Just last week I said that wine festivals have a shelf life. (Read more) The same is often true about wine fairs, but one that has stood the test of time, is ProWein. Established in 1994, this German-based global drinks trade initiative just wrapped up another very successful event – with even a little more star power than usual! Here are my takeaways for 2023.
The focus of this international wine and spirits get-together, is meeting with customers – both established and prospective. It is about managing relationships, negotiating prices, discussing styles and packaging. At ProWein, however, it is also very much about measuring yourself against international competition. Not only when it comes to quality, but also to see how you are keeping up with consumer expectations and new ways of marketing. I don’t like fads, but trends are important. They indicate consumer behaviour and preference – essential information for successful business decisions.
This year, quite similar to even pre-Covid years, much of the drinks trends were focused on sustainability (including a social focus), alternative wine packaging and the no-and-low category. So much so that pop-icon, Kylie Minogue, even made an appearance, launching her new alcohol-free sparkling rosé. (Read more) In my opinion, this elegantly packaged, affordable and alcohol free sparkling rosé ticks quite a few current wine trend boxes and can even serve as a metaphor for the 2023 ProWein trend focus:
- No-and-low is not going anywhere soon. A recent IWSR Drinks Market Analysis of ten countries reported that this category surpassed $11 billion in 2022. Although still niche, it is up significantly from $8 billion in 2018. One in two visitors to ProWein was interested in no-and-low alcohol drinks. For those complaining about the taste of de-alcoholised wine, I think sparkling such as the Kylie Minogue Sparkling Rosé is a great alternative. The bubbles make up for the flatness on the palate that is often experienced with de-alcoholised choices. Expectations are for the no-and-low category to grow by another third by 2026.
- Rosé stays popular. Much more than the expected pink halls of Provence, ProWein showcased rosé wines representative of its global exhibitor list. According to the concoursmondial.com trends report: “Rosé has been a hot seller in recent years, continuing to outgrow long-time perceptions of it being a summer-only beverage.”
- Sparkling wine has become much more than a celebratory drink and due to the demand for sparkling wines that lend themselves to more regular consumption, less expensive styles are becoming more acceptable. Despite the popularity of Champagne, Cava and Prosecco, more affordable bubbles such as Crémant, Lambrusco or even Pét-nat are making it to the shelves. Again, Kylie seems quite on trend with her £7 0% Sparkling Rosé and £12 Prosecco Rosé.
- No one can escape the negative global economy. More affordable wines are an obvious choice in difficult financial times, but the slow-down has a lesser impact on those with financial stability – a unique opportunity for premium wine brands. Compared to other luxuries, wine stays a relatively affordable treat.
- A strong brand is the dream of everyone trying to sell something. If there is one thing the music mogul has, it is a much-loved brand and one that is worth protecting. In 2014, Minogue won a lawsuit against Kylie Jenner who filed an application to trademark her first name for her own beauty brand. “During the tense lawsuit, Minogue — who’s been identified by her first name for most of her career — stated she’d been selling perfume, clothes and other merchandise advertised with the name “Kylie” years before Jenner was even born. She also referenced her website domain ‘Kylie.com.’” (Read more). The strength of her brand was evident when her first wine, a French rosé, sold out three times in the first three months. During December 2022, a bottle of her latest 0% Sparkling was sold every ten seconds – just a cherry on the cake of her exceptional alcohol brand achievements in the just more than two years since its launch. (Read more).
Of course, ProWein’s success in 2023 is not all about Kylie Minogue. This impeccably orchestrated show had a comprehensive line-up of 6000 exhibitors from more than 60 countries and 49,000 trade visitors from 141 countries came to Düsseldorf. Visitors’ decision-making competence set standards with two thirds of visitors involved in purchasing decisions. (Read more)
Whether hosting the superstar at the show was the idea of ProWein management, I don’t know, but with her in attendance, much more than having something fun and fabulous for social media, they managed an interesting new way to tell the wine trend story to a rather star-struck wine and drinks trade.