2024 return planned at New York’s Javits Center
PORTLAND, Maine – March 23, 2023 – Vinexpo America and Drinks America’s 2023 show has raised the bar and lived up to the high expectations set after last year’s successful debut of the co-located events. Growing by 30% year-over-year, more than 440 exhibitors from 32 countries gathered for two days to meet with top buyers and decision makers in North America, the largest beverage-alcohol-consuming market globally. Attendance to the 2023 program grew by 28% year-over-year as well. Thought-provoking educational sessions and ample networking opportunities have secured Vinexpo America and Drinks America’s foothold as North America’s leading international exhibition exclusively for the wine and spirits trade.
The March 8-9 show drew together wine and spirits professionals, including importers, distributors, wholesalers, buyers, and e-commerce specialists from more than 40 U.S. states, Canadian provinces, and Mexican states to the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York. Industry players signed contracts, discovered new products, and heard from experts on the hottest trends shaping the industry. International diplomats were also onsite, keen to support their constituents and encourage trade.
“Strong attendance, the quality of exhibitors and the sheer demand for network and relationship building drives home the necessity and longevity of this event in the North American wine and spirits market, said Beckie Kier, Diversified Communications’ group event director for Vinexpo America | Drinks America.
“March marked Vinexposium’s second event of the year, in New York. Vinexpo America and Drinks America is now the largest business to business trade show dedicated to wine and spirits professionals in North America. We have succeeded with our partner, Diversified Communications, to develop a true Vinexpo style event and it was worth it! I am proud of this strategic event and of this 2023 edition that will mark the beginning of a long adventure in North America,” commented Rodolphe Lameyse, Vinexposium CEO.
This year’s educational conference program offered six sessions covering omnichannel personalization and the importance of an omnichannel strategy to keep consumers loyal and engaged, the complexities of alcohol ecommerce, the importance of inclusive leadership, the impact of sustainability performance in the industry, and the value of long-term strategic initiatives along the path to innovation. And for the first time at Vinexpo America, Star Wine List celebrated the best wine lists in New York City.
Eight Master Classes explored European Garnacha/Grenache quality wines, pairing Ecuadorian chocolates with sparkling wines, and a Riedel-sponsored class explored the impact of glass shape on the drinking experience. “The Buzz”, the expo’s dedicated, informal space for networking and knowledge exchange with a focus on current events, issues and trends impacting the U.S. beverage alcohol market, offered up sessions on DE&I, connecting with customers from Gen X to Z, and climate change.
Melanie Mann, principal category merchant, wine for Whole Foods Market, remarked, “This is our second year coming to Vinexpo America | Drinks America and I love it. It’s a triumph to get my team together in one place tasting the same wines and meeting with so many suppliers.” Addressing the challenges of a busy schedule and high demand, Mann noted. “The exhibition’s business matchmaking platform was amazing. I can’t say ‘yes’ to every meeting request that comes in during the calendar year. But here it’s acceptable to give 5 minutes – I love the efficiency. There’s a lot that is going to come out of these meetings.”
With over 2,000 restaurants across the U.S., Helen Mackey, senior vice president, marketing for Darden’s specialty restaurant group, who is also a part of Vinexpo America | Drinks America’s advisory board, added, “The show allows us to make new discoveries. We meet importers and distributors to see what we can bring to our restaurants that other people don’t have.” She added, “The products produced in the alcohol business are all experience-based, so people have to come to Vinexpo America | Drinks America to see these products come to life.”
“There is a lot of innovation here and I’m learning about new products and trends,” added Keith Shoemaker, Carnival Cruise Lines’ strategic sourcing manager for its beverage program. “What I enjoy is that Vinexpo America | Drinks America has attracted a concentrated supplier group that allows me to make connections with potential new suppliers easily.”
Referencing the new-for-2023 “New Wave” exhibitor section of the show featuring younger wine and spirits producers with less than five years in the business, Red Rocks D.C. Beverage Director David Constantine commented, “It’s exciting to see so many smaller, younger brands here, especially from Europe and other countries. In order to buy a product, you need to taste it and the show is giving these smaller brands great exposure.”
Input from exhibitors
Nadine Smith-Clarke, manager of international trade development for Wesgro, the official tourism, trade and investment promotion agency for Cape Town and the Western Cape, remarked, “The wine industry in South Africa has been around for 368 years, but people of color were not accepted to qualify in winemaking before 1995. The first woman of color qualified in 1995, after bridging a few hurdles before her application was accepted. Today we have women of color in entrepreneurship and enterprises still struggling with challenges such as market access, distribution and logistics.” This year Wesgro brought 15 Black-owned and female-owned brands from the Western Cape of Africa. “Vinexpo is how we make inroads, attending this wine show in New York is how we open markets for this group of wine businesses. This is important as this is how we all play a role in growing the South African wine industry which is one of our strongest industries back home.”
“The energy at Vinexpo is absolutely amazing and it’s so exciting to be here to tell the story of the wines of South Africa,” said Mojalefa Mosia, marketing director, The Bridge of Hope Wines. “Many of the wineries in South Africa are small, so being here is a growth-opportunity for our country, industry and Black-owned businesses. We will be back. This event is a win-win for everyone.”
“If the goal is to get your brand into the U.S. market, attending Vinexpo America is a necessity,” said Carolina de Funes, international manager, Garnacha/Grenache Quality Wines. “It’s the leading wine and spirits event with high, valuable traffic. This is an important way for us to build relationships and business.”
Edward Bayer, business development manager for Wines of Illyria, a small, women-owned import and distribution business of wines, spirits and beer from Bosnia-Herzegovina, remarked, “This is our first time at Vinexpo America | Drinks America and it’s been more than we imagined it would be. We made fantastic connections and new friends, and it was worth our investment and time to be here.”
Reflecting on the record-breaking turnout for 2023, Jules Esposito, spokesperson for Touraine Vines Du Val de Loire, said, “This year’s turnout shows that the wine and spirits industry is booming – it’s back and better than ever. We designed our booth to feel like a French bistro to encourage conversation over great wine and it did just that. A steady flow of people stopped by to learn more about Touraine – a huge opportunity for exposure to key industry leaders.”
Ryuma Tsuda, director of public relations for Okinawa Awamori Distillers Association, commented, “Not many people in the American market know about our brewery so attending the event has been good for meeting with distributors and other industry people so that our brand is recognized in the United States. We’ve had a really good reaction to our products at this event.”
Plans for Vinexpo America | Drinks America 2024 are in motion. The event will return to Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in early 2024, and attendee registration will open in September.
Vinexposium is the world’s leading organizer of wine and spirits trade events. The group boasts an extensive portfolio of iconic, high-performance events tailored to different market segments: Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris; Vinexpo America, Drinks America; Vinexpo Asia; Symposium; Vinexpo China; WBWE Amsterdam; and Vinexpo India, along with Vinexpo Explorer and Vinexpo Meetings. Vinexposium also continues to enhance its digital portal, Vinexposium Connect, the high-performance business enabler where industry members can connect 365 days a year around the world and enjoy online networking and exclusive content.
About Diversified Communications
Diversified Communications is a leading international media company with a portfolio of face-to-face exhibitions and conferences, online communities, and digital and print publications. As producers of these market-leading products, Diversified Communications connects, educates, and strengthens business communities in over 15 industries including: renewable energy, healthcare, natural and organic, food and beverage, and technology. Established in 1949 and headquartered in Portland, Maine, USA, with divisions and offices around the world, Diversified Communications remains a privately held, third-generation, family-owned business. For more information, visit www.divcom.com