Walking the Palace at VieVinum 2024

Austria's largest wine fair, VieVinum, is held in perhaps the most beautiful venue in the wine world, the Hofburg palace. An increasingly international audience now gathers under the chandeliers.

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During VieVinum, Vienna tourists and fair visitors mingle on Heldenplatz in front of the Hofburg. (Photo: Vincent Meßmer)
During VieVinum, Vienna tourists and fair visitors mingle on Heldenplatz in front of the Hofburg. (Photo: Vincent Meßmer)

Of course, it's an image fair, jokes one exhibiting winemaker, gazing at the lavish exhibition halls, each labeled with unique names like Ceremony Hall and the Treasury Room.

Although it's an Austrian fair held in the heart of Vienna, the Austrian Wine Marketing Board (ÖWM) ensures through extensive invitation management that VieVinum serves as a gateway to the world, and not just for Austrian producers; about 10% of the marketing budget is allocated in a VieVinum year to support national fairs.

In late May, more than 1,000 international guests followed the invitation of the ÖWM and attended VieVinum 2024, including many American and Japanese visitors, as reported by the exhibitors. This is particularly important at a time of stagnant consumption in the German-speaking region. Especially notable is the pursuit of new overseas markets by major players in the Austrian wine industry, given the limited growth opportunities in their established markets.

Here, business is conducted under impressive chandeliers. (Photo: Vincent Meßmer)
Here, business is conducted under impressive chandeliers. (Photo: Vincent Meßmer)

Every two years – and divided into two parts

VieVinum is held biennially and distinguishes itself from other major trade fairs in another aspect: Starting at 1 pm, ticket-holding consumers are also welcome to attend the fair at the Hofburg. ÖWM plans to uphold this division in the future.

Since the admission prices have been increased (now at €75 per ticket for consumers), visitors have become significantly more interested, focused, and professional.

However, the professional audience remains of much greater importance for the exhibitors. "Many smaller industry visitors skip the Austria Hall at ProWein in a VieVinum year and prefer to come to our booth here instead," says Wolfgang Hamm, Sales Manager for Gastronomy and Specialty Retail at the Winzer Krems cooperative.

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The international exhibitors were pleased with the fair. "Austria is important for us. We are listed here with two of the largest retailers – and with our brands, not private labels," says Kostas Theodoridis, Export Manager of Greek Wine Cellars, highlighting the significance of the fair.

"Many top restaurateurs from Austria, as well as the international presence – America, Scandinavia, you meet so many importers at the fair or in the accompanying program," says Thomas Dörr, Sales Director at the Palatinate VDP winery Dr. Bürklin-Wolf. "And the level of organization is sensational: refrigerators are always within reach, spittoons are continuously emptied, everything works perfectly and inconspicuously."

Some smaller natural wine producers are considering skipping the VieVinum stand in the future due to cost concerns – opting instead for Karakterre in Eisenstadt, Austria's organic and natural wine fair. The potential savings are not clear. Karakterre is also supported by the ÖWM. And here too, the fair location is convincing: Karakterre 2024 took place directly before VieVinum in the Orangery of Schloss Esterházy. So, those interested could attend two wine fairs consecutively in Austria.

Stellios Boutaris

"I've always wanted to attend VieVinum – now, with Greece as the guest country, it's a fantastic opportunity. Especially because so many international guests are coming, it's important for us to be seen here."

Stellios Boutaris
Kir Yianni

Tastings, lectures and masterclasses

The offerings at VieVinum alone are comprehensive: In addition to conversations and tastings at producer stands under impressive chandeliers, there is also a diverse program of lectures and masterclasses covering topics from Styria to Greece, from Riesling to Sauvignon Blanc.

Additionally, there is a wide selection of evening activities in the bustling city of Vienna. Exciting themed tastings are also available – for example, on the trending topic of alcohol-free wines or the United Nations of Blaufränkisch, where over 100 wines of the grape variety from six different countries could be sampled.

The next VieVinum will take place from May 16th to 18th, 2026 — surely worth another visit.

Vincent Meßmer

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