Fair President Nemesio de Lara and the Regional Minister of Agriculture, María Luisa Soriano, presided over the inauguration surrounded by representatives of all business, social and political sectors
The seventh FENAVIN National Wine Fair opened its doors this morning, revealing an optimal stage for the Spanish wine business to display its produce. Provincial Council and National Wine Fair President Nemesio de Lara made a call during the inauguration for cooperation that allows FENAVIN to grow, strengthen and thrive during these times marked by the crisis. He said that it was undeniable that, as had already happened in the previously paradisical global and Spanish economies, "everything could come crashing down in an instant". He insisted that only unity can create strength. It was with this idea in mind that the initial concept of FENAVIN was created, to unite the wine sector and focus, above all, on trade.
De Lara, accompanied by Agriculture Minister María Luisa Soriano, noted that FENAVIN, which is currently hosting the highest number of buyers and exhibitors in its history, is down to hard work and dedication. Faith and confidence are other key factors that have always been present and that are more vital than ever, "in the gloom that we in Spain are currently living through".
He said that FENAVIN opens its doors today for the seventh time dedicated to the vine cultivators, men and women of the countryside, winery owners, and to the thousands of people who live directly or indirectly for and from the grape and the wine. De Lara noted that, "in Castilla-La Mancha alone the agribusiness industry represents 30% of industrial GDP, and wine forms a significant part of this, as occurs in other regions of Spain such as La Rioja, Utiel-Requena, Penedés, Priorato, etc.".
De Lara insisted that FENAVIN has been prepared meticulously and stressed that the Fair"s essential clients are the Spanish wineries and cooperatives, "of which, for logical reasons, the majority are from Ciudad Real and Castilla-La Mancha. He stated that he doubted very much whether, "any other Fair in the world has as many buyers per exhibitor as FENAVIN".
After noting that FENAVIN continues to grow and offer unique peculiarities that are highly valued by exhibitors, such as the Wine Gallery, Business Centre, the Contact With … software tool, and the wide range of activities that the event offers, De Lara commented that in the months prior to the Fair there was concern that the poor economic conditions and the positive state of the wine market would have a negative impact on attendance at the seventh FENAVIN event. However, "we were completely wrong because over 200 wineries have missed out on a place". He added that "FENAVIN must have something going for it to get the blessing of those who know most about the sector; the wineries".
De Lara said that, on the other hand, in the 12 years since FENAVIN started, a lot of work has gone into things on all levels, in both the private and public sectors, and that vine growers have achieved prices that were unimaginable only a short time ago. However, he noted the danger that "resting on our laurels" entails. He insisted that it "would be a crass mistake", especially given the "current slowdown in the markets, especially in the cask wine market".
He referred to the modernization of vineyards that can lead to productivity increases and noted that it must continue in the future as market placement becomes more important. Furthermore, Spanish domestic wine consumption has not recovered and barely rose in 2012. De Lara said that potential changes to European rules must also be taken into account. He commented that, "in these circumstances we must remain alert, redouble our marketing and business efforts, and continue searching for new markets, and improving access to existing ones".
This, along with other reasons, is why FENAVIN exists, according to the President of the Ciudad Real Provincial Council. It must also prove that the public sector can be useful to private business, be at its service, and work alongside it. FENAVIN must also serve as a vantage point to watch over all the activity we have created in terms of increasing the size of our wineries and cooperatives, such as the pooling of marketing campaigns and actions, because in this world, and I don"t mean this pejoratively, small enterprises die out".
De Lara suggested that continuing to increase quality and consequently adding value is vital as the region is competitive in the bulk wine market but still has work to do at the bottling level. He insisted that this must occur "alongside marketing efforts to promote the consumption of wine as a healthy drink, and a new idea of the future of Spanish wine that is not so inward-looking and allows for exports that guarantees the sector a more interesting, stable future less vulnerable to ups and downs".
The FENAVIN President thinks that "we have a great product, great wineries, the latest technology and top quality professionals. The Spain brand, in terms of wine, is not just a pipe dream but a challenge, an umbrella that, unfolded well, can benefit us all".
