|Wines of South Africa at Prodexpo 2011 in Russia15 February 2011
It is bitterly cold in Russia in February! Side roads are covered with ice and pedestrians negotiate the streets with extreme caution. Those with cars are struggling through the snowy roads and fighting for parking among the huge heaps of snow. The days are short and the sun rarely breaks through the clouds. But life is not standing still! The beginning of the year is always an eventful period in the business life of Russia. Time of renewed hope and positive expectations! That was once again confirmed by the Prodexpo exhibition in Moscow last week.
Prodexpo is the largest and most prominent specialised wine and food exhibition in Russia and Eastern Europe. Food and beverage producers from all over the world gathered at the Expocentre pavilions in the heart of the Russian capital to showcase their products to this dynamic and insatiable market. Many exhibitors were grouped in national pavilions: Spain, Germany, Italy and France occupied prominent positions. More remote from Russia countries such as Thailand, Argentina, Australia, Japan, China and many others also grouped their producers into national expositions.
The 17th year of running saw this trade fair raising to a new level. Over 85 000 m2 of exhibition space, over 2 000 exhibitors from 55 countries, almost 70 000 visitors - the scale of the exhibition is enormous. Professional performance has also improved with efficient administration and services, excellent number and quality of visitors, and the buoyant general atmosphere of the show.
The Russian economy is quickly recovering from the financial downturn, which is helped by the growing oil prices. All importers are expecting a dynamic and positive year, and many of them are planning to expand their portfolios. With a 25% increase in 2010 Russia became the 4th fastest growing market for South African bottled wine outside of Africa (after China, UAE and France). Russia also remains the 5th largest market overall for South African bulk natural wine. The prospects for South African wine in this market remain very good!
Cobus Joubert, who was representing several SA producers at Prodexpo, noted that "Russia will be easier to penetrate than China. Wine is an essential part of the Russian culture, wine is seen as a product of integrity and class, and the taste for Old World quality is well in place!" Yngvild Steytler of Kaapzicht Estate added that "the attitude of Russian wine buyers is entirely positive towards South African wines: we do not have to overcome an undesirable political image in Russia, they did not flinch an eye when they saw alcohols of 14,5 %, they loved the quality of the wine, they did not look for bargains at low price points only." Yngvild attended the show for the second time and this year her wines were exhibited at the stand of their recently found distributor.
Seven South African companies: Aruba Wines, Maison Joubert, Slent Farms, Swartland Winery, Vinimark, Vondeling Estate and Waterstone Wines exhibited wines at the Wines of South Africa generic stand. Three producers arrived at the show to present their wines personally. The stand attracted lavish attention from importers, distributors, hotel and restaurant sommeliers, and journalists. A buyer from the largest supermarket chain, several of the top ten Russian alcohol distributors and famous Russian wine critics were among visitors to the stand. The exposition was also attended by the recently appointed Ambassador of the Republic of South Africa in the Russian Federation Mr. Mandisi Mpahlwa and the diplomats of his Embassy.
WOSA participated in Prodexpo for the sixth year in a row. Every year has brought a new success story and introduced new South African producers to the Russian market. Perdeberg Winery, Springfield Estate, Bouchard Finlayson, Jordan and Cloof are among those who found distributors in Russia after participating in the previous Prodexpo exhibitions. It is too early to say but there is every indication that this exhibition will prove to be more fruitful than ever: there were a couple of 'hand-shake' deals made right at the show! Martin Clarkson, Export Director in Europe for Slent Farms, summarised the views of all participating producers: "Having had many years of experience all over the world in different fairs, (I am confident that) the Prodexpo exhibition and WOSA stand rank among my top ones for cost/benefit ratio."
The next big WOSA action in Russia is the 2nd Festival of South African Wine in Moscow. It will be held on 26 April 2011 - on the eve of the National Day of South Africa - and will be organised in close cooperation with the Embassy of RSA in Russia and the Department of Trade and Industry. Last year's inaugural event was a resounding success and we invite all producers that have distributors in Russia already to take part in the festival. The registration details will be out soon. All enquiries should be made to WOSA's representative in Russia Vladimir Gorodkov at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Representative in Russia
Wines of South Africa (WOSA)
( Phone: +7-981-745 33 47