Interviews with buyers from several companies from different continents, some with a turnover of 15 million euros per year
International buyers have pronounced themselves highly satisfied with the wines on offer at FENAVIN and the contacts made during the fair. We interviewed half a dozen of them from Africa, Europe and Asia, selected from the over 700 registered buyers from 60 countries who attended the Spanish National Wine Fair. The Business Centre was once again the trade motor of FENAVIN, as well as being a meeting point.
The Ciudad Real Chamber of Commerce contributed, once again, to the achievement of the Fair's objectives, thanks to an agreement signed by the Ciudad Real Provincial Council.
Vladimir Hrbek: "Don't make so much effort to imitate other wines and keep betting on native Spanish varieties and for the wines of your grandparents".
The Czech Vladimir Hrbek, from BMO Brno, importer of Spanish wines to the Czech republic, Slovakia and Poland with an annual turnover of millions of euros, was highly satisfied by his time at FENAVIN 2013. His company imports a lorry of Spanish wine every week throughout the year, mainly to the Czech Republic, where every person consumes 19.2 litres of wine per annum.
"This is the fourth time I have come, and what I am most interested in; riberas del Duero, riojas, from Castilla-La Mancha, Valencian wines, from Utiel-Requena, Alicante wines and cavas, I find here, said Hrbek, a buyer for one of Eastern Europe's largest companies and a lover of young Spanish wines
His company selects young wines, crianzas and reserves, "and Spain offers better value in the mid- and low-priced market segment than say, France. Here I have strong working relationships with providers".
In the past eight years he has noticed that "Spanish wineries have improved not just their technology, having moved from pottery to stainless steel, but also their personal communication with clients, in English and several other languages, which was previously lacking and is now much appreciated.
He estimates that the crisis, which he has barely noticed during the past two years, caused a 50% drop in sales of low-priced wine, but that conversely, sales of crianzas rose by 20% and sales of more expensive reserves by 10%.
Lastly, Hrbek makes a suggestion to Spanish wineries: "I would like Spanish wineries to focus less on making commercial, global wines and to concentrate on their own local grape varieties and the wines that their grandparents made, rather than trying to imitate others. Wine must taste like the fruit of the land and not make you feel like you are drinking wood or barrels".
Taiwanese company with a turnover of 7.5 million euros per annum
From Asia, Nikki Chiu of the Taiwanese company Creation Wine & Spirit Inc., one of the countries main importers with an annual turnover of 7.5 million euros, made several contacts and was satisfied with her time at FENAVIN.
She was looking mainly for reds as wine demand in Taiwan, with a potential market of 23 million people, is for 90% red versus just 10% white. This was her first visit to FENAVIN and she left happy because, "I was drawn here by my client Osborne and had several opportunities to meet new suppliers of crianzas and reserves, although I would have liked the Wine Gallery to be open for longer".
Thailand, good prospects
Miss Pawerak from Wines Distributor CO LTD., Thailand, had just inked potential new deals with two providers of red and sparkling wines. Meanwhile, Mr Sakorn of Siam Winery, also from Thailand, met with his habitual clients and was looking for new contacts. He talked about "the good prospects on offer at this interesting fair".
From South Africa, looking for Spanish wines
From Africa came Ivan Oertle, expert wine buyer for the Woolworths chain of over 300 delicatessen shops all over Africa, with a 12% market share, and Stefano Gabba of Gabba International, Fine Wine Trader. This South African importer, with over 20 years of experience, was at FENAVIN for the first time. Spanish wines are currently available only sparingly in this African country and both importers were at FENAVIN to increase their portfolio.
For Ivan Oertle the wines he found at FENAVIN were surprising thanks to their quality and innovation,. He noted that fruity, sweet and mild Spanish wines are a good match to the tastes of South African consumers; heralding a bright future for Spanish wines in the market.
Stefano Gabba, a long-term Italian resident of South Africa, stated that Spanish wines are a perfect balance of quality and price but fall down when it comes to promotion in Africa, a market with huge potential that has only been successfully tapped by Portugal and Chile so far. Gabba attributes the lack of advertising to a dearth of institutional support.
Gabba also explained that his aim is to prepare for the future by looking for novelties and finding small wineries with something different to offer from the big brands in the middle-to-high-end market segment.
Discussing FENAVIN both agreed that it was well organized and structured. Oertle highlighted the Wine Gallery; "it's the best I have seen at any of the fairs I have visited, it's fantastic. I can make ten contacts a day and another fifty thanks to the wines I tried in the Gallery". Gabba highlighted the high quality of the web page, stating that it was as good as prowine's, and the Contact With … software application, although he commented that buyers seemed to understand it better than providers.
One of Russia's main importers of Premium Spanish wine
Russian buyer Vladislav Volkov, from the Vinotierra company, which turns over 16 million euros per year, was at FENAVIN on a tight schedule, planning to meet about 30 potential providers. He described the event as " a great opportunity to meet clients and increase my contact list".
Volkov works at the Premium end of the market, with wines sold directly to consumers at prices between 20 and 50 euros. He was at the Fair looking for cavas, verdejos, albariños, riberas del Duero, riojas and priorats, rather than wines from the area around FENAVIN. These he said, "are cheaper wines and not in my market segment as I work with winery prices of between seven and 15 euros".
The buyer praised the Contact With … system which allowed him to prearrange his meetings and find exactly what he was looking for yet again, this being his third visit to FENAVIN.
Volkov's company supplies Spanish wines to the Russian catering industry, as well as to specialist wine boutiques in a country where average wine consumption is around 10 litres per person per annum.
2.283 buyers from 59 countries since 2001
Since the first FENAVIN event in 2001, the Fair has focused on internationalization and, during this period, has brought 2,283 buyers from 59 countries to Ciudad Real for trade purposes. The majority of these buyers were from mature markets such as Germany (302 buyers), the United States (220), United Kingdom (171), Poland (154), Japan (146), Scandinavia (145) and Belgium (141). However, FENAVIN has also been pushing into emerging markets such as Brazil, China, Russia and India. In fact, since the first event, 133 Chinese buyers, 72 Brazilians, 42 Russians and 28 Indians have attended, along with buyers from 31 other countries with good prospects for Spanish wine, including 31 from Lebanon, 30 from Hong Kong, 25 from Taiwan and 19 from Singapore.
Contact With …
Importers used the Contact With … software tool, designed by the FENAVIN management team to optimize business contacts between buyers and wineries, which was operational between April 8 and May 7 on the official website www.fenavin.com.
FENAVIN is the only trade fair in the world that allows attendees to arrange their meetings so far in advance and therefore allows them to set business goals before the event has even started. All registered exhibitors at the Fair, 1,214 wineries, armed with the codes provided by the fair management, were able to access the meetings diary along with some 700 buyers registered with the 61 delegations that the Ciudad Real event has around the world: In Germany, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, South Korea, Costa Rica, Denmark, USA, Slovakia, Slovenia, Estonia, Philippines, Finland, France, Holland, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Ireland, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, Norway, Oman, Panama, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, United Kingdom, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Romania, Russia, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Ecuador, El Salvador, Turkey and Ukraine, as well as counties that have signed up this year: Belarus, Chile, Croatia, Morocco, Serbia, South Africa, Thailand and Uruguay.