Vinitaly 2023: business and internationalisation

Mar 3 2023, 14:25 | by Gambero Rosso
The 2023 edition of Vinitaly sets out to achieve important goals. From internalizing the fair to betting on new activities, touching on various themes including sustainability, design and small wine production.

According to science, 55 is the age of optimism. Indeed, there is a lot of optimism at Veronafiere for the next edition of Vinitaly: the 55th, as a matter of fact, held in Verona from April 2 to 5. This Optimism is justified by many factors. Firstly, having passed the Covid hurdle, remaining a central appointment in the global wine calendar. Then, the wait for a fully international edition with no limitations on arrivals from abroad and above all consolidating buyer loyalty over the years. Finally, the debut of the new government structure: Federico Bricolo, the new President, no general manager and more powers given to the figure of the managing director, Maurizio Danese. To quote him, «this will be a lighter, smarter and more effective international exhibition of wines and spirits.»

Strengthening B2B

Within the convention perimeter, spotlights will be on business, according to the strengthening of that model, which has been desired for some time, which aims to increasingly distinguish the spaces dedicated to insiders from those designed for the general public of enthusiasts. For professionals, it was thought to enhance b2b interaction between companies and buyers innovatively, as well as strengthen the "Taste and Buy" format with specialized operators identified by the convention network in collaboration with companies. The "Vinitaly Plus" digital platform is also moving in this direction for the consolidation of commercial relationships throughout the year, as well as for the creation of a calendar of meetings during the days of the event. There will also be a focus on the latest trends. In this regard, among the proposals present in the 16 exhibition pavilions (all sold-out), there will be an area dedicated to the 'fourth color of wine' with the Orange Wine phenomenon, the section reserved for limited edition niche productions of the highest quality, MicroMegaWines – Micro Size, Mega Quality, the Organic Hall which implements the Vinitaly Bio offer, and the space reserved for the art of cocktails Mixology.

The general public and the city

For the general public of enthusiasts, the "party" will begin a few days earlier with what has now become to all intents and purposes a real "off-show": Vinitaly and the City, on stage from March 31st to April 3rd. From the Mercato Vecchio courtyard to the Cortile del Tribunale passing through Piazza dei Signori with the loggia of Fra Giocondo, the ancient loggia and the Lamberti tower, the hall dedicated to wine lovers meets in the historic centre of Verona with cultural events, presentations, master classes, installations, tastings, performances and guided tours in the streets of the city. Meanwhile, to immerse ourselves even more in the atmosphere of Vinitaly, we asked CEO Maurizio Danese to reveal a few more details of this year's edition.

Maurizio Danese raises: a lighter, smarter, and more effective International Exhibition

CEO Maurizio Danese explains the new course of Vinitaly, one of the international conventions dedicated to the nectar of Bacchus and to the most important spirits in the world. We talked to him about the future and the prospects of a sector that has emerged with momentum from the years of the pandemic crisis.

What should we expect from this year’s Vinitaly, the first with the new governance of Veronafiere?

We have launched an important renewal process for our Vinitaly convention, both in Italy and abroad, with the aim of further increasing the positioning of the brand within the next two years. We are working on a very clear bisector, based on discussions with operators, exhibitors, and, obviously, Veronafiere's new business model. We are absolutely aware of the central role of Vinitaly in the promotion and internationalization of the sector. For this reason - also thanks to the roadshow that has just ended - this year we have activated an unprecedented marketing campaign: to promote awareness of Italian wine, to consolidate relations with buyers and to strengthen incoming in the medium term. Business and internationalization are the keywords, to be achieved not only with b2b but also through an improvement of online and offline services, starting with logistics. Using three adjectives, I'm imagining a lighter, smarter and more effective Vinitaly.

After last year's return, with still some restrictions on foreign countries, will this be a fully international Vinitaly again?

Not that last year wasn't, after the two-year hiatus. Let me remind you that despite the "physiological" absence of China and Russia in particular, the incidence of foreign operators in relation to entries was among the highest ever recorded. This year we have considerably increased the foreign budget and expect to have about 40% more top buyers than in 2022. China will make a great comeback, which after the lockdowns is ready to regain its status as an emerging giant. With our offices in Shanghai and the joint venture based in Shenzhen, in coordination with Verona and the Ice network, we are selecting the main operators on the China market: ranging from top-level groups in HoReCa, such as the Bottega Group, Ensue, Vino Bento and Wine Universe; to the top 20 national importers in terms of volume and value such as Cws, Interpocrom and Asc, to e-commerce platforms such as Lady Penguin and Vinehoo. A task force that is working on over 100 highly qualified Chinese buyers. The quantitative evolution of foreign demand will obviously concern all the main outlets and emerging markets, starting from the United States and Canada to South Korea passing through the Old Continent up to South America.

After such a destabilizing three-year period, between Covid, war, and inflation, what are exhibitors asking today at an important trade fair like Vinitaly?

We are aware that collective listening is the basis of common growth because Vinitaly does not belong only to Veronafiere but is a heritage to be shared with the whole world of wine. At the same time, we are convinced that we have to offer not only opportunities and services but also precise directions to the sector. For this reason, in addition to business opportunities - because this is the main request of companies - we will increasingly combine analysis and information on the markets to be shared with the sector. All this is also through a greater diffusion of online tools. What we will continue to selectively reduce at the convention will be enthusiasts.

Enthusiasts will instead find another place dedicated to them: Vinitaly and the City. What room for growth is there for this off-con?

If the approach to the trade fair is increasingly business-oriented and aimed at highly specialized professional operators, Vinitaly and the City (March 31 - April 3) is due to become in all intents and purposes the "Fuorisalone" dedicated to wine lovers. The four-day event organized in the historic center of Verona aims to increase the presence of wine lovers through a rich program of masterclasses, tastings, wine talks, and cultural events capable of satisfying the expectations and needs of the general public. An even clearer demarcation has been undertaken with Vinitaly since last year, which aims to perfect the b2b side within the trade fair and the culture and storytelling of wine in the city. According to our surveys, in fact, Verona represents an essential added value for exhibitors and operators.

Different themes

Micro Mega Wines. Micro size, mega quality

"Small is beautiful'' is the slogan of this section of Vinitaly curated by wine writer Ian D'Agata and dedicated to the production of small volumes, niche, and limited editions which this year is in its second edition. The presence of about 40 wineries has been confirmed for a schedule of tastings and masterclasses that will cross the borders of the convention, with activities also organized at Vinitaly and the City. Among the participants, the wines produced by Nerello Mascalese grapes in Calabria, the Dorona of the Venetian lagoon, the Moscato Giallo from the Euganean Hills, the Piemonte Albarossa passing through the authentic Trebbiano Abruzzese up to the Cabernet Franc in Tuscany and the Ribona of Macerata.

International Wine Hall

This is the pavilion dedicated to international production which hosts most of the foreign exhibitors present at Vinitaly. Several countries will be present at the stands: France, Lebanon, South Africa, Santo Domingo, Portugal, and Spain without forgetting Austria, Argentina, and Brazil. Among the new entries of the 2023 edition there will be Armenia, Bulgaria, Algeria, and Tunisia and the Balkan project (Macedonia, Albania, and Serbia).

Vinitaly Bio

Certified organic wine produced in Italy and abroad meets at the Organic Hall with Vinitaly Bio, the space wanted by Veronafiere to tell the story of the dynamics of organic wine and its production. In addition to the exhibition desks, there is also space for the organic wine shop with the presence of the exhibitors' organic wines and the tasting rooms, where producers can present their labels directly to domestic and international buyers.

Vinitaly and the city

Vini d’Italia Tasting

From March 31 to April 3, 2023

Cortile del Tribunale  | Verona

Friday, March 31 - 6:00 pm-12:00 am

Saturday, April 1 - 3.00 pm-12.00 am

Sunday, April 2 - 3.00 pm-12.00 am

Monday, April 3 - 6:00 pm-12:00 am


Tre Bicchieri 2023 Tasting

Sunday, April 2 | 11:00 am – 4:30 pm

Sala Argento | Palaexpo |

Entrance A2 | Level -1

Presentation  Guida Oli d’Italia 2023 guide

Monday, April 3 | 3:00 pm

Sala Salieri | Palaexpo | Level -1

And the Gambero Rosso-Vinitaly axis is consolidated in Verona

For this 55th edition, the relationship between Gambero Rosso and Vinitaly is renewed and strengthened, with a series of initiatives both inside and outside the Convention. Debut for the Vini d'Italia Tasting at Vinitaly and the City: four days (March 31-April 3) of wine tasting with some of the best labels selected from the Gambero Rosso 2023 Guide in the splendid setting of the Cortile del Tribunale in Verona. Inside the grounds of the trade fair, however, on opening day, the Tre Bicchieri tasting will take place as usual, where it will be possible to find the wines that have obtained the maximum score in 2023. On Monday April 3rd, will see the presentation of the Oli d'Italia 2023 guide. In addition, Gambero Rosso will be present with its own stand in the Tuscany Pavilion (Pad 9 - C16) every day of the Convention.

Sol&Agrifood and B/Open

Extra virgin olive oil, craft beer, quality food and wine productions, and, the new entry of 2023, hard ciders. These are the protagonists of the 27th edition of Sol&Agrifood, the international quality agri-food exhibition scheduled at Veronafiere at the same time as the 55th edition of Vinitaly, which this year is joined by – within the same pavilion – B/Open, the b2b exhibition dedicated to organic and sustainable products. Objective: increase events that focus on certified food, within a calendar in line with the needs of companies in the sector. With a strong business impact, the synergy between the two exhibitions thus becomes the meeting place between supply and demand where exhibitors talk about their products to buyers and HoReCa operators through masterclasses, tastings, and educational and cooking demos.

Vinitaly Design

Space will also be given to the products and accessories that complete the offer linked to production and promotion at Vinitaly Design, the Vinitaly section dedicated to objects for tasting and service, to furnishings for cellars, wine bars and restaurants and bespoke packaging/gift wrapping. The Vinitaly Design Int'l Packaging Competition is linked to the Salone, the competition organized by Veronafiere and Enolitech which rewards the best packaging design for wines, spirits, liqueurs, beers, and extra virgin olive oils. Eleven categories are competing to win the Gold, Silver, and Bronze Labels as well as the special prize Label of the Year, Environment and Sustainability, Innovation and Technology, and Large-Scale Distribution. The awards ceremony will be held on April 2nd, the opening day of Vinitaly.

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