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Gastronomy and Wine Portal

VieVinum: #1 in Austria and the first aesthetics model worldwide

This year’s VieVinum expo has demonstrated that Austria’s wine industry is becoming increasingly attractive to the global professional community: 16,000 visitors, 1,200 wine experts from 58 countries responded to the invitation and came to Vienna’s Hofburg Palace, setting a new exhibition attendance record. Drinks+ columnist was among the international journalists invited from all around the world.

Wine connecting people

Never before has VieVinum hosted such a significant number of wine buyers, distribution and sales, retail and hospitality experts, influencers and journalists. Among the guests, one could see representatives of the elite of the international wine community. Throughout the expo, I was lucky enough to meet Raimonds Tomsons – 2023 Best Sommelier of the World, no less than six well-known Master Sommeliers and a couple of dozen famous Masters of Wine. And, of course, those were just spotted by me, official statistics showed even more impressive numbers.

This year’s forum in Vienna made a breakthrough in international reputation. It will not be an exaggeration to say that VieVinum 2024 is not only Austria’s most representative exhibition forum (more than 550 exhibitors!) but also one of the most elegant wine events in the world.

Vienna’s Hofburg Imperial Palace, as well as other locations for accompanying events, are architectural gems, the involvement of which in holding the exhibition demonstrates how important wine is for Austrians. The elegant Hofburg does not need additional decorations. Modern stands with complex structures, which are common at large forums, would be inappropriate here.


This spring, we already wrote about a similar, impressive format, when all exhibitors have equal opportunities for visual expression, working at the tables as in a walk around tasting format, where wine plays the main role. But in Vienna, this format also had an aesthetic mission: to showcase wine and architectural masterpieces on an equal footing. The experience was pretty similar to going to the Theater, and the visitors did appreciate it! Despite the rather high ticket prices: 1 day standard ticket —  75 EUR, for trade visitors 55 EUR, for sommeliers and Weinakademiker 45 EUR; three days standard ticket — 190 EUR, for trade visitors 140 EUR. And just imagine – all three days of the event at the Vienna exhibition were sold out! Note that every component of VieVinum, both the visual part and the content, is the result of the titanic work carried out by the team of the Austrian Wine Marketing Board (Austrian Wine, AWMB).


To be honest, during the busy expo days it was not so easy to get a comment from Chris Yorke, CEO of AWMB, but despite the incredible workload, he shared his impressions of this year’s success with Drinks+: “VieVinum broke all records this year! This is very important for our producers, because their economic situation is not easy now. It also shows how much the popularity of our wines has grown around the world.”

Like most wineries in Austria, MAC Hoffmann, the agency organizing VieVinum, is a family business. And this VieVinum turned out to be special for Alexandra Graski-Hoffmann, the company’s CEO: MAC Hoffmann celebrated its 30th anniversary.

International Heroes and Rising Stars

The day before the opening of the exhibition, Austrian Wine organized exceptionally unique events. The first one was the International Heroes and Rising Stars flight tasting. Several tasting slots of one and a half hours were held in the luxurious Palais Niederösterreich starting from 9.00 on May 24.


Participants could individually choose from 18 expertly curated flights, which included a total of 76 wines from the International Heroes‘ category, and 26 from the Rising Stars.


International Heroes are the outstanding wines of Austria, which in 2022-2023 received more than 95 and 18 points (according to the evaluation scale of 100 or 20 points) at international competitions and ratings organized by reputable international media and well-known tasters. Rising Stars were selected by six national experts (sommeliers, traders and representatives of the professional media).


A warm welcome

The second unique pre-expo event was the Welcome Event, organized at the Museum of Applied Arts. It was incredibly beautiful! The luxurious halls and corridors of the museum, tables for tastings and tables for guests were decorated with flower arrangements of peonies, bluebells, foxgloves and other charms of European summer gardens.

The lighting of the halls had its own design scenario, which made it more festive. Austrian wines were lined up in separate bars corresponding to different regions: Vienna, Lower Austria, Styria and Burgenland.


There was also a bar with alternative wines and a themed Spritz cocktail. The central place was given to the vintage bar, where you could taste exclusive wines: Grüner Veltliner 2013 and 2006 Weinviertel DAC, 2010 Kremstal DAC Reserve, 2008 Kamptal DAC Reserve, 1996 Weinviertel; Riesling 1996 Weinviertel; Riesling 2009 Kremstal DAC Reserve, 2006 Wachau Smaragd, 2001 Thermenregion, 1997 Kremstal; Roter Traminer 1997 Südsteiermark; Weissburgunder 2005 Kamptal; Marillon 1995 Südsteiermark; Blaufränkisch 2015 Burgenland, 2013 Burgenland Reserve, 1995 Mittelburgenland; Sankt Laurent 2013 Burgenland Reserve, 2004 Thermenregion; Pinot Noir 2004 Burgenland Reserve, 2003 Burgenland; as well as sweet Weissburgunder 2001 Burgenland TBA and Grüner Veltliner 1994 Burgenland Strohwein.


The evening‘s entertainment program included the show of the Monito band, while guests could also enjoy the museum‘s current exposition with an exhibition of Gunter Konrad‘s works dedicated to Austria.


In the photo zone, decorated with a huge sofa, one could take a photo as a memory or decorate oneself with a temporary tattoo.


Austrian Wine Update with Chris Yorke

The VieVinum exhibition opened on May 25 with an important event: Chris Yorke‘s report on the situation and prospects of Austrian wines in the world. Briefly, the main facts. The cornerstones of the Austrian wines‘ strategy are  premiality, sustainability and a combination of traditions and innovations. The strategic goals of Austrian Wine are to continue the growth of exports with a medium-term goal of 250 million euros, maintaining a high share in the domestic market and close cooperation with wineries.


Sustainable viticulture is part of Austria’s DNA: 25% of vineyards are certified by Sustainable Austria, 22% are organically certified and 3% (or 15% of organically certified vineyards) practice biodynamic viticulture.

The year 2023 showed the financial result of the export of Austrian wines in the amount of 238.2 million euros with a volume of 65 million liters, which confirms the trend of premiumization of exports. The first place in the top ten importing countries belongs to Germany with a 45.7% market share and by a large margin from the other countries of the top ten, which includes Switzerland and the Netherlands, the USA and Canada, the countries of Northern Europe and Great Britain, which closes the top ten with a 1.34% share.


Austrian wine legislation continues to improve. The DAC system, which started 20 years ago in 2003, now covers the entire country. Thermenregion is the latest wine region to acquire DAC status in 2023. And at the beginning of 2023, the legislative basis for a national vineyard classification system was laid, in which each wine-growing region will be able to officially assign to individual vineyards —  Ried — the status of Erste Lage (Premier Cru) and Grosse Lage (Grand Cru) —  in accordance with strict criteria. The first vineyards are expected to be classified in 2025. AWMB conducts an ongoing global multi-channel education and information campaign. In addition to the main digital platform www.austrianwine.com, a new www.austrianvineyards.com was launched, which contains comprehensive information about the producers and wines of Austria. With the support of the AWMB, books and training manuals were published, which, by the way, were available free of charge to journalists and other important guests of the exhibition in the Austrian Wine Lounge.


However, both digital and traditional communications about wine are impossible without influencers and ambassadors. For the first time, the presentation of the Bacchus Prize Awards — an award with which the Austrian Wine Marketing Board honors professionals for outstanding services in spreading knowledge about Austrian wines — took place at VieVinum 2024. The 2024 laureates were Anne Krebiehl MW and the famous sommelier Gerhard Retter.

Austria is the Region of the Year, and VieVinum is the Magnet of the Region according to the Wine Travel Awards

International media group Drinks+ and its Wine Travel Awards project were honored to be information partners of VieVinum 2024. As part of this collaboration, VieVinum received the status of an exhibition-partner of the WTA 2023-2024, was nominated in the Magnet of the Region category of the Enogastronomic Events nomination and became the winner of the public vote. And this same year, according to the evaluation of the esteemed jury of the international Wine Travel Awards, Austria won the highest status — Region of the Year.


The exhibition in Vienna opened just a few days after the WTA 2023-2024 award ceremony in London, and it was so fortunate that at Hofburg Imperial Palace the trophy and the winner’s diploma were presented to Chris Yorke, whose efforts to promote the wines of this wonderful country cannot be overestimated.

VieVinum gave our reviewers the opportunity to personally meet the Austrian members of the WTA community and taste the wines at their stands: the excellent Chardonnay Ried Pössnitzberg and Sauvignon BlancTrockenbeerenauslese from Erwin Sabathi; Sauvignon Blanc and Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc) from Tement; Sauvignon Blanc Ried Alter Kranachberg and Blau Burgunder (Pinot Noir) from old vines from Sattlerhof (all listed wines come from Styria); Gruner Veltliner Federspiel Ried Kaiserberg from Domäne Wachau; as well as a line, including non-alcoholic wine, presented by the younger generation of the family, Joanna Rabl of Weingut Rabl, Kamptal.

By the way, all Austrian nominees, along with participants from 32 other countries, were presented in the Wine Travel Awards Guide 2022-2023 catalog, which was distributed from the media stand at VieVinum.


Wines of Ukraine, Wines of Greece and others

I was pleased to see the Wines of Greece – the guest exhibitor of VieVinum2024 – in a separate hall, as well as to attend the event organized by the Greek Wine Federation “Wines of Greece – sustainability with a sense of place”. Greek manufacturers participated in the exhibition with the understanding that this is only the first step to enter the Austrian market. Nevertheless, since the exhibition attracted a significant number of international buyers, journalists, representatives of HoReCa, Greek wines and wines of other foreign exhibitors were in the focus of their attention along with Austrian ones.


Among them were Wines of Ukraine, which received an invitation from Chris Yorke to participate in VieVinum for free. It should be noted that the CEO of AWMB constantly supports winemakers of Ukraine, sharing his experience, helping in educational and marketing projects. It is important hat during his report on the first day of the exhibition, Chris Yorke gave Wines of Ukraine the opportunity to present Ukraine by giving the floor to Svitlana Tsybak, Head of the Association of Craft Winemakers of Ukraine and a representative of Wines of Ukraine.


