade show attendees have some kind of buying power.
  • 85 percent of decision makers say attending trade shows saves their company time and money by bringing vendors together under one roof.
  • 91 percent of attendees say that trade shows impact their buying decisions because the competition is in one place allowing for comparison shopping in real time.
  • Trade shows cost 38 percent less than sales calls.
  • Trade show visitors will tell six or more people about their experience.

Here are four wine industry trade shows coming up that we wanted to share and more are featured on the WIN site. See you at the show!

Unified Wine and Grape Symposium
January 24 – 26, 2012  Exhibits: January 25 & 26

Location: Sacramento Convention Center, Sacramento, California

The Unified Wine & Grape Symposium, held annually in Sacramento, California, is, the largest event of its kind in the western hemisphere. With over 650 exhibitors, last year’s show welcomed more than 12,000 visitors, according to Ken Freeze of Brown Miller Communications, Inc.

“What’s new this year is the program,” said Freeze. “We’re known for what we call our general sessions and smaller breakout sessions. We put these together to bring the latest and greatest information to the wine industry.”

This year’s general sessions include Climate Change: Quality grapes and wine in a challenging climate, The State of the Industry (the most heavily attended, according to Freeze), and Branding: Creating a successful branding toolbox. Other sessions will focus on diverse subjects such as negotiating grape contracts, productive ways to talk about quality, sweet wine tasting, sustainability and more. By combining a trade show with a broad spectrum of sessions, the Unified Symposium provides attendees direct access to all the latest information.

Conference: March 27-29, 2012
Trade Show: March 28-29, 2012
Location: Greater Richmond Convention Center, Richmond, VA

Sometimes referred to as “the buyer’s trade show,” Wineries Unlimited is back next March for its 36th year, making it the longest running wine industry event in the eastern United States. Dennis Black of Vineyard and Winery Management Magazine, says that this year’s event will see a 10 percent increase in attendance and feature nearly 300 exhibitors. “This year we’ll have more of an international presence,” said Black. “We will have exhibitors from France, Italy, and Canada.”

Attendees will find everything they need to manage a successful vineyard or winery including barrels, bottles, corks, chemicals, insurance, irrigation, machinery, packaging, software, soil testing equipment, tasting room merchandise, trucking services and a host of other items.

This year’s keynote speaker will be Alyssa Rapp, founder and CEO of Bottlenotes, Inc, an online community where wine enthusiasts come to learn, share tasting notes, and buy wines from around the world. Rapp is the author of “Bottlenotes Guide to Wine: Around the World in 80 Sips,” and was named in Inc. Magazine’s “30 Under 30” list of America’s coolest young entrepreneurs.

Midwest Grape and Wine Conference and Trade Show
Conference: February 9-12, 2012
Trade Show: February 10-11, 2012
Location: St. Charles Convention Center, St. Charles, MO

The third largest industry trade show in the United States, the Midwest Grape and Wine Conference and Trade Show has an impressive lineup of speakers and sessions for 2012. 170 vendors will be on hand to display the latest and greatest in equipment and wine-making techniques. The Midwest Grape and Wine Conference is now endorsed by wine and grape associations from seven states.

Conference director Rozanna Benz said that the Midwest Show is where wineries and grape growers find it all. “We have so much more to offer attendees,” she said. “The size of the event, the caliber of the speakers, the support of vendors; these are just a few of the reasons for the rapid expansion of this event. The word’s out!”

This year’s show will offer a 25 percent increase in exhibitors over last year. “We have new products, new trends, and new connections,” said Benz. “Our moderators are dedicated to bringing our attendees the latest technology in wine making and grape growing. The Midwest Grape and Wine Conference has twenty-seven years of experience in delivering a quality trade show and conference.”

This year’s featured speakers include Elizabeth Slater of In-Short Marketing who will offer sessions on “How to sell anything,” and “Short Sessions with In Short,” where attendees can sign up for an up-close and invigorating hour devoted to Q and A on any and all direct-to-consumer issues.

Wine & Grape Exposition
November 16, 2011, 7am – 4:30pm
Location: Hangar #1, Napa Valley Airport

2030 Airport Road, Napa, CA 94558

This year’s Wine & Grape Exposition, which is coming right up, has moved to a new location at the Napa County Airport, a site that can comfortably accommodate the growing number of exhibitors and attendees.

The Wine & Grape Expo is a highly focused educational symposium for the premium winegrape grower and wine producer. The Expo includes seminars that focus on specific vineyard practices as they relate to wine quality as well as an exclusive tradeshow with many of the industry’s leading viticulture and enology companies.

“This years’ event will be really exciting,” said Sonia Deluca, program director for Napa Valley Grapegrowers.. “It’s about connecting vineyard practices to wine quality. In one day you can learn so much information about growing high quality wine grapes and producing great wine from those grapes.”

“This year when selecting exhibitors we made sure we had a wide range of viticulture and enology companies,” said Deluca. “Things like optical grape sorters, aerial imaging of vineyards—we have a seminar topic on that—and taking attendees from the dirt to the bottle. It’s a really exciting symposium for us. Half of our members make wine and work hard to connect vineyard practices to wine quality. It’s our day to bridge those two things. We will talk about elevating the quality of farming practices toward making the highest quality of wine.”

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