He appealed to winery owners, buyers, importers and cooperatives to "use FENAVIN for their own ends" and apologized "for any mistakes that may have occurred". De Lara urged attendees to "enjoy the next few days. FENAVIN, as well as a tool for our wine market, is, I assure you, held in honour of you, of everyone involved in the Spanish wine sector".
Institutional support for the sector
Next, the Minister for Agriculture for the Regional Government, María Luisa Soriano, highlighted the potential of Castilla-La Mancha in the wine sector, given that the region is "Europe"s largest vineyard by surface area and Spain"s main exporter, making us a major player in the international wine trade".
Soriano stated that, "vines and wine contribute to the sustainability and social cohesion of Castilla-La Mancha" and showed her pride "in the people who dedicate their lives to this world, in their efforts, their work and their entrepreneurial character". She promised that they "would not find regional Government support lacking".
The Agriculture Minister recalled that in the past year the region"s wine industry had reached a "historical high" in terms of turnover, rising above 500 million euros for the first time. This was thanks mainly to large increases in average prices due to rising international recognition of the quality of Castilla-La Mancha"s wines.
She stressed the importance of maintaining strong promotional campaigns in export markets and highlighted that the region"s wineries and cooperatives had 16.4 million euros to spend on international marketing during the current wine year. The sum will allow 96 wineries to fund over 200 actions in 36 countries.
Soriano also highlighted that the prestigious magazine The Wine Advocate recently dedicated space to a tasting of Castilla-La Mancha wines by oenologist Neil Martin. The result was that 194 wines received more than 84 points, "which allows us to continue to open doors in the USA and in many other countries".
The FENAVIN Director explains the event"s pragmatic philosophy
FENAVIN Director Manuel Juliá explained the five basic concepts that drive the event. These came about after "an intense analysis of agrifood trade fairs around the world". The first concept is "trade, as, in essence, a trade fair is simply a meeting place where the right supply and the right demand meet. Everything must be designed and thought out to encourage the main point of the event: The trade deal or contract. All other considerations must be secondary to this unarguable reality of our market system".
He explained that "the second concept is a strategy based on making FENAVIN more about demand than about supply. The modern marketing reality, as opposed to that of the 1960s and 1970s, is that an understanding of the market is more important than a seduction of the market. Because of this we have pushed to eliminate the distractions found at big fairs that prevent exhibitors from focusing on their main task; selling rather than being sold to. This is why there are no peripheral industry exhibitions at FENAVIN, other than the press and sectoral organizations".
The third concept " is the development of an indirect marketing reality where we promote moderate wine consumption as a prestigious social activity. For this reason we have painters, poets, novelists, actors, travellers, etc. here to express to consumers that wine drunk in the right quantities is a healthy product that has been associated with pleasure throughout human history".
"Also, since the beginning, we decided that FENAVIN's main focus had to be on export markets. Since Spain joined The European Community in 1986 its economic destiny has been Europe and the world". This, said Juliá, is the fourth key concept of FENAVIN.
Finally, the fifth concept, according to the Fair Director, is "the development of working methods based on obsessive planning and organization, total professionalism, gravity without excess, liberated creativity, a constant drive to improve, total honesty, and complete confidence in the ability of the human mind to overcome, as our evolution shows, all strategic and day-to-day problems.
He summed up by stating that "these five concepts, the five elemental ideas that form our work philosophy, are ingrained in the minds of everyone in FENAVIN's management team. We want these clear, concise, determinant ideas to be the ones that guide us to the solution to even the most difficult problem".
The Mayoress of Ciudad Real welcomed attendees
The Mayoress Rosa Romera welcomed winery owners and buyers to FENAVIN after receiving praise from the Fair President and Director for the support that the Ciudad Real Town Hall has offered in different areas.
Romera expressed her delight that Ciudad Real had become the capital of wine during FENAVIN. She noted that Napoleon had predicted that La Mancha would become the largest vineyard in the world. The mayoress invited visitors to enjoy the city once they had finished their work day at the Fair.
Globalcaja President Higinio Olivares: "Castilla-La Mancha deserves this event"
After the official opening ceremony the dignitaries led a traditional tour of the fair pavilions. They stopped at several stands including those of Globalcaja, the event's main sponsor. Its president, Higinio Olivares, toasted the success of the Fair, commenting that "Castilla-La Mancha deserves this FENAVIN event".