Wines of Ukraine presented the best Ukrainian wines at the national stand. The stand was visited by many experts, influencers and winelovers, sharing very positive feedback. On our recommendation, the Wines of Ukraine stand was visited by Jean Smullen, a wine journalist from Ireland, who later shared her impressions on her blog https://jeansmullen.com/Blog/Index/2154: “It was a very interesting tasting and the wines were diverse in quality as well as in style. 2023 Beykush Telti-Kuruk was very aromatic.


I tried the 2019 46 Parallel Grand Admiral a Brut Nature Rosé made from Pinot Noir and bottle aged for 46 months on its lees.  This was a real surprise, wonderful brioche notes and a well-made bottle fermented sparkling wine style, a real find! Finally, the 2022 Chateau Chizay Late Harvest Furmint was a lovely wine, ripe quince, juicy peach, pear, raisin and honey.”

The geography of VieVinum covered more than a dozen countries, including individual wineries in Germany, Spain, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Georgia, and Azerbaijan.

School of Wine

During the expo, School of Wine offered an intense program. The master class “Rare and Rarer – Thermenregion Pinot Noir & Zierfandler” was conducted by Anne Krebiehl MW, with the participation of the winemakers whose wines were featured in the flights.


Austria’s youngest DAC Thermenregion, named after the thermal waters that abound in these lands, produces wines from the indigenous Central European grape variety Zierfandler. These are well-balanced, fresh, fruity, with notes of herbs and minerality, elegant wines. The variety performs well on the chalky soils of the Thermenregion DAC — as well as Pinot Noir, of which there is proportionally more here than in other Austrian regions, although it accounts for only 1.1% of the red varieties grown in the region. Magnificent Pinot Noirs from individual Thermenregion DAC vineyards vary in style, but are always elegant, and surprisingly reasonably priced. The highest bid was 32 euros (winery price) for Pinot Noir Ried Holzspur 2019 Winzerfamilie Gregor Schup.


Another interesting presentation and tasting “The great vineyards of the Renowned Wineries of Burgenland” was held by the members of RWB — an association uniting 12 family wineries from different regions of Burgenland, which declared its mission as “devotion to origin with a focus on natural viticulture”. One sample from each participant was presented at the tasting. The tasting panel was opened by white Furmint and Chardonnay. Chardonnay Ried Tatschler 2004 Kollwentz made a special impression. A rich, intense bouquet – fresh and saturated with notes of spices. Yellow fruits and flowers, notes of brioche, beautifully integrated barrel. Elegant and full-bodied.


Among the reds, Blaufränkisch prevailed, but excellent wines from Pinot Noir, Sankt Laurent, Cabernet Sauvignon were also presented. The winemakers of this small association can rightly be proud of their craftsmanship and excellent wines, marked with a kind of quality mark — the RWB badge. And in general, VieVinum this year did something incredible: this exhibition managed to demonstrate and prove that all (!) 500 (!) participating Austrian wineries meet the highest quality standards guaranteed by the red and white Austrian Wine mark. Today it is recognized all over the world.


The next release of VieVinum will take place in Vienna on May 16-18, 2026.

Photos: Drinks+

This year’s VieVinum expo has demonstrated that Austria’s wine industry is becoming increasingly attractive to the global professional community: 16,000 visitors, 1,200 wine experts from 58 countries responded to the invitation and came to Vienna’s Hofburg Palace, setting a new exhibition attendance record. Drinks+ columnist was among the international journalists invited from all around the […]

Thousands of Wine Enthusiasts Attend RO-WINE Festival in Bucharest

The spring edition of the RO-WINE festival, held from May 24-26, 2024, at Fratelli Studios, attracted thousands of wine lovers from across the country and abroad. The event offered a unique and memorable experience, featuring over 10,000 bottles of wine, more than 2,000 pizzas with carefully selected ingredients, and over 2,000 specialty coffees from Constantin Coffee.

In the three themed zones, visitors could explore over 1,500 wine labels, some newly launched, from well-established local wineries and international wineries making their debut in Romania, including producers from Greece, Argentina, and Champagne.

Studio 1 — brought together renowned wine producers alongside young wineries from Romania and Moldova. Visitors had the opportunity to choose wines that matched their taste, from the latest vintages—2023 for whites and rosés, 2022 for reds—to precious labels that have made history over the past decade or more.

Studio 2 — Taste of Italy Salon, organized in partnership with the Italian Trade Agency (ICE), featured the Italian Ambassador to Romania, Alfredo Mangoni, who socialized with visitors and enjoyed his third participation in the RO-WINE festival.

Studio 3 — dedicated to importers, was buzzing with sparkling wines like Prosecco, Franciacorta, Cava, and Champagne, as well as excellent selections of still wines from the most appreciated companies.

The Italian Trade Agency (ICE) organized a masterclass on olive oil, led by Edoardo Nati from UNAPROL, giving participants the chance to differentiate and appreciate the attributes of authentic, high-quality olive oil.

Wine enthusiasts were eager to participate in the exclusive tastings proposed by the festival organizers, resulting in two of the most anticipated tastings being sold out within minutes of the announcements.

The masterclass area hosted guided tasting sessions by renowned experts, revealing the secrets of wine. Participants enjoyed unique experiences, including exclusive Champagne tastings (featuring wines from private reserves), 100-point Parker Bordeaux wines, and masterclasses conducted by international experts specially invited for the occasion.

Chef Ovidiu Malișevschi prepared several snacks to pair perfectly with the wines presented, such as Risotto al Nero d’Avola, a high-quality culinary delight appreciated by all participants.

Festival partner Macromex prepared exceptional gourmet delights for the weekend, presented at five exhibition stands. Participants enjoyed a generous area where they could taste the goodies prepared by Macromex and its brands, Food and Glory, Philadelphia Romania, La Lorraine Romania, and Dr. Oetker Professional. Additionally, they organized a raffle where visitors won delicious prizes.

The gourmet selection was completed by specialty coffee from Constantin Coffee, offering participants a comprehensive enogastronomic journey. As always, the coffee was highly appreciated and in great demand throughout the festival.

The Spring Edition of RO-Wine Bucharest was full of surprises, new labels, and gourmet delights perfectly paired with the premium wines at each stand.

The Spring Edition of the RO-Wine wine festival in Bucharest was a real success. We are pleased to announce the remarkable presence of HoReCa representatives, facilitating valuable connections between them and the producers present at the fair. The event attracted an impressive number of young wine enthusiasts, and the launch of new labels brought a fresh breath to the industry. Many new producers showcased their products, contributing to the diversity and quality of the experience offered to participants! — said the festival organizers, Marinela Ardelean and Liviu and Mihai Popescu.

Press Contact: Antonia Văideanu

E-mail: info@romaniawinefestival.com

Phone: 0763409052

The spring edition of the RO-WINE festival, held from May 24-26, 2024, at Fratelli Studios, attracted thousands of wine lovers from across the country and abroad. The event offered a unique and memorable experience, featuring over 10,000 bottles of wine, more than 2,000 pizzas with carefully selected ingredients, and over 2,000 specialty coffees from Constantin […]

ProWein 2024: Three Days of Wine & Spirits Jam

The Highlights and Impressions from Drinks+ and the Wine Travel Awards Team.

During these super busy three days of the leading trade fair for the wine and spirits industry, Düsseldorf transforms into the Wine & Spirits capital for those immersed in this international business scene. So, despite a rail strike disrupting many visitors’ plans on the final day, ProWein celebrated its 30th anniversary with an impressive turnout.

Due to the rather noticeable overlap in time with the global forum in Paris – Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris – on the sidelines of ProWein one could hear the desire of some participants to compare the growing French hub with the Dusseldorf patriarch. And yet, despite the attractiveness of the French location and the large-scale efforts of the Parisians, the experience won and Dusseldorf at the anniversary event, despite the impact of the pandemic in previous years, once again demonstrated numbers worthy of the world leader of wine expositions.  A total of 47,000 registered trade visitors from 135 countries and 5,400 exhibitors from 65 countries contributed to the event’s success.

The high ratings from visitors for the exhibited ranges created a positive atmosphere throughout the exhibition halls from 1 till 17!!! Trust us, it takes significant endurance to navigate through this expansive exhibition space multiple times a day, engaging with partners, negotiating new collaborations, attend bright events, and meticulously preparing for presentations and tastings – The Wine Travel Awards Tasting Around the Sustainable World.

Director Peter Schmitz comments on the success of ProWein, stating, “No other trade fair offers as wide a range as ProWein. All international wine-growing regions are represented in Düsseldorf. We are delighted to not only register top quality on the exhibitors’ part but also see top-notch people travel to Düsseldorf from all over the world, including an increased number of executives with decision-making powers.”

Indeed, we can confirm this truth firsthand, witnessing the bustling negotiations at the booths and engaging in conversations with the attendees. Additionally, the organizers provided us with feedback on the distribution of our publications. It’s evident that all these esteemed guests had the opportunity in all these business platforms to get acquainted with two print editions of Drinks+ Media Group:

The Wine Travel Awards Guide 2022-2023: the final catalogue of the WTA community members, that aims to showcase during the awards year the most dynamic and inventive wine and spirit businesses, brands, personalities, and projects participating in the second edition of the Wine Travel Awards.

Drinks+ magazine edition specifically about the Ukrainian market during the war time. Through this issue, our publishing house aimed to shed light on the unwavering spirit of Ukrainian winemakers, sommeliers, distributors, and all individuals in peaceful professions. Despite the challenges of vineyard shelling, enterprise destruction, and loss of lives, they persist in upholding the economy of both the industry and the nation.

These print editions were represented at the ProWein International Trade Press Stand as well as on the Digital Trade Press Stand – an online platform by Messe Düsseldorf, enhancing its visibility through integration with the ProWein Web Portal.

As well as had the opportunity to visit the esteemed yet intimate affair, The Wine Travel Awards Tasting Around the Sustainable World, called Weinland at ProWein Forum, to taste a meticulously curated selection of truly exceptional beverages, each imbued with the unique characteristics of its birthplace, discover the rich tapestry of the wine world.

ProWein 2024: What’s Fresh?

ProWein Expands its Offerings to Include ProSpirits for the First Time.

