Félix Solís, President of the Spanish Wine Federation
The President of the Spanish Wine Federation believes that "FENAVIN is a very professional trade fair that has become an unavoidable referent in our country due to its capacity to bring together wineries, purchasers and professionals"
Félix Solís, President of the Spanish Wine Federation, which is the organization that draws together the entire national wine sector, is very satisfied with the first collaboration agreement that has been signed with the National Trade Fair on Wine, a trade fair that he considers is devoted to and concerned about the sector's needs. In his opinion, "FENAVIN currently represents a highly pragmatic project, with a wine offer that is representative of all of Spain and not only of a few high range sectors, actually covering quality Spanish wines that are in search of their own niche on the global market". According to Solis, it is precisely this capacity to generate a business scenario that has turned the trade fair into the adequate partner to help the Federation to publicly plan and spread the message of corporate responsibility and the promotion of moderation in the consumption of wine.
1. The relationships between the Spanish Wine Federation and FENAVIN have always been very smooth, however, what does signing the first collaboration agreement with the trade fair, in its sixth edition, actually mean for the FEV?
From our point of view at the FEV we can see that the market and the offer of trade fairs is wide-ranging and that there is a healthy level of competition, although on the other hand the wineries are unable to participate in all the trade fairs. The trade fair offer has been improving in Spain, something to which FENAVIN has indeed contributed. Hence the reason why the FEV has involved itself to the point that its implication has increased in parallel fashion to FENAVIN's growth and improvement. We have signed an agreement that is very important for us in this 2011 edition, as FENAVIN represents a partner in the public dissemination of the message of corporate responsibility and promotion of moderation in consumption that we are advocating.
2. The main objectives that you have set out for your term of office as President are: to improve commercialization, to continue insisting on actions that promote the culture of wine as a food product and responsible consumption and to improve the level of professionalism in the wineries. How are you organizing and coordinating the achievement of these objectives?
The FEV's objectives are always common to all the companies and, in general, they are long term objectives, which are those that are more easily shared. The personal style of each FEV President, the president's corporate identification with certain business lines in the sector all contribute to reinforcing more efficient actions in order to achieve the objectives that represent everybody. The three lines that you have mentioned are priorities for the entire Spanish wine sector, all of which are reflected in the strategy that we share with the MARM (Ministry of the Environment and Rural and Marine Affairs) and that still continues to be valid. A three-year presidency is too short to establish a sector strategy, although it is a very adequate period in order to ensure that the objectives overlap between presidencies. However, it cannot be denied that to date the Presidents that have actually been relevant promoters of the FEV have also been successful entrepreneurs, persons that head their family shareholdings, that is, persons that have reached a good level of stability and projection in order to transfer their leadership and capacity to the service of others and to the entire sector.
3. Ever since its first edition, which took place in 2001, FENAVIN's objectives have been precisely the same as yours. How do you evaluate the National Trade Fair on Wine's influence on evolution of the national and regional wine sector during these years?
Indeed our objectives are also FENAVIN's, which comes to prove that FENAVIN is at the service of the sector, as could not be otherwise. The trade fair has a certain influence that has increased greatly at all levels, and what is good for the region cannot really be considered separately from the role that FENAVIN also plays as a showcase of the national offer for foreign purchasers. A trade fair is a market, an exchange forum and FENAVIN has indeed managed to find its place.
4. By the way, how do you remember your first reaction when you found out that the National Trade Fair on Wine was to be held in Ciudad Real? In what measure has your opinion evolved?
The truth of the matter is that the first time that the fair's representatives met with me to explain that they wanted to hold a fair of this type in Ciudad Real I told them that I was rather surprised and had doubts about its viability, although I fortunately have to admit that I was wrong because everything has been properly done from the very beginning. It is a very professional trade fair that has become an inescapable referent in our country due to its capacity to bring together wineries, purchasers and the trade, something that I am particularly happy about.
5. What role can FENAVIN 2011 hold in the current wine-producing situation?
Currently FENAVIN represents a highly pragmatic project, with a wine offer that is representative of all of Spain and not only of a few high range sectors, actually covering quality Spanish wines that are in search of their own niche on the global market, because they are competitive and of a very high quality, with corporate and commercial projects that ensure success. The wide-ranging offer of wines and the commercial response obtained by those who come in to the fair in search of what can truly be sold, the fact that the representatives that have the power to carry out operations are actually at the stands or at the trade fair means that the fair is not simply limited to appearances and public relations, along with the fact that the trade fair is capable of attracting purchasers and key persons, all of which actually represents the role that both the exhibitor and the sector expect in the current situation.
6. When it comes time to sell wines abroad the diversity of brands and images of Spanish wine represents a distinct difficulty. In your two-fold role as a Castellano-Manchego impresario and National President of the FEV, how can the strengthening of the regional image of wines coexist with the major boost experienced by the image of Spanish wines?
As always, scattering of efforts is a negative thing, which certainly does not contribute to selling abroad. A dispersion of efforts in brands, which in the end are subject to competition and a selection process, is not the same thing as the scattering of institutional efforts, something that is done with public money and not always by following economic criteria, which can also contribute to a dysfunction of the rules of competition. However and in turn, it is also necessary to unite all efforts in order to promote the "Spain" brand, the country image, in which so many factors intervene in that pertaining to its positioning, factors that range from historical ones right through to sports or tourist factors.
7. The latest data on exports underlines a 17% growth in sales abroad during the first nine months of the year, although in that pertaining to actual value, sales only increased in 8.5%. What is your evaluation of these figures?
The November figures, which are the most recent ones, actually confirm this tendency in exports. This is a sector that has decided to devote itself to exports due to the problem that involves a lack of domestic market. This is not a virtue in itself, but in fact a result of the domestic crisis experienced in the consumption of wine that predates the general crisis in Spain and hence the wine sector was already forewarned.
Notwithstanding, emphasis is to be placed on the fact that we find ourselves in a traditional producer country and that thousands and thousands of families depend on the world of wine and the culture of wine and responsible consumption of wine must be promoted, because we currently stand at a consumption of 17 liters per capita and year, while in France and Italy, the other two great producers, their figures treble ours.
As to the rest, well there is only a month to go before we close the year and see the real outcome. We must however remember that we cannot judge the general scene over the sole basis of exports. I have to insist that we have been feeling the crisis for more years now than the rest of the country's productive sectors.