ProWein: "We Need to Focus on Our Strengths"

MEININGER’S INTERNATIONAL interviewed fair director Peter Schmitz about this year's edition, the strategic orientation, and the significance of ProWein in the Messe Düsseldorf portfolio.

Reading time: 3m

Since last year, Peter Schmitz has taken on the role of fair director for ProWein. Before this, he was in charge of the international contracting business at Messe Düsseldorf.
Since last year, Peter Schmitz has taken on the role of fair director for ProWein. Before this, he was in charge of the international contracting business at Messe Düsseldorf.

How does ProWein 2024 distinguish itself from earlier editions?

A notable innovation for ProWein 2024 is the enhanced focus on spirits, introduced under the ProSpirits initiative. This year, we have successfully centralized all spirits exhibitors in the dedicated Hall 5, thereby addressing previous exhibitor requests that could not be accommodated. Alongside the ProSpirits segment, we continue to feature the innovative "same but different" area, showcasing craft drinks.

What are your expectations regarding visitor attendance?

While we anticipate not reaching previous record attendances, our outlook on visitor numbers remains positive. The decline in attendance is reflective of a global trend impacting all trade fairs, not just ProWein. Despite lower overall numbers, we expect to attract over 50,000 professional visitors, emphasizing quality over quantity.

How do you perceive the strengths of Wine Paris?

While Paris offers competitive hotel pricing, this advantage is somewhat offset by preparations for the Olympic Games. Nevertheless, Paris's allure as a city remains Wine Paris's primary strength—a factor we acknowledge without needing to compete directly. Our focus remains on leveraging ProWein's unique strengths.

What are ProWein's three primary strengths?

ProWein is unparalleled in its international reach, benefits from a highly functional exhibition center tailor-made for our event, and offers reliable attendance figures that are FKM-certified (Editor's note: Society for the Voluntary Control of Fair and Exhibition Statistics). Irrespective of our competitors, we have reached a level in many segments where growth is no longer possible. This is primarily due to the market itself, which has a sales problem.

"As the leading trade fair, it is natural to be the target of competition."

How has increased competition from Wine Paris impacted ProWein?

As the leading trade fair, it is natural to be the target of competition. However, we welcome comparison, confident in our certified attendance figures and the high level of our offerings. Despite the competition, we have reached a saturation point in many segments due to inherent market limitations.

With Wine Paris scheduled three weeks before ProWein, are there plans to change the date of ProWein?

We have no plans to alter our scheduling in response to other events. ProWein maintains its schedule independently, similar to Vinitaly, and will continue to be held at a consistent time in 2025, aligning with Messe Düsseldorf's event calendar where it is a key event.

Do you view Eurovino as a competitor?

In the niche of smaller wineries and businesses, Eurovino does present competition.


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What regional trends are evident among exhibitors?

Yes, Spain is doing excellently, due to the great demand from Spanish exhibitors, their space is increasing by 1,500 square meters, Italy is almost exactly at the same level as in 2023. France is finding it a little more difficult, which is not only due to the competition between the trade fairs, but also to the market environment. Germany and Greece maintain solid participation, while the USA and South Africa are slightly below last year's levels which can still change in the last few metres because group organizers often only name the individual exhibitors very late. Australia is impacted by the loss of the Chinese market, yet Eastern European exhibitors show active engagement, not only in Düsseldorf but also at ProWein in Shanghai.

How has hall planning evolved?

The introduction of ProSpirits in Hall 5 has necessitated adjustments, moving Greece to Hall 12 and Austria to Hall 17, alongside Italy. Despite these changes, strategic planning has allowed us to meet all space requests.

In 2023, Messe Düsseldorf achieved a return on sales of 20.6%. Does ProWein rank among the most lucrative or poorest trade fairs in the portfolio?

ProWein occupies a middle ground in terms of profitability. While large capital goods fairs generate the highest profit margins with fewer exhibitors, ProWein, due to its detailed organization, demands considerable effort. Nonetheless, it stands as one of Messe Düsseldorf's most significant annual events.

You are launching the concept store in 2024. Is this an opportunity to grow with services outside of the traditional wine producers?

The Concept Store represents an exciting venture into innovative and forward-looking themes, marking a departure from our traditionally restrictive approach. While it is not yet a revenue generator, we see great potential in this initiative.

Are there any plans for international expansion of trade fairs?

Definitely plans, yes, but it would be too early to say anything about it. We are keenly looking towards Tokyo. That's a new market for us, and things are set to continue there directly in April. This project is thriving really well. We are collaborating with the Japan Food Journal and achieving substantial participation. We share a hall with the Cologne Fair and the ISM confectionery fair, where we are dominant with ProWein. We have a large German participation, Spain is involved, France is participating with Business France. We are expecting 150–180 exhibitors, which is very respectable for a premiere and for international events in general.

What tips do you have for visitors to ProWein?

Prepare, prepare, prepare.

And for exhibitors?

Register early, don't arrive late, book hotels early, be in constant communication with us, we have such an excellent team and such a high level of service that we cater to everyone's needs.

The interview was conducted by Anja Zimmer and Clemens Gerke.


Never before has the Meininger publishing house been as prominently represented at ProWein as in 2024. Meininger Verlag offers an extensive seminar program at its booth and highlights its multifaceted expertise in wines, spirits, and non-alcoholic beverages across three tasting zones. And on the day before the fair, the company kicks off the major industry gathering in Düsseldorf with Meininger’s Wine Conference and the Meininger Award.

Reading time: 6m 30s



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