This year, ProWein reached a new milestone with the introduction and featuring an impressive and expansive showcase of ProSpirits, a dedicated brand world for spirits. Hall 5 showcased spirits, a segment with significant potential, alongside the Trend Show “same but different” for the urban bar scene. With 420 exhibitors from 40 countries occupying 4,800 square meters of exhibition space, ProSpirits highlighted trends such as brandy, vodka, liqueurs, agave spirits, and AI-RTD cocktails. Participants included spirits professionals from various countries, offering a diverse range of products and expertise. The ProSpirits Forum, featuring masterclasses, exhibitor presentations, and tastings, complemented the event.

The Trend Hour Tastings also proved very popular. Here, spirits ambassador Jürgen Deibel, (by the way, nominated for the Wine Travel Awards in the category “Ambassador of the Year” and for which you can vote here , showcased a variety of specialties and rarities, sharing valuable expertise and enjoyment with all attendees. The new concept received positive feedback from exhibitors and visitors alike, highlighting the significance and potential of the spirits segment at ProWein. Jürgen Deibel comment’s: “ProSpirits was again well organized and the number of people attending the new spirits home in hall 5 was fantastic! I really enjoyed my two sessions on the five trends in spirits! Big compliment goes out to the organizers and their team!”

The Moldova’s first AI Vintage

The Moldova’s first AI Vintage was presented at the ProWein 2024Masterclass moderated by wine connoisseur, Robert Joseph, who is one of our honourable judges at the Wine Travel Awards project. This first AI Red and White wines – a testament to the harmonious blend of Moldova’s rich winemaking tradition and ground-breaking technological advancement. Under the guidance of Chelaris, AI Winemaker, this red and white wine offered a unique insight into the future of viticulture and winemaking, where precision meets passion.

Robert Joseph comments: “Having been involved in this project from the beginning, I’m delighted with how it has turned out and in awe of the collective effort from everyone involved in Moldova. Unlike any other ‘AI-wine’ efforts of which I’m aware, this was not a one-off publicity campaign. It is genuinely an ongoing project bringing together Moldova’s wine and tech sectors with the aim of helping producers to make the best wine possible, with the help of truly useful data, data-anlysis and advice. It is NOT about handing over winemaking or viticulture to computers and robots. It IS about humans working WITH a wide range of tech

Central market topic: Sustainability

At ProWein 2024, sustainability took center stage, reflecting the industry’s ongoing focus on this crucial topic. International associations and initiatives like Bioland, Demeter, Ecovin, Fair’n Green, Respekt Biodyn, and Vignerons de Nature have long been champions of sustainability at the event. The “Organic World” featuring numerous organic vintners was a key highlight, alongside leading NGOs like the International Wineries for Climate Action (IWCA) and the Sustainable Wine Roundtable (SWR), further underscoring the trade fair’s commitment to sustainability.

In addition, Drinks+ Media Group also contributed to the topic of presenting sustainable development in such an important, but still not widespread among professional wine business as Sustainable Wine Tourism. The brilliant performance of Prof. Dr. Gergely Szolnoki from Geisenheim University, the WTA jury for the third year in a row was made in the framework of the presentation and tasting of 5 WTA nominees at ProWein Forum. His lecture concentrated the experience of several years of research and development of 1,500 wineries.

So, despite the fact that the event took place on the last day of the exhibition and against the background of the transporters’ strike, the hall was full. The organizers offered the guests of the event – distributors, wine critics, ambassadors, winemakers and sommeliers – a carefully selected pool of six truly exceptional drinks from five unique regions of the world, each of which was a reflection of the unique characteristics of its birthplace.

At ProWein 2024, several industry trends emerged – the short list.

“ProWein Zero” in Hall 1 focused on “no and low” alcohol options, accompanied by tastings organized by Meininger Verlag.

The “urban gastronomy by #asktoni & ProWein” Lounge targeted young, urban restaurateurs from Germany and beyond.

The “Packaging & Design” special show explored alternative packaging materials beyond glass bottles.

The Concept Store offered insights into wine presentation and marketing at the Point of Sale, covering topics like digital signage, sommelier bot consultations, self-service tastings, and sustainable packaging.

The Champagne Lounge showcased extensive Champagne ranges, drawing significant attention from attendees.

Let’s note a unique project from Valencia – Tarongino. With the help of innovative technologies and great enthusiasm, a few years ago the young generation of the company’s owners launched a very fashionable and truly progressive product on the market – 100% orange wines. As far as we know, this is truly the first orange wine made exclusively from 100% Valencian oranges by Tarongino. It has 7% alcohol, a transparent elegant color and an incredibly fresh taste. We couldn’t resist – and tasted Orange Spritz, Orange Wine, Frizzante Valencian Orange. We admit, it was really a new and incredible experience for us.

ProWein 2024: Iconic Partner Meetings and Tasting Tours

During the three very busy business days at the exhibition, Drinks+ Media Group editors had the chance to connect with partners and nominees of the Wine Travel Awards.

Florence Authier Meuric, a WTA nominee in the Ambassador of the Year category (vote for by March 31 Florence Authier Meuric), organised an exceptional stand at this ProWein 2024. With over 12 years of experience organizing stands at the ProWein trade show in Germany, she brings together multiple producers. Florence offers an “all-inclusive” formula, allowing producers to focus solely on meeting their customers while she takes care of the rest.

It was a delightful encounter at the Bernard Magrez Group stand, where we had the pleasure of conversing with the marketing team and personally greeting Mr. Bernard Magrez. We took the opportunity to present the WTA Guide. It’s worth noting that in 2023, WTA was chosen from among 2,000 startups to join the Bernard Magrez Start-Up Win Incubator. Now, we’re part of a dynamic environment that fosters innovative ideas and projects aimed at advancing the wine industry and wine tourism.

Moreover, we had the opportunity to meet with our longstanding partners, Consorzio dell’ASTI DOCG, and personally introduce the WTA Guide 2022-2023. During this meeting, we engaged in discussions with the consortium’s director, Giacomo Pondini, and the marketing director, Martina Bukavec. We are delighted by this encounter and value our collaborative partnership immensely.

Amidst meetings and and engaging discussions with top brand owners and innovative projects, we carved out time to participate in two exceptional tastings. “Surprising world-class wines from Chateau Purcari”, renowned for their exceptional quality and rich flavors, which are representing a perfect blend of tradition and innovation, moderated by Thomas Brandl, namely Chateau Pourcar has participated in the WTA in previous years, making the meeting quite pleasant.

The second tasting marked by us “The Evolution of Azerbaijani Wine” – an emerging treasure, offering a unique palette of flavors that reflect the country’s rich viticultural heritage and diverse terroirs. Thus it’s always enriching to gain further professional insights from colleagues in the field.


Speaking about the exclusive meetings during the press tour, to which we were invited by the organizers of ProWein, we should note that we received extremely valuable professional and simply pleasant impressions. One highlight was the first day, where we found ourselves enveloped in the enchanting ambiance of a gathering hosted by VDP. Die Prädikatsweingüter & the German Sommelier Union, celebrating the 30th anniversary of ProWein Somm Together. The event, characterized by its relaxed atmosphere and focus on wine, left a lasting impression.

Another exciting and unforgettable event from ProWein Team, organized for the special pull of journalists and guests where the Prosecco DOC Party ‘Sparkling Night’ at the very creative place in Dusseldorf Place to be | Forty Four.

A carefully planned informal meeting with Prosecco DOC management and the ProWein office team highlighted the priority of sparkling wine quality and excellence. After all, the Prosecco DOC label today is a sign of the highest craftsmanship and signals to the buyer that gastronomic pleasure is guaranteed.

The personification of this credo was a very good, refined party led by the management of Prosecco DOC. Once again, we were able to make sure that the northern pearl of the Italian sparkling wine tradition embodies freshness, celebration and versatility in pairing. Made from grapes grown in the picturesque Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia regions, these sparkling wines are renowned for their light, fruity and floral notes, making them perfect for any occasion. From the lively bubbles of the Brut to the sweeter notes of the Extra Dry, Prosecco DOC offers a range of expressions, each promising a delightful experience that captures the spirit of Italian vivacity.

In short, live music, haute cuisine, fine sparkling wines and the relaxed atmosphere of Sparkling Night shone brightly in the ProWein space.

So, let’s stay energized and optimistic to meet again at the fantastic professional showcase of ProWein on 16-18 March, 2025! Cheers!

Фото: ©Messe Düsseldorf / ctillmann

The Highlights and Impressions from Drinks+ and the Wine Travel Awards Team. During these super busy three days of the leading trade fair for the wine and spirits industry, Düsseldorf transforms into the Wine & Spirits capital for those immersed in this international business scene. So, despite a rail strike disrupting many visitors’ plans on […]

Wines of Ukraine at ProWein 2024: new gains, new perspectives

On March 10-12, Dusseldorf (Germany) will once again host the biggest international wine and spirits expo, ProWein 2024, gathering producers, buyers, importers, experts, media and influencers from around the world. Ukrainian winemakers will participate in this event under the Wines of Ukraine brand with the support of the USAID Competitive Economy Program in Ukraine. Drinks+ Media Group, the project’s international infopartner, will keep you updated.

Wines of Ukraine is a relatively new brand, created on the initiative and active participation of the Association of Craft Winemakers of Ukraine. Its full-fledged debut at ProWein last year was extremely successful: the Ukrainian stand attracted the attention of many experts, journalists and importers. 

“During the three days of the exhibition, we had many useful and interesting contacts, conducted hundreds of blitz tastings and business negotiations. A certain percentage of these contacts have already been converted into existing and prospective export contracts,” comments Svitlana Tsybak, co-founder of Wines of Ukraine, head of the Association of Craft Winemakers of Ukraine and CEO of Beykush Winery. 

Expanding the geography of exports, winning awards from international and national tasting competitions, the development of new wine regions, new wineries that have appeared despite the challenges of the full-scale invasion of Russia, which has been terrorizing Ukraine for two years, are incredible achievements and a sign of talent and hard work, as well as an indomitable Ukrainian character. 

Below are some figures and facts that illustrate the current state and dynamics of the development of Ukrainian winemaking*. 

✔️Currently, 160 wineries are officially registered in Ukraine, of which 40 are craft wineries with a production capacity of up to 100,000 liters per year. 

✔️Total area of vineyards: 30.2 thousand hectares (excluding temporarily occupied territories, since there is no reliable data on the condition of vineyards on these lands). 

✔The Black Sea and Zakarpattia regions are the most typical for viticulture and winemaking. In recent years however winemaking has been actively developing in the western, central and northern regions. At present, vineyards and wineries can be found around Kyiv, Lviv, Ternopil, Chernihiv etc. 

✔️More than 200 varieties of grapes are grown in Ukraine. The most significant local and indigenous varieties are Telti-Kuruk, Sukholimansky White, Citronny of Magarach, Kokur, Odessa Black, Ekim Kara, Magarach Bastardo. Ukrainian winegrowers and winemakers work with a large number of international and European varieties, including the PIWI varieties producing high-quality, elegant and interesting wines — Souvignier Gris, Solaris, Muscaris, Johanniter etc.

✔️Only in 2023, Ukrainian wines won 150 awards from prestigious international tasting competitions, including the first Ukrainian platinum medal from the Decanter Worldwide Awards for Muscat Ottonel Limited Edition 2016 by SHABO winery.

✔️The total export volume of Ukrainian wines in 2023 is $9 million. Last year, Wines of Ukraine beneficiaries exported and contracted wines worth $229,190. Due to the fact that several large producers have recently joined Wines of Ukraine, this number will increase significantly in 2024. 

✔️Key importer countries for Ukrainian wines in 2022-2023 are Estonia, Great Britain, USA, Sweden, Norway, Japan. 

*data provided by the State Statistics Committee of Ukraine, 2022-2023. 

“Ukrainian winemakers, officially, have not been exporting their products to the terrorist country of russia since 2014. The loss of the significant export gave impetus to more active cooperation with the European, British, American and Asian markets, and we consider these changes positive. Last year alone, the Wines of Ukraine team organized successful trade missions to 12 countries and held more than 30 tastings for experts, importers and media representatives. This year, we plan to expand the geography and number of such events. We are very grateful to our partners, the USAID Competitive Economy Program in Ukraine, for their support in promoting Ukrainian winemaking on international markets and expanding the export of our wines,” Serhiy Klimov, co-founder of Wines of Ukraine, comments on the situation.

The following wineries and spirit producers will be presented at the Wines of Ukraine stand at ProWein 2024: 

Beykush Winery (Mykolaiv region) 

Big Wines (Kyiv region) 

Biologist Craft Winery (Kyiv region) 

Bolgrad / Alcoline LLC (Odesa region) 

Chateau Chizay (Zakarpattia) 

Cikera / Medovyi Spas LLC (Kyiv region) 

Grande Vallee / Vintrest LLC (Odesa region) 

Honey Badger (Kyiv region) 

Kolonist / Veles LLC (Odesa region) 

Koblevo (Mykolaiv region) 

My Wine by Eduard Gorodetsky / Tiras winery LLC (Odesa region) 

46 Parallel Wine Group (Odesa region) 

SHABO Family Winery (Odesa region) 

Stoic Ukrainian Winery (Kherson region / Odesa region) 

Shosh Winery (Zakarpattia) 

Villa Tinta / Vinhol Oksamitnoe LLC (Odesa region).

The promising and successful Odesos Winery from Odesa will also present their wines at the expo. 

For more info about the participants please check their profiles at the Wines of Ukraine website

Welcome to visit the Wines of Ukraine stand at ProWein 2024 and taste wines and spirits from the best producers of Ukraine!

When: March 10-12, 2024. 

Where: Messe Düsseldorf, Stockumer Kirchstraße 61, 40474 Düsseldorf, Germany. 

Wines of Ukraine stand: 13Н52. 

The Wines of Ukraine team and the participants of the Ukrainian national stand are ready for communication and collaboration. Tasting and business appointments can be arranged in advance. 

✉️ For appointments and interviews please contact the team at: 



The Association of Craft Winemakers of Ukraine was established in 2021. Its tasks are the coordination and development of the Ukrainian wine industry, increasing the competitiveness of Ukrainian wines at the international markets, and promoting the Wines of Ukraine brand. During the war, the Association also invests a lot of effort in the restoration of destroyed wineries and demining of vineyards in the territories liberated from russian occupation. Currently, the Association includes 72 wineries.

The USAID Competitive Economy Program in Ukraine supports Ukrainian business in order to increase competitiveness in the domestic market of Ukraine and in international markets, helps in building a comprehensive and transparent business climate, also providing Ukrainian companies with opportunities to expand international trade. Wines of Ukraine have been cooperating with the USAID Competitive Economy Program in Ukraine since 2023. This grant-based collaboration is aimed to support Ukrainian winemaking, small and medium-sized enterprises of the wine and spirit industry, both in Ukraine and at the international markets. 

The participation of Wines of Ukraine in ProWein 2024 international expo supported by the USAID Competitive Economy Program in Ukraine will give a new push to the export of Ukrainian wines, increase the international recognition of Ukrainian winemaking and consolidate the status of Ukraine as a wine-producing country.

On March 10-12, Dusseldorf (Germany) will once again host the biggest international wine and spirits expo, ProWein 2024, gathering producers, buyers, importers, experts, media and influencers from around the world. Ukrainian winemakers will participate in this event under the Wines of Ukraine brand with the support of the USAID Competitive Economy Program in Ukraine. Drinks+ […]

Warsaw Wine Experience – a truly successful experience

In recent years, Poland’s wine market has been growing by 10% annually, and this is undoubtedly facilitated by events such as the Warsaw Wine Experience. The international Wine Travel Awards project joined the information partners of the Polish exhibition, thanks to which the wines of the award winners were presented at the Warsaw exposition.

The Warsaw Wine Experience, which took place for the first time in 2019, was founded by a team of experienced wine professionals. In 2012, they launched the Winicjatywa website. In 2017, they created Ferment, a magazine for wine lovers. Currently, the Ferment family of products includes a magazine, a website, wine awards, a wine school, a wine tourism agency and, launched in 2019, a new wine fair in Poland for consumers – Warsaw Wine Experience. The talented and professional team of the event organizers includes Tomasz Prange-Barczynski, who is a Wine Travel Awards nominee, editor-in-chief of Ferment and a regular judge at Mundus Vini.

Warsaw Wine Experience, held in October, attracted representatives of trade, winemakers and wine lovers. The organizers reported the participation of 45 exhibitors from 12 countries.

Visitors to the event had the opportunity to try a range of imported wines not yet available in Poland, meet producers and enjoy tasting an increasingly impressive selection of local wines.The organizers also offered a series of interesting workshops, seminars and tastings with commentary by Ferment editors:

  • “Polish wines: a new discovery” – Maciej Nowicki;
  • “Best Ferment Wines” – Wojciech Bońkowski MW;
  • “German Riesling and Terroir” – Tomasz Prange-Barczynski;
  • “Barolo 2018 – the new harvest of the king of Italian wines” – Maciej Świetlik.

Fernando Mora MW and Wojciech Bonkowski MW held a seminar “Aragon – Wines from the Mountains”, where they talked about the terroir and unsurpassed wines of the Spanish winery Bodegas Frontonio.

In turn, the media partner of the exhibition, Wine Travel Awards, represented SHUMI Winery, one of the most famous Georgian wineries of the new generation, winner of the WTA 2022–2023 awards in three categories: Visiting Card of the Country, Must Visit, Progressive Approach, Art & History Object.

It is worth reminding that Shumi also became the most successful Georgian winery at this year’s Mundus Vini competition (7 gold medals!). As part of the presentation, WTA held an author’s tasting of her company’s wines by Salome Lomsadze, Commercial Director of SHUMI Winery, who represents the younger generation of top managers of this unique winery complex.

The WTA team also presented the wines of SHUMI Winery and Vinos de La Luz at its stand throughout the exhibition. Vinos de La Luz has its own wineries around the world: in California, Spain (in three DOs), Argentina, Italy and Ukraine.

The premiere Ukrainian product is BIG WINES BIG ART limited edition. Ivan Marchuk 2020 Odesa Black has already collected many awards from world-famous competitions: Mundus  Vini-2023, Berliner Wine Trophy-2023 and Cervim-Viticoltura  Eroica-2023. And here’s another fact that our team is proud of: in 2022, our sponsor, Vinos de La Luz, was the only one among the participants of the DECANTER WORLD WINE AWARDS 2022 whose wines were awarded three platinum medals.

Among those invited to participate in the exhibition, our observers also particularly noted the impressions of Shabo Family Winery from Ukraine, Lenz Moser with samples of his Austrian and Chinese wines, as well as communication with the former editor of Meininger Verlag Richard Grosche, who now heads the Geheimrat J. Wegeler winery in Estrich-Winkel (Germany).

Richard Grosche, who is sincerely passionate about the Polish market, said: “Warsaw Wine Experience is a great showcase of what is available from the best importers and distributors. The organizers manage to hold exemplary master classes and generate a lot of interest in the world of fine wine, and they are very selective about what they present at this event.”

According to some economists, by 2035, average incomes in Poland could exceed those in the UK. Regardless of whether this happens over the next 12 years, there is no doubt that wine producers who once considered the UK, home of WSET and Masters of Wine, their main export destination are now paying much more attention to the rapidly developing Polish market.

The Warsaw Wine Experience will become an increasingly important date in the international calendar, competing for audience attention with those taking place in other wine-producing countries.

In recent years, Poland’s wine market has been growing by 10% annually, and this is undoubtedly facilitated by events such as the Warsaw Wine Experience. The international Wine Travel Awards project joined the information partners of the Polish exhibition, thanks to which the wines of the award winners were presented at the Warsaw exposition. The […]

Wine & Spirits Ukraine 2023. All signs of the revival

On 1–3 November, the capital of Ukraine hosted the Wine & Spirits Ukraine exhibition of wine and alcohol. The D+ observer collected the opinions and impressions of the participants.

The Wine & Spirits Ukraine exhibition is one of the most significant events in the wine and spirits industry, and this year, despite all the wartime difficulties, it brought together the country’s best winemakers for the fifth time. The event included an exposition of Ukrainian producers and importers, the WS Awards tasting competition, and the Wine & Spirits Congress. During the exhibition, Drinks+ Communications Media Group presented the first iteration of DRINKS+ magazine since the beginning of the full-scale invasion, dedicated to our heroic winemakers, importers, sommeliers, restaurateurs, and other enthusiasts who make the industry work today.

