This weekend, the organizers of ProWein, the annual wine trade fair in Düsseldorf -Germany, announced the conference would be postponed until further notice in light of health concerns surrounding the coronavirus that causes Covid-19. While hardly the first trade show to be cancelled or postponed due to the virus—the news came a few weeks after the 102nd China Food & Drinks Fair in Chengdu was delayed for the same reason, as was ITB Berlin, Geneva International Motor Show and many others.
It is the first major international beverage event to reschedule programming.
Many members of the wine industry now wonder if Vinitaly, the trade show scheduled for April in Verona, will proceed as planned, or might also be delayed as a result of the rapidly spreading virus.
Covid-19 was first detected in Wuhan, China, and the country is of course at the center of the outbreak. And although China doesn’t export very much wine it is very important to the wine business. Its factories make bottles, labels, caps and other packaging materials, and if factories and exports are shut down for a significant length of time, desperate producers will have to find other solutions.
“We’ve seen cargo ships stuck in port, we’ve seen huge delays, nothing going out, and then everybody trying to get their stuff out at the same time,” says Marian Leitner, co-founder and CEO of Archer Rose, which imports wines from Argentina, Chile, France and Italy for packaging in eco-friendly cans, boxes and kegs.
“What’s interesting is how this is going to impact particularly rosé and Prosecco heading into the summer season. Everybody’s going to be bringing in their exports over the next couple months, and now that it’s hit Italy, what does that mean? We’ve only just begun to see disruption.”
THIS IS NOT SARS, IT IS NEITHER THE SPANISH FLU