Between the 16 to 20 June 2013 Bordeaux opens its doors to over 50,000 wine professionals. Its first in 1981 was viewed by some as a potential Trojan Horse inviting the world’s wine competition to Bordeaux”s doorstep. Today Vinexpo is an accepted part of the city’s calender (every other year) particularly appreciated by restaurateurs, taxi drivers and hotels alike. Just don’t try and book a room!
Every two years (uneven) Bordeaux’s population expands by a quarter with the invasion of 50,000 odd wine professionals that swells the numbers in hotels and restaurants to popping. Fortunately since the arrival of Alain Juppé the city centre can just about stand it with its modern tram system, open quayside and organised shuttle buses. Most of the hotels close to Vinexpo (Bordeaux Lac) are reserved at the previous Vinexpo – that is two years in advance. There is a lack of rooms. Some wine professionals are forced to base themselves as far away as Arcachon and Langon.
First Vinexpo in 1981 : with 524 exhibitors (96 outside of France) from a total of 21 countries and 11,000 professional visitors who came from 50 countries.
Vinexpo 2011(30th anniversary of Vinexpo) : there were 2 400 exhibitors from 47 countries. 48 122 visitors from 148 countries et 1254 journalists. One out of three visitors was Asian with China providing the largest number of visitors.
Jean-Paul Jauffret, well-know wine merchant and first chairman of the fair, was in 1981 one of the instigators for this event. “When we proposed this idea to the Bordeaux Chamber of Commerce for the first time in 1981 I can tell you not everybody was very pleased. The wine growers and merchants reproached us for bringing in the Trojan horse by inviting wine growers and sellers of other countries to Bordeaux. But we, my partners and I, saw only advantages. Imagine, everybody from the whole wide world would come to our city, taste our wines. Business for our hotels, restaurants, banks, railway, planes, shops and so on. And besides, we make great wines in the Bordeaux-area; we can compete with the whole world. But this first fair was not easy to realize. In January 1981 we had only 10 participants! But nevertheless we started in June 1981 with 524 exhibitors from 21 countries; we got over 11.000 visitors from 51 countries. It was a start and most people were convinced: Vinexpo was good for Bordeaux”.