According to Wine & Spirits Ukraine CEO Victoria Agromakova, the number of participants has increased significantly compared to the previous spring exhibition: 53 exhibitors, including 50 Ukrainian producers. It is the largest number of Ukrainian exhibitors in the history of the exhibition. This year, many new exhibitors participated in the event: Alcoline/Bolgrad, Chateau Pinot, Narovylo Winery, etc. The energy and motivation with which our winemakers, craft beverage producers, and distillers continue their business in such a difficult time is impressive! 

Wine & Spirits Ukraine 2023

Despite the war, there were also foreign participants: the brother of former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, who is now under arrest by the country’s pro-Russian leadership, came to Kyiv and presented a wine made in his honour; there were importers from Estonia, representatives from Israel and Lithuania, etc. This year, 3,291 participants attended the exhibition.

Wine & Spirits Ukraine 2023

Another positive point is the record number of medals in the history of the tasting competition: 132 (including 7 platinum, 66 gold, 43 silver, and 16 bronze). 

Wine & Spirits Ukraine 2023

Victoria Agromakova commented on the event: “At first, we doubted whether we should hold another competition, as the last one we had in spring. But we felt a great demand and decided to repeat the tasting competition in November. After all, we were approached by many winemakers, for whom the competition is a professional opinion, a confirmation that they are doing everything right. We made four commissions instead of three because there were so many wines. Moreover, every year the jury notes that the quality of the wines is growing exponentially.”

Wine & Spirits Ukraine 2023

Another difference in the autumn exhibition is that while in spring there were many ordinary wine lovers among the visitors, now 95% of the visitors are professionals and buyers, which is very useful for the participating wineries, who are now particularly cautious about marketing activities and related costs. The exhibition was very lively, with a significant number of visitors even though they needed to buy tickets this time (100% of ticket sales we are going to use to support a Wine & Spirits Ukraine employee who is currently fighting at the front).

Wine & Spirits Ukraine 2023

Another sign of Ukrainian wine market development: this time, there were two collective stands at the exhibition the Association of Craft Winemakers (where 10 producers were represented) and the Association of Craft Distillers. For some participants, it was their first appearance in the world: for example, we can mention the wines of Valeriy Narovylo, which were awarded gold medals at the competition. According to Victoria Agromakova, the organisers used to not accept producers who did not yet have a production licence, but now with rules facilitation, we can state that medals at the competition give small winemakers an additional incentive to obtain a licence and move on. This allows them to reach a new level of production. 

Wine & Spirits Ukraine 2023

Today, it is trendy to drink Ukrainian wine and support small producers, so for craft winemakers, the exhibition is an impetus for development, an incentive to turn a hobby into a business. That is why Wine & Spirits Ukraine also holds seminars for craft producers under the auspices of the Association of Craft Winemakers of Ukraine, the first of which took place in the summer. At the seminars, winemakers can learn about the details of obtaining a licence, accounting rules, and get professional answers to their questions.

Thus, Wine & Spirits exhibition still maintains its reputation as a traditional meeting place for wine, spirits, and beer producers, experts, sommeliers, retailers, restaurateurs, importers, and distributors from all regions of Ukraine and abroad.

The autumn Wine & Spirits exhibition included several events at once: 

  • Exposition of Ukrainian producers and importers
  • Exposition of beer and low-alcohol drinks BeerEx Ukraine
  • International tasting competition of wines and spirits from around the world WS Awards
  • All-Ukrainian Wine & Spirits Congress

For exhibitors, such events are a great opportunity not only to meet colleagues and partners but also to meet potential customers and gather new contacts. Feedback from guests and exhibitors has repeatedly confirmed this. 

Wine & Spirits Ukraine 2023

Oksana Buyachok, co-founder of Father’s Winery, notes the successful outcome: “My impressions of the Wine & Spirits exhibition held in November this year are surprisingly positive. The key point of such an event is communication: meetings with new market players (winemakers, buyers, HoReCa representatives, publishers, etc.), with already familiar colleagues, and with professionals in the wine and spirits field. Therefore, the exhibition is an opportunity to gather useful contacts and discuss plans and experiences of overcoming crises. It is positive that Ukrainian producers together with foreign guests attended the event: for example, we were very pleased to welcome our partners from Estonia.”

Valeriy Narovylo, founder and chief winemaker of Narovylo Winery, who won a gold medal at the WS Awards for his wines Odesa Black, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Aged Chardonnay, also speaks of the successful participation: “This is a first experience for us: it is the first time we participate in such an exhibition. It was an interesting experience, so we liked everything. The main point I would like to note is communication with potential buyers and meetings with colleagues. Besides, it was a great competition! I got absolutely pleasant emotions from the exhibition.”

Wine & Spirits Ukraine 2023

Olena Krapivina, Leading Marketing Specialist at Prestige Group, also notes the benefits of the exhibition for the exchange of experience (Olena joined the pool of DRINKS+ columnists and debuted as the author of an article about the formation of the Wine of Ukraine brand during the war in the magazine #1, 2023): “Thank you to the organisers! I would like to note the high level of service and conscientious staff. One of the most useful aspects of the exhibition for us is, of course, the target audience, guests, and representatives of the HoReCa sector. We communicate and share experiences. Everything was great!”

Wine & Spirits Ukraine 2023

For most participants, such events are primarily image-building, as they allow them not only to find new contacts but also to increase brand visibility and find new fans of their products. This is what Olena Platko from Stakhovsky Wines says: “We enjoyed the exhibition this time. Especially the way everything was organised: clean glasses that were always delivered on time, convenience, and speed of service. This is very important because we do not spend extra time on preparation. I would also like to say something about people: the audience is relevant retailers and representatives of the HoReCa sector are interested in our wines. They ask about technologies and varieties, new products in the range. For us, this is primarily an image participation.”

Wine & Spirits Ukraine 2023

Sergey Parkhomchuk, Marketing Director at Prince Trubetskoi Winery: “I liked everything! Compared to the previous exhibition, today there are more producers represented and more guests. Moreover, visitors are from all over Ukraine. For us, this is primarily an information component. And this is the key. We talk about our brand, about the winery, which is almost on the front line. The second component is contacts: both consumers and market professionals come to the exhibition. Chains, restaurants, and distributors are represented here. Even foreigners have come, ignoring the war. For example, guests from Estonia. Finally, it is worth noting the image component, the presence of a competition. It is important for us because we have seen our strengths.”

Wine & Spirits Ukraine 2023

The three days of work at our stand at Wine & Spirits for the Drinks+ Communication Media Group were also very fruitful. First of all, we informed our colleagues, partners, and potential Ukrainian WTA nominees about the start of the new 20232024 season of the innovative Wine Travel Awards project. 

Ukraine Wine & Spirits Awards 2023

In addition, despite the war and the difficult situation for the Ukrainian market, the first issue of DRINKS+ magazine for this year was published and presented to guests and exhibitors just in time for the exhibition opening. 

It is a special edition of Wine&War. Ukrainian Chronicles which includes useful and interesting cases from the key players in the wine and spirits industry in Ukraine lives: stories of doing business during the war, and overcoming challenges and crises by importers, restaurateurs, sommeliers, and winemakers. In addition, the issue features our cultural achievements and unfortunate human losses. It is a kind of chronicle of the Ukrainian wine industry during the war. We wanted to introduce the world to our country and our industry’s heroic presence. 

Wine & Spirits Ukraine 2023

The next stop of the magazine’s distribution is Enoexpo/HoReCa2023 in Krakow (810 November). Later, the magazine will be available to participants and exhibitors at international exhibitions in Germany (Düsseldorf), France (Paris), the UK (London), and Italy (Verona).

On 1–3 November, the capital of Ukraine hosted the Wine & Spirits Ukraine exhibition of wine and alcohol. The D+ observer collected the opinions and impressions of the participants. The Wine & Spirits Ukraine exhibition is one of the most significant events in the wine and spirits industry, and this year, despite all the wartime […]

Concours Mondial de Bruxelles. How it works

Concours Mondial de Bruxelles (CMB) was founded in 1994 by Louis Havaux. Since 2006, the competition has traveled to the wine regions of several continents, holding tasting sessions in Lisbon, Bordeaux, Palermo, Luxembourg, Guimarães, Bratislava, Aigle, Beijing and Brno.

This year, Concours Mondial de Bruxelles celebrated its 30th anniversary in Poreč, Istria, Croatia, where a large-scale tasting of red and white wines was organized. More than 7500 wines from all over the world were evaluated by 320 wine professionals from 50 nationalities. Poreč has become the starting point for numerous wine routes and educational events, which have been perfectly organized by the CMB team in cooperation with Vinistra (the Istrian Vineyards and Winemakers Association), joined by national and regional organizations.

CMB Chairman Baudouin Havaux noted that the competition he leads reflects the latest market trends. One of the most important trends nowadays claims that wine culture has become an integral part of tourism. Croatia and Istria have a rich history, magnificent nature, exquisite cuisine and quality wines. This is one of the fastest growing wine tourism destinations. The incredible beauty of nature and the diversity of opportunities for wine and gastronomic tourism were demonstrated to an international team of judges, part of which were the journalists of Drinks+ and Wine Travel Awards.

The first day started with a presentation of the Istrian region and the Vinistra association by Caroline Gilby, MW, and a master class where the flagship varieties Malvasia Istriana and Teran were presented with different styles of wines – young and aged. The judges also had the opportunity to taste olive oil made from different varieties of olives, organoleptically diverse, but consistently high-quality olive oil – a product for which Istria is famous, and later to see the oldest olive tree in the Mediterranean, about 1600 years old, which grows in national park on the island of Brijuni and even continues to bear fruit (!).

The wines of Istria, and Croatia in general, were widely represented at the competition, which deservedly has the reputation of an independent, honest and one of the most influential wine competitions in the world.

The next three days began with intensive tastings, the wines of each flight were evaluated according to a strict protocol by multinational judging commissions of six members —  professionals from different areas of the wine business, headed by the chairmen, the most experienced and skilled tasters. In our commission, the chairman was Pasi Ketolainen, MW from Finland. The rest of the judges represented Macedonia, France, Greece, Mexico and Ukraine.

