Is the coronavirus pandemic behind China? Response from Vinitaly China roadshow seems to suggest so.

Vinitaly has wrapped up its Italian wine roadshow this year in China, the first large-scale wine fair attended by international participants since the start of the pandemic, attracting over 2,500 guests, Vinitaly has revealed to Vino Joy News.

The response from the Vinitaly roadshow in three cities, namely Shanghai (September 14), Xiamen (September 16) and Chengdu (September 18), offers the strongest sign yet that China, the country where Covid-19 originated, has largely recovered from the pandemic with strict social distancing and contact tracing.

It also provides hopes and optimism on how wine events can be done when Covid-19 is brought under control. The pandemic this year virtually cancelled out all physical wine fairs in the world including ProWein Dusseldorf, Vinexpo Hong Kong and Vinitaly Verona due to safety and health concerns.

A guest at the roadshow

Earlier this year, ProWine China also kicked off a nationwide roadshow targeting mainly domestic wine trade. The Vinitaly roadshow, according to the organizer welcomed more international exhibitors and guests, who are bullish on the Chinese wine market.

Sixty-five exhibiting companies took part in the 2020 edition (10 more than the previous edition) representing 700 Italian wine labels, according to Vinitaly.

However, international exhibitors and visitors still had to go through 14-day quarantine before they could attend the roadshow. China at the moment only allows one international flight per week for each airline.

A plethora of events were featured during the roadshow including physical and digital B2B meetings for importers and the horeca channel, walk-around tastings and masterclasses specifically discussing “Chinese Women and Italian Wine”, which are curated by Leon Liang, winner of the Vinitaly 2019 International Award, and Lingzi He, the first VIA Academy Expert, in addition to “Italian Wine and Chinese Cuisine” hosted by Yang LV, the only Chinese Master Sommelier.

“It is an important step forwards and a significant occasion for Veronafiere Group operations in a year hit by the worldwide pandemic. We will set off again from Asia, with a system event in China that envisages physical attendance to support wine – one of the flagship Made in Italy products which, like others, is suffering from the effects of the international lockdown,”said Giovanni Mantovani, CEO of Veronafiere, parent company of Vinitaly.

Vinitaly’s China roadshow attracted over 2500 guests in three different cities.

The roadshow also acts a promotional tour for the upcoming Wine To Asia, the inaugural wine fair launched by Veronafiere SpA and China’s Pacco Communication Group Ltd. It is set to kick off in November with some 400 expected exhibitors.

“The Vinitaly roadshow will also ensure leverage to promote Wine To Asia, the international wine exhibition that Veronafiere, through its joint venture company Shenzhen Baina International Ltd., is organizing November 9-11 in Shenzhen”, he continued.

It will be one of the few large wine fairs happening in mainland China this year together with ProWine China.

Italian wine exports to China this year suffered a dramatic dip, echoing the country’s overall sluggish wine performance.

According to analysis by UVI-Unione Italiana Vini based on customs data, in the first six months of this year China posted a sharp decline in imports of Italian bottled still wines (-29.4%) and sparkling wines (- 36.2%).

These figures are in line with China’s overall wine imports. In the first half of the year, still wines fell back by -32.4% (more than 750 million dollars) compared to the same period in 2019, while sparkling wines lost 30.8%, according to the UVI-Unione Italiana Vini data.

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