ProWein's Objective: Maintain Our No. 1 Position

When the fair starts on 19 March, Peter Schmitz, former head of Messe Düsseldorf’s international contract business, will have been in charge of ProWein for only 47 days. In view of this short time period, Michael Degen, Executive Director of Messe Düsseldorf, will retain responsibility for ProWein until the end of the fair. Clemens Gerke and Alexandra Wrann spoke with Degen and Schmitz about their view of ProWein and its wider environment as well as how they want to position the fair in the future.

Reading time: 4m 30s

Interview at Meininger Verlag (Photo: Seredenkova)
Interview at Meininger Verlag (Photo: Seredenkova)

Michael Degen ...

... on the strengths Peter Schmitz brings to ProWein

Peter is well positioned to understand the specific structure of ProWein because he himself organised joint stands for years. In addition, he has international experience, which will also help us in the future with the ProWein satellites in other countries. In the past, these were rather independent of Düsseldorf. However, now we are at a point where a more central structure would be beneficial, and Peter is ideally suited for this.

... about the cost increases and challenges of the fair

Few people can imagine how high the energy demand of a trade fair is. The worst that can happen is a hot summer, because air-conditioning in the halls is extremely energy intensive. At the moment, however, we are most affected by the staff shortage. We as a trade fair are still getting it organised, but all the service providers are also highly affected. The glass service partners are now driving students from Holland to Düsseldorf in buses.

... on the costs for exhibitors

Currently, the exhibitor fees are 240-280€/sqm. We will calculate with 6€/sqm for the increased energy costs and not add this to the total costs, because we believe that transparency ensures more understanding. An average stand of 8-10 sqm would then incur approx. 50€ extra.

... for the 2023 planning

We have kept the aisles wide. Even in the set-up phase, this makes things easier and more relaxed. However, the booked exhibition space increased slightly due to some larger returnees, so that we will deviate from the 6m aisle width in some places. Compared to a width of 2.5m in 2019, 4m in those places is still more comfortable.

... on the ancillary costs for exhibitors

There is no city where the mayor can dictate prices by decree. As soon as a trade fair is large and successful, there is a price spiral in its environment. The subjective perception in the wine industry is certainly different again because the costs of a stand at a trade fair affect a family-run agricultural business quite differently than for a large company in mechanical engineering that sets up a large stand with 40 employees. The share of hotel costs in the total package is so large at ProWein that I can well understand the frustration, but unfortunately, we can't change that aspect.

... on the role of German wines at ProWein

10% of the exhibitors come from Germany, 90% from abroad. Italy has been the strongest exhibitor nation for a very long time. Of course, we are always approached with the wish to position ProWein more strongly as a German wine fair, but that is not ProWein's USP and we cannot be everybody's darling. What is criticised, however, helps German producers in other ways. It is precisely the internationality on the exhibitor side that leads to so many international visitors coming to Düsseldorf.

... about the advantages of Germany as a trade fair location

The recipe for success in Germany has a lot to do with the fact that the exhibition centres and the trade fair companies are government owned. In our case, North Rhine-Westphalia and the City of Düsseldorf are the shareholders. Their entrepreneurial goal with Messe Düsseldorf is not the short-term transfer of profits, but the benefit that arises for the city and the region through secondary effects. We bring many international guests to the region who take taxis, go to restaurants and hotels, and so on. That is the best reason to leave the earnings in the company and to say to Messe Düsseldorf: "Use the money for strategic development.”

... on the future of the fair

We want to maintain our No. 1 position, but we also want to be perceived as hard workers, constantly proving that our role is justified rather than resting on our laurels.

... reveals his favourite place at ProWein

"Same but different" inspires me again and again. We move around a lot in the trade fair landscape in very different locations and in very different subject areas, yet most trade fairs are very similar in their structure. "Same but different" stands out completely. It is so deliberately different from what we see at fairs all year round.


Peter Schmitz ...


... on the importance of the international ProWein trade fairs

It is a great advantage to go to other markets with a strong brand like we have created with ProWein in Düsseldorf. China is the flagship of the international ProWein events. We will have to observe how this develops in the post-Covid era. We are convinced that our new fair in Tokyo will also become a driving force in an important market. Hong Kong and Singapore will also remain strong locations.


Peter Schmitz
Peter Schmitz

... about the goals and opportunities of ProWein

The visitor side must clearly be brought into a good balance with the exhibitor side. That is the number one goal. Only when that is fulfilled will we think about expanding the exhibition space. But then there will be different emphases within the event, where the hard work required will be more conceptual. There will always be new topics that we may not even know about today that we will want to address. This can happen in conjunction with the export of a kind of "same but different" towards Asia. I can very well imagine that this area will be very successful there.

... about the role of ProWein as a trendsetter

It's not really possible to separate whether we set trends or react to trends. Things emerge in dialogue. It is important to walk through the fair with open eyes and see what moves exhibitors and visitors and what they are talking about. As a trade fair, we can bundle topics when they originate from the market, as now with the World of Zero, for example.

... on the digitalisation of the trade fair

I cannot imagine a complete digitalisation of the fair. The importance of tasting and the emotionality of the product will probably make ProWein the last fair where a complete shift to virtual worlds would be conceivable. In the background, of course, a lot of processes have already been digitalised. In terms of trade fair support, we already have very good offers such as the matchmaking tool, which is intensively maintained by the exhibitors, but unfortunately only used by 4% of the visitors. For us, this is not entirely understandable with such an intensive trade fair, but we cannot offer more than that.






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