At the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles, wines are evaluated, but not only wine producers are valued, rewarded and promoted. The organizers celebrate the work and publicly welcome the most experienced judges, many of whom have been participating in the competition for decades.

Companies that have been participating in the competition since the first years of its foundation and have special achievements, also receive special recognition. This is how Casa Santos Lima from Portugal received the title of the “Most awarded company at the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles 1994-2023”.

In every manifestation, in every activity, Concours Mondial de Bruxelles demonstrates competent, proactive and organic marketing. Which is only natural, considering that CMB is a project of Vinopres, a very experienced marketing agency, which has been promoting wines and spirits for more than 30 years, publishing its own magazine called VINO!, hosting successful wine competitions, as well as other successful projects. At the anniversary Concours Mondial de Bruxelles, a capacious presentation of the development of the project was made.

In order to facilitate international communications, Concours Mondial de Bruxelles will be, as of now, increasingly referred to as CMB. Each year the CMB competition takes place in four sessions: Rose Wine session, Red & White Wine session, Sparkling Wine session and Sweet & Fortified Wine session. Some sessions are held on individual grape varieties: Sauvignon Blanc, Vranec and Marselan. Under the CMB umbrella, special national competitions are held, as well as competitions for specific products: Spirit selection and Sake selection.

Two new CMB projects have been launched in Mexico  recently. One of them is Wine Bar by Сoncours Mondial de Bruxelles, the first wine bar to open in Mexico City that exclusively serves CMB-winning wines by the glass and bottle. The second one is Wine Corner by Concours Mondial de Bruxelles, which has been launched in collaboration with United Airlines: in the first terminal of Mexico City International Airport, United Airlines passengers can choose wines and spirits from a wine list of CMB-winning wines.

Considering the new projects, it is quite logical that the next Сoncours Mondial de Bruxelles 2024 will be held in Mexico, in Guanajuato. The new host country was announced during the last tasting session and a special lunch with national cuisine and Mexican wines, both held in Poreč.

Сoncours Mondial de Bruxelles has become a meeting place for old friends and partners of Drinks +, as well as members of the Wine Travel Awards community. We were happy to welcome Thomas Brandl, Per Karlsson, Rojita Tiwari, who became the winners of the WTA 2022-2023 in the The brightest journey nomination in the Food & Wine Influencer category, partners from Wines of Moldova, and many others.

The CMB results give cause for congratulations to the WTA nominees. Among the gold medal winners are companies such as Zlaten Rozhen, Bulgaria – two golds; Armenia Wine Factory and Gevorkian Winery, Armenia; Vinaria Purcari, Moldova – ten gold medals!

The anniversary Сoncours Mondial de Bruxelle, Red & White Wine session opened new names on the world wine map: India won its first gold, Kazakhstan and Albania joined the ranks of medalists.

Find all results by the link: https://resultats.concoursmondial.com/en/results

The next Sparkling wine session will take place June 1-3 in Campania, Italy.

Concours Mondial de Bruxelles (CMB) was founded in 1994 by Louis Havaux. Since 2006, the competition has traveled to the wine regions of several continents, holding tasting sessions in Lisbon, Bordeaux, Palermo, Luxembourg, Guimarães, Bratislava, Aigle, Beijing and Brno. This year, Concours Mondial de Bruxelles celebrated its 30th anniversary in Poreč, Istria, Croatia, where a […]

ASI Best Sommelier of the World: peace, love and sommellerie

On 12th of February at Paris La Défense Arena, after the high-level competition between three finalists, Raimonds Tomsons from Latvia became the ASI Best Sommelier of the World 2023. Oleksandra Hryhorieva, Drinks+ Editor and Project Lead at the Wine Travel Awards, was invited to the final to share the course of events with our readers.

The festive music is playing. The Defence Arena is welcoming the public: 4,000 wine professionals and wine lovers coming from different countries, as well as students involved in the wine programs accompanied by their professors from all over France. After the welcome words are said by ASI President William Wouters and USDF (L’Union de la Sommellerie Française) President, and event organizer, Philippe Faure-Brac, 68 candidates are appearing on the stage under the spotlight. Here is the moment when we get to know the names of three finalists. Nina Jensen (Denmark), Raimonds Tomsons (Latvia), and Reeze Choi (China) keep competing for the title of ASI Best Sommelier of the World 2023.

ASI Best Sommelier of the World

The first finalist Reeze Choi from China is ready to perform. To imitate true scenes at the restaurant, tables, a cocktail and wine bar are installed directly on the stage. Even a professional bartender is invited to assist. Who are the clients? Of course, they are members of the jury committee sitting at the tables and making their orders, meaning scrutinizing and evaluating every move and word of the sommelier.

The first table is ordering two cocktails, Margarita and Old fashioned, and sparkling wine for a big celebration. This is the first contest of such a prestigious level for Reeze Choi, so he is quite nervous. However, the public is very supportive. Within three minutes, Reeze helps the bartender to prepare cocktails and serves the champagne elaborating on the vintage. Moving to the other two tables, Reeze has 14 minutes for a service. The second table asks for Château D’Issan 2016 (Margaux, magnum) which needs to be decanted. At the same time, the third table goes for Dom Pérignon Brut 2013 served immediately. One of the judges also requests a sommelier’s professional opinion on a red wine from Beaujolais they would like to serve at the corporate evening. This is an incredible scene to observe which gives you an impression to be at the theater and watch a performance of professional actors.

ASI Best Sommelier of the World

In her turn, the second finalist Nina Jensen from Denmark serves confidently and gracefully. She uses every minute of her time in order to provide more details on wines and suggest possible pairings. We can say that she is juggling ideas. She is open and smiling. So, it is not surprising that the public immediately fell in love with her.

Raimonds Tomsons from Latvia is performing the third. He is pretty well put together. He is polite and attentive to his clients. He is the only one who apologizes to the second table for waiting in order he can immediately serve the champagne to the third table. To reduce the tension, he adds some hints of humor: “Yeah, what a night here!” or “This is a Macaron decanter, almost like Macron, but a bit different.”

Sommeliers do not have to be good bartenders, but they have to be able to work in the restaurant environment with colleagues and to collaborate together. The first task is designed to check exactly those skills, as well as knowledge of service and drinks, in particular cocktails for which a guest can have different preferences.

ASI Best Sommelier of the World

The second task is a blind tasting where the candidates need to identify four white wines for 4 minutes. This appears to be tough as the finalists confuse Riesling with Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon with Chardonnay. The stress from a big responsibility reminds of itself. So, the four white wines are Nik Weis Goldtröpfchen G.G 2021 Mosel, Germany, Dom. Wachau Riesling Federspiel Loibenberg 2021 Wachau, Austria, Alheit Vineyards Monument Semillon 2021 Franschhoek, South Africa and Riccitelli Semillon 2021 Rio Negro, Patagonia. Straight after the tasting, the finalists need to associate two pieces of rock with two of the wines in front of them.

The next task is a food pairing. Chef Anne-Sophie Pic asks candidates to pair the proposed wines with the menu at her 3-Michelin-starred restaurant in Valencia.

The fourth task concerns the knowledge of the wine market. In the list of 12 wines, there are mistakes to be identified. All three finalists spotted some mistakes in vintages. For example, Krug Clos du Mesnil 1978 Champagne, France (the first vintage was in 1979), Vega Sicilia Único 2001 Ribera del Duero, Castilla y Leon, Spain (2001 vintage was not released). Some prices also contained errors: Château Margaux 1983 Margaux, Bordeaux, France cannot cost €250 (there should be one more zero) and this wine should be more expensive than Château Margaux 1982 Margaux, Bordeaux, France with the price of €1600 in the list.

ASI Best Sommelier of the World

The fifth individual task is a blind tasting where the sommeliers should, firstly, provide full organoleptic characteristics of a proposed red wine on their left and, secondly, identify the vintage and sell to the audience a red wine on their right. What is interesting here is that the two wines are Château Pétrus Pomerol but of different vintages, 2012 and 2003 respectively. This fact is not noticed by the finalists, however they easily define that the second wine is older with aging potential.

As each of the finalists passes all the tasks within 45 minutes in their turn, they do not actually see the performance and do not hear the answers of each other. However, they are gathered together for the final task. They are shown a series of images due to which they have to guess the wine. The earlier they guess the more points they gain. There are 5 wines in total to guess. Some are not obvious as in the case of Jean Louis Chave Ermitage Cuvée Cathelin.

Now it is done, all the tasks are accomplished, the finalists did their best. The audience froze in anticipation of the announcement of the winner. And the ASI Best Sommelier of the World 2023 becomes Raimonds Tomsons from Latvia. What emotions and a large round of applause! Raimonds is thrilled: “I cannot believe! I am extremely happy!” In his speech, there are many words of gratitude to all his supporters, coaches, trainers and family.

ASI Best Sommelier of the World

Raimonds Tomsons is a Board member at the Latvian Sommelier association, wine director at Barents Wine collectors (Riga, Latvia) and owner of Wine Consulting Ltd. Raimonds Tomsons. He is A.S.I. 3rd Best Sommelier of the world 2019 (Belgium), A.S.I. Best Sommelier of Europe and Africa 2017 (Austria), 3 times Best Sommelier of the Baltics, Vana Tallinn Grand Prix competition, 3 times Best Sommelier of Latvia.

Of the competition, ASI President William Wouters says, “it took more than 30 years for this contest to return to Paris. It was worth the wait! From the first day candidates arrived, they were treated to the hospitality and amazing gastronomy of France. As for the contest itself, it honoured the commitment of our candidates by being both challenging and fair. It is with great pride that we announce Raimonds Tomsons as the winner. I have no doubts they will be a fantastic representative of ASI, and an inspiration to our global sommelier community.”

Nina Basset, FIH Hotelier, who must have watched dozens of competitions, but for the first time in Paris in the status of ASI General Secretary was also sitting at the table in the restaurant installed on the stage. In our conversation, she noted the high level of preparation of candidates despite the stress that they experienced while passing all the tasks. This year, Nina Basset joined the Jury Committee at the Wine Travel Awards where the winner of the Ambassador of the Year category will be awarded with the Gérard Basset Prize “Ambassador of the Year”. Sommeliers are more than welcome to participate.

ASI Best Sommelier of the World

Drinks+ expresses its congratulations and warmest wishes to all the candidates and to the winner Raimonds Tomsons. Sommeliers put a lot of effort, time and money in order to learn different angles of the profession, travel to different wine-producing regions, taste many wines and develop their receptors. It inspires respect and admiration. Bravo!

In the following material about this year’s contest, we will shed light on the participation of the Ukrainian candidate. In the interview with Maryna Revkova, you will learn about her preparation to the ASI Best Sommelier of the World 2023, her impressions and personal favorites, as well as plans for the future and projects she is involved in.


On 12th of February at Paris La Défense Arena, after the high-level competition between three finalists, Raimonds Tomsons from Latvia became the ASI Best Sommelier of the World 2023. Oleksandra Hryhorieva, Drinks+ Editor and Project Lead at the Wine Travel Awards, was invited to the final to share the course of events with our readers. […]

Iryna Bystrytska: «The national brand “Wines of Ukraine” must belong to the state or industry»

The columnist D+ asked Iryna Bystrytska, international consultant of European donors projects aimed to support the wine industry in Ukraine, former Deputy Director of the National Office of Vine and Wine (ONVV) in 2018-2021, about the process of formation of Wines of Ukraine and the prospects of the Ukrainian industry, which is suffering from Russian aggression.

Iryna, your mission is very serious, so it is probably worth starting the conversation by what areas of your activity are addressed to the wine industry of Ukraine. 

In May 2021, we started to work with Ukrainian small businesses in the fields of viticulture and winemaking, as this industry has experienced a significant economic decline in recent years.

We provide technical assistance to small winemakers of Ukraine in the development of an integrated approach to the development of the industry. As part of our activities, multiple trainings are held. They are dedicated to the technological features of the production of natural grape wines in accordance with international quality and safety requirements. We organize events to raise winemakers’ awareness of sustainable development, provide consulting assistance in planning a development strategy, in particular, we have developed a Roadmap for Ukrainian winemaking sector.

Please provide more details about the Roadmap.

I was lucky enough to work with international expert Marco Tiggelman (Netherlands) on its development. And finally, exactly one month before the start of the war in Ukraine, on January 25, 2022, we presented the Roadmap for the development of winemaking in Ukraine to the industry representatives. The Roadmap includes the strategy for the development of Ukrainian viticulture and winemaking, and also outlines the difficulties faced by industry enterprises. The document includes the analysis of the current market situation, consumption and export statistics, the results of research into the state of the industry in Ukraine and other countries, the structure of the main players, as well as a number of recommendations and the action plan for the period until 2030. But, of course, the events in Ukraine made adjustments to our plans.

Can you share the most important domestic consumption and export figures – both positive and negative – from this document?

Let me show you the dynamics: if in 1996 the area under vineyards was 144,000 hectares, then in 2017, only 43,000 hectares remained. Production in 2020 amounted to 5.6 million dL. At the same time, in the same year, consumption in the domestic market reached 9.5 million dL. The share of imports reached about 43% of the total consumption, i.e. – 4.1 million dL. Instead, exports amounted to 244,000 dL, which corresponds to only 4% (according to Your Total Market). That is, local production satisfies only 50% of the market’s consumer demand, moreover, it has a tendency to decrease, primarily due to the annual decrease in the area of ​​vineyards. So, Ukraine, in principle, has a significant potential for the growth of the wine industry only at the expense of the domestic market. Even without considering export opportunities. But, of course, under the conditions of a stable increase in the quality of the produced wine – both for local consumption and for international markets. 

Is it possible to compare Ukraine with any other country that has followed a similar path?

Probably, it is worth comparing with Moldova, Georgia and Armenia – countries with a similar recent history and similar needs to transition from the mass production of the Soviet period and to reorganize the industry with a focus on quality and export. At the same time, there is a key difference between Ukraine and these countries – a capacious domestic market, while the wineries of Moldova, Georgia and Armenia are extremely dependent on exports. According to the ratio of exports and domestic consumption, it is probably more appropriate to compare Ukraine with Romania, a traditional wine-producing country, where exports do not exceed 10% of production.

What are the most important recommendations you make in the Roadmap?

I would like to start by saying that the Roadmap identifies four main strategic opportunities, each of which is a separate and significant area of ​​effort:

  1. The growth of consumption in the local market should be considered as the main opportunity for the Ukrainian wine industry.
  2. Another favourable factor for the Ukrainian wine industry may be the growth of exports and the diversification of export markets.
  3. The consequences of climate change should also be considered as a long-term perspective for the Ukrainian wine industry.
  4. The country’s wine tourism potential is another powerful prospect. 

As for the recommendations, there are more than 20 of them in the Roadmap, they are laid out in five main sections: “Viticulture”, “Production”, “Quality and compliance with standards”, “Structure of the industry”, “Promotion and communication”. Of course, from the point of view of the management of the industry, it is difficult not to notice a rather strong lag behind neighbouring countries, outdated and confusing legislation, the lack of a clear quality control system, primarily of imported products, and most importantly, the lack of a structure directly responsible for the industry and its development. An urgent recommendation is the integration of Ukraine into the world wine market, adaptation to international standards in production and legislation, membership entry into the international wine organization OIV, creation of the national Register of Vineyards and the Wine Office responsible for the promotion and health of the industry.

Let’s proceed to Wines of Ukraine. The situation around this concept seems strange to us and we are not sure that other countries experienced the same. After all, in our country there are several associations of producers who, independently of each other, promote and use this name in their activities. There are even a couple of sites whose domain names include this concept. Please comment on the situation and give your vision: how things should really be if we are talking about a civilized wine-making community guided by the rule of law.

Yes, indeed, the number of different associations, most of which are nominal, surprised us. Many of them compete with each other and do not make any contribution to the development of the industry, but rather create incomprehensible obstacles and additional difficulties in cases where they have been rejected around the world. For example, there are no longer legally prescribed recipes for wine anywhere, but in Ukraine they exist and associations deal with their coordination with the ministry, instead of seeking their cancellation. I had to communicate with wine associations of various countries, both state and public (For example, Australian Winemakers operate without state participation). However, everyone mentioned how difficult it was at the very beginning to unite producers and even difficult to simply sit down at a common negotiating table. But, as they say, the path will be overcome by the one who walks it. And the experience of different countries will help us in this.

What measures and who should implement them so that the concept of Wines of Ukraine finally becomes a reality?

Currently, we are working on the possible structure in Ukraine that should represent this brand. Of course, it cannot belong to a single association or individual. There are many possible options, we consider the formats of offices in different countries, prescribe the functionality of this structure, which we will later discuss with the industry. God willing, we will come up with the format that will suit Ukraine. If we talk about the financing of this structure, then in the first years it can also be international donor projects. In fact, Wines of Ukraine, like the rest of Wines of …. or identical brands of countries – rather needed for promotion in foreign markets and better for countries – new players in the wine world. For example, have you heard a lot about Wines of France? But you probably know the associations of the regions of France and specific wine brands that are not interested in acting under the umbrella brand of the country, they are world famous or too strong for it. The same logic works in the domestic market, where the consumer buys a specific brand, not Wines of Ukraine. To begin with, I would advise you to brainstorm and carefully understand what the umbrella state brand is for and how it works, and then take on the ambition of owning it.

Then maybe let’s talk, at least briefly, about the principles of the state brand Wines of…? During your work in the management of the National Vine and Wine Office of Moldova, you dealt with this concept, because it has been working successfully in Moldova for a long time. What are the mandate and objectives of Wines of…? As far as we understand it, the brand relates to the scope of issues of the National Office. In general, can it belong to a state institution? What could it look like in Ukraine?

A national brand, any, in this case in the field of winemaking, must belong to the state or the industry. That is, the right holder of the brand can be the state or a structure that represents the state and the industry. For example, in Moldova, the right holder of the Wine of Moldova brand is the National Vine and Wine Office of Moldova – the structure based on private-state partnership and acting under the auspices of the Ministry of Agriculture. It is an umbrella brand under which all wineries participate in exhibitions and various events. At the same time, according to the law, all wineries pay mandatory contributions to the vine and wine fund, depending on the volume of their sales. To the funds collected from the private sector – 50%, the state adds another 50% of its own. The resulting annual budget is spent on supporting and promoting Wines of Moldova both on foreign and domestic markets, for example, on the organization of the National Wine Day. Wine of Moldova was launched 7-8 years ago, not so long ago, and the National Vine and Wine Office was founded in 2013. What it should or can be in Ukraine  should be decided by the industry itself, in any case, Wines of Ukraine should represent the interests of all producers, and first of all the big ones, which will be the country’s visiting card and have a significant export volume.

How important do you think it is for emerging wine markets to have national, or if the country is lucky, international level media that would carry information to export markets about the country’s businesses and tourist destinations? Today, the world is watching what influence the mass media can have if they are supported at the state level. Are there any support programs for existing industry media?

I believe that a wine-producing country must have both professional journalists with education in the wine industry and a specialized press. This is one of the indicators of the level of wine culture in the state. For example, there are dozens of such editions in Great Britain or France, they organize international competitions and are doing well. Ukraine definitely needs media specialized in alcoholic beverages and the industry in general. Of course, today it is difficult to talk about any support from the state, but in the future, of course, industry support for the specialized media should be considered. Your editorial group has gone beyond the borders of Ukraine a long time ago, you can rather be called a regional or even international media, taking into account your long-standing presentations of Ukrainian winemakers at international expo hubs or the new Wine Travel Awards project, etc. I am expressing my sincere respect and admiration for the resilience of your team in these difficult times.

Thank you very much. Iryna, listening to you, a natural question arises: this complex field of industry management with integration into state institutions, even in the context of different countries, requires special experience, perhaps certain education or skills and knowledge. What path did you take to become an international expert of this level?

My career developed and grew in parallel with the economic development of the markets of Ukraine and Moldova. I started as a manager in large international companies, where I was responsible for a group of brands, then I worked as the head of the export development department in a company that was the leading alcohol producer in Ukraine, at that time we were the #2 vodka in the world and exported drinks to 82 countries. I was invited to work at the National Vine and Wine Office of Moldova by the project under the auspices of USAID. At first as a consultant on a number of projects, then I was offered to become a Deputy Director and, in addition to administrative activities, to directly deal with the international development of the industry and the national brand of Wine of Moldova. Hence, I got my experience and knowledge. That way turned out to be the best university.

Allow me to note that Moldova, as a wine-producing country, has really done a miracle over the years: it is not only united, not only performs brilliantly on the international arena, it (everyone understands that this is the achievement of the National Office and the people who worked on it!) managed to break the stereotype regarding the quality of Moldovan wine. So, for Ukraine, this is an example that nothing is impossible. We are sure that soon Ukraine will win and free its wine-growing regions from the invaders. What prospects await them, outlined by the Roadmap you have developed?

Despite the war and all the difficulties, we are focused on the future and are already conducting a number of programs and trainings for Ukrainian producers aimed at improving the quality of wines. These programs touch on important issues of production and sustainable development. Active consultation is currently underway with the sector and the Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food  regarding the recommendations of the Roadmap and the creation of the Wine Office, we are discussing important issues of the industry’s vitality in military and occupation conditions, as well as relationships with retail chains and how to maintain focus on national producers. We are working on the expansion of assistance to the wine industry and the involvement of various donor organizations for its support. I would not like to announce everything planned now, because we live in unstable times. But we look at the prospects of Ukrainian winemaking with great optimism, efforts are being made, so I will be happy to tell you more during our next meeting.

In view of the war that is being waged in Ukraine, what are the immediate plans of action?

For winemakers, in addition to trainings, we are planning study visits to Georgia and Armenia at the end of 2022 to exchange experience with associations of producers in different countries and to facilitate cooperation with leading scientific institutes

Thank you, Iryna, both for your work for the good of Ukraine and for the meaningful conversation!

The columnist D+ asked Iryna Bystrytska, international consultant of European donors projects aimed to support the wine industry in Ukraine, former Deputy Director of the National Office of Vine and Wine (ONVV) in 2018-2021, about the process of formation of Wines of Ukraine and the prospects of the Ukrainian industry, which is suffering from Russian […]

ProWein 2022: Same but Different

This year, one of the slogans of the world’s largest exhibition of wine and spirits was Same But Different, and ProWein fully confirmed this statement: the event’s immensity and grandeur which are usually associated with this meeting of the industry of professionals in viticulture, production, trade, and gastronomy have remained unchanged, but there were innovations and surprises, too: from the dates when events were conducted, to premieres and shows held during the exhibition. However, we are going to tell you about everything in the right order: as always, Drinks+ was in the heart of events, and we are ready to share these impressions with our readers.

Let us start with the fact that the long-awaited meeting of wine professionals in Düsseldorf took place after 2 years of forced “downtime” caused by the pandemic, so exhibitors and visitors came to Germany with special feelings and hopes. This year, more than 5,700 exhibitors from 62 countries took part in the exhibition, and the hospitable Messe Düsseldorf opened its doors to 38,000 visitors from 145 countries of the world.

Prowein flags

All three days long, 13 exhibition pavilions were filled with positive energy, which we, Drinks + journalists, could not help feeling. Large wine-producing countries – France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Germany and Austria – traditionally, had separate halls for wine connoisseurs from specific countries and regions: for example, the French wine-growing regions of Burgundy, Bordeaux, Champagne, Loire Valley and Corsica and other had large areas.

 ProWein French stand

The pavilion, where the countries of the New World exhibited their products, caused a great sensation: the overall interest in wines produced outside the traditional regions of Europe, has recently become a general trend in the wine world. So it is not surprising that the stands of winemakers from the United States, Chile, Argentina, New Zealand, South Africa and Australia have always been crowded.

 ProWein Argentina

Another popular “attraction” of this year’s ProWein was the pavilion of organic and biological wines. The global environmental agenda launched this trend some time ago, and year after year, despite the fact that the share of such wines is still quite small in total (for example, organic grapes are now cultivated by just over 2,000 wineries worldwide), the winemakers’ and wine professionals’ interest in such wines is constantly growing. We would like to distinguish two giants of this trend, which had their stands on ProWein: the German Federal Association of Organic Viticulture ECOVIN with ten wineries that are forming it, and the French organization Vignerons de Nature, which unites 30 winemakers introducing organic and biodynamic practices. Incidentally, France is a leader in this trend: on its terroirs, approximately one half of all global organic wineries have been operating.

ProWein organic wine

The pavilion of craft alcohol, beer and cider was interesting: it was probably the liveliest area of the whole exhibition, a meeting place for young creative representatives of craft winemaking and bar culture. Loud music, light shows, clothes which are far from being formal, and relaxed style of communication among exhibitors and visitors, as well as their relatively young age – all this suggested that you are not in the exhibition pavilion, but rather in a nightclub.

ProWein craft alcohol

Naturally, our team’s representatives spent most of their time in pavilion No.11, where the products of Central and Eastern Europe were exhibited, because this is where the stands of our numerous friends and partners who had participated in the first international wine tourism award Wine Travel Awards launched by Drinks+, were located. Our journalists brought to Düsseldorf an exclusive PR catalog of nominees and winners of the Wine Travel Awards Guide 2021-2022. We are proud that our catalog “kept good company” with other world publications about wine at the press stand of the International Trade Press, where visitors of the exhibition had an opportunity to review it for free.

ProWein International Trade Press

In addition to the printed version, it was possible to scan the catalog electronically using QR-code on posters that were placed in different areas of the exhibition.

ProWein WTA Guide

Incidentally, everyone can review the electronic version of the WTA Guide even now: it is posted on a special online platform Digital: online trade press stand of the website prowein.com, which is a new digital offer from Messe Düsseldorf.

Prowein WTA guide

Thus, among the participants of ProWein were WTA participants and sponsors, many of whom are long-standing friends of our editorial board: in the first instance, it is Dr. Ricardo Nunez, owner of Vinos de La Luz group of companies, whom we met in the pavilions of the exhibition. We are expressing sincere gratitude to the Doctor for his kind words dedicated to our project, in which he participated as a member of the jury and sponsor of the nomination Wine & Food Influencer. We should add that the brand ambassador of the international company Vinos de La Luz Nataliia Burlachenko received a special prize – Judge’s Choice Award, so we are waiting for her and Dr. Nunez at the Wine Travel Awards Ceremony at the London Wine Fair, which will take place at 12.30-14.30 on June 8, 2022 at the Industry Briefing Room.

Burlachenko and Dr. Nunez

We are giving you heads up: there were many pleasant meetings of such kind in the ProWein pavilions: for example, we had an opportunity to meet the legend of the wine world Robert Joseph, who is a member of the WTA judiciary board. We are proud that Mr. Joseph, having received a copy of the WTA Guide, appreciated the results of our work.

prowein Robert Joseph

Incidentally, our meeting with Robert Joseph took place at the stand of Moldovan winemakers, where he was holding a master class. The participation of the Moldovan “wine team” in ProWein was organized by the National Bureau of Grapes and Wine of Moldova: Parascovia Ignat, head of marketing department told us that this year, 37 companies presented their products under the brand “Wine of Moldova”. Despite the fact that the Moldovan stand had a record size – 224 square meters (!) – this time, not everyone had an opportunity to be represented at the world’s largest wine exhibition. So we can expect that next year the stand of Moldovan winemakers will be even larger. Well, this trend is quite natural, giving due consideration to rapid growth of the quality of Moldovan wines and their recognition in the world.

Prowein wine of Moldova

Several Moldovan winemakers had separate stands, including Vinari Purcari, which won in the category: Brand – the visiting card of the country.

Prowein Purcari

It should be emphasized that the winemakers of this company are very supportive of Ukraine: the company’s premises have become a refuge for our fellow citizens who are fleeing the war in Ukraine and coming to Moldova, and their exhibition stand was decorated with a poster depicting the wine called Freedom Blend: a drink created by combining local grape varieties of three countries that have been attacked by Russia in recent decades: Rara Niagre (Moldova), Bastardo (Ukraine), and Saperavi (Georgia).

Prowein purcari wine

Incidentally, Georgians were also widely represented at this exhibition: a joint stand of Georgian winemakers was organized by the Georgian Wine Association with the support of the National Wine Agency of Georgia. It was also crowded, and we could hardly get to one of the winners of the WTA – The Shumi Winery, which won the public vote in a record number of nominations, and also became the best in the Magnet of the region category. We look forward to seeing the Shumi Winery at the official Wine Travel Awards ceremony in London, where they will receive “Oscar” in the field of wine tourism.

Prowein Shumi

Another country that acted within the “united front” at the exhibition in Dusseldorf is Armenia. 20 Armenian winemakers had a joint stand organized with the support of the Vine and Wine Foundation of Armenia.

Prowein Armenia

It should be pointed out that this trend – to participate in large profile events under a single national brand – was very clear at ProWein: we saw stands uniting winemakers from Croatia, Ireland, Hungary, Slovenia, Tunisia, Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and other countries.

ProWein magazines

Unfortunately, this year, visitors of the world’s largest wine exhibition did not see a joint stand of the Ukrainian winemakers: the war and related difficulties – from funding problems to the inability of men to cross the Ukrainian border during the martial law – did not allow Ukraine to be properly represented at such a respectful and prestigious event. We do believe and hope that next time the circumstances will be more favorable for our winemakers, who, along with other fellow citizens, are facing difficult challenges.

ProWein Ukraine

Nevertheless, the Ukrainian flag was still available at the exhibition in Dusseldorf: in the first instance, a group of our winemakers managed to hold a small presentation and tasting of their wines despite all difficulties faced by our country.

Secondly, SHABO, another winner of the Wine Travel Awards in the Must Visit category (The Visiting Card of the Country nomination), presented its products at ProWein on its own.

prowein Shabo

It should be emphasized that a pleasant surprise was that foreign companies, having nothing to do with Ukraine, displayed our flag on their stands just to show that they are on the side of good – the side of kindness, truth, civilization, on the side of Ukraine. The Italian company Savio Trading, which produces and imports alcohol, is among such companies.

ProWein Italians

The entire world has been supporting us, so we hope that this year will be victorious for Ukraine, and 2023, when the next ProWein is scheduled to take place on March 19-21, will bring victory for the Ukrainian wines.

This year, one of the slogans of the world’s largest exhibition of wine and spirits was Same But Different, and ProWein fully confirmed this statement.