Let's start with the official numbers: 49,000 professional visitors from 141 countries. In 2022 - the interim edition of ProWein - there were 38,000 from 145 countries. The data portrays an increase, but we are still far from the 61,500 visitors of the last pre-Covid edition. Among the central themes of the trade fair are wines without or with low alcohol content - Kylie Minogue herself has launched her alcohol-free rosé sparkling wine - as well as alternative packaging. In a survey conducted by the fair, one in two people is interested in no and low alcohol, and one in three in alternative packaging. Other than this, impressions gathered are mixed. The great international vocation has been confirmed - of the 6,000 exhibitors 86% do not come from Germany - yet, for some years now the relationship between exhibitors and visitors has not been so favourable and the event seems to have lost the appeal of a few years ago. Of course, as with other trade fairs, it must be said that by now wine producers always have their suitcases packed, they travel abroad every month, while events and meeting opportunities multiply.
"Prowein is not a walking fair" is the comment of Davide Acerra of the Consorzio Tutela vini d'Abruzzo "those who have made timely arrangements worked well, preparing for meetings. If the number of producers grows every year and the number of operators remains almost constant, inevitably some will be disappointed." The flagship of the trade fair, the infrastructures and transit, were also put to the test by a transport strike on Monday and Tuesday. "An edition that was slightly below expectations: it was supposed to be the year of relaunch. The strikes mainly penalised local importers. There was a lack of energy and spare parts," analysed Michele Faro of the Pietradolce winery. Many producers confided how increasingly difficult it was to manage Prowein and Vinitaly so few days apart.
On the other hand, satisfaction appears among German operators and producers: "We are very happy for the first real post-Covid Prowein edition. The quality of the visitors is very high and the new wider corridors between pavilions are also very appreciable," declared Jullius Gluck of Pellegrini importation. "We feared that Vinexpo would erode our participation at Prowein, but that was not the case at all," commented Valentin Rebholz, producer of some of the greatest Rieslings. While we wait for the next appointment of Prowein that will take place on 10 - 12 March 2024, check out our list of 20 excellent labels we tasted during the event.
Düsseldorf, record-breaking Tre Bicchieri
As per tradition, the Tre Bicchieri tasting is what warms up the Prowein engines. On Saturday March 18th, almost 200 Italian producers took up residence on the scenic terrace overlooking the Rhine, the Rheinterrasse, for a record-breaking tasting in terms of both producers and audience participation. The Tre Bicchieri event in Düsseldorf was confirmed as the most international in terms of attendance, with visitors from over 40 countries. Numerous consortia were present with dedicated tasting counters, starting from the Puglia team under the Radici Virtuose umbrella, the Custoza Consortium, the Consorzio Vini di Romagna, which brought 9 wineries to be tasted including Sangiovese, Lambrusco, Albana and pignoletto and a Lombardy Region corner with pairings of wines, cheeses and DOP cured meats.
Three masterclasses led by Marco Sabellico and Lorenzo Ruggeri. The first exalted the longevity of Custoza, with a 10-wine vertical (2022-2013). The second offered a true journey in Lombardy, varying among the wines of Garda, Lugana, Valtènesi, Oltrepò Pavese and the Mantova district, together with typical cheeses and cured meats. Finally, the third appointment offered a taste of the diversity of Puglia wines: Radici Virtuose brought 12 local wines into the glass. During the event, the best Italian restaurants in Düsseldorf were also awarded. Among these, Michelangelo Saitta (Saittavini) took home the Tre Bottiglie and the Villa Sandi Best Contemporary Wine List award, thanks to an exhilarating list for breadth, depth of vintages and extraordinary availability of large format bottles.
Munich, the capital of Italian wine in Germany
On Thursday, March 16, the Gambero Rosso World Tour landed in Munich, a classic of the Gambero Rosso world tour for almost 30 years now. The event was staged for the first time at Smartvillage Bogenhausen, with almost 100 producers awarded in the Vini d'Italia 2023 guide. The presence of importers was impressive: many of the biggest brands are based in the capital of Bavaria, with a strong presence of Italians (there are over 100,000 compatriots in the region). Guests of the event were the Consorzio Primitivo di Manduria, with 11 wineries present, the Made in Vicenza association, which brought 4 wineries and typical sweets of the Veneto province for tastings, and the Consorzio della Valtènesi.
The most awarded pink denomination in the guide was the focus of a seminar: Anteprima Valtènesi 2022, with 10 samples of the new vintage. During the event, the best Italian restaurants in Munich were also awarded: Mario Gamba leads the ranking with his Acquarello, Tre Forchette, while the Villa Sandi Best Contemporary Wine List award went to Martinelli, thanks to a curious and current menu, designed by Elena Martinelli.
by Lorenzo Ruggeri