ProWein: The Global Wine Industry's Meeting Point and Marketplace

As a hub for exchange, the fair remains a gift to the wine industry. A commentary by Clemens Gerke, Editor-in-Chief of WEINWIRTSCHAFT, our German sister publication. 

Reading time: 2m 30s

Clemens Gerke, Editor-in-Chief of the German wine trade magazine WEINWIRTSCHAFT (Photo: AD LUMINA Ralf Ziegler)
Clemens Gerke, Editor-in-Chief of the German wine trade magazine WEINWIRTSCHAFT (Photo: AD LUMINA Ralf Ziegler)

After 30 years, the character of ProWein has significantly changed. Veterans from the early years reminisce about the volume of orders once placed at the fair, a concept that baffles 30-year-olds as much as the hotel bills from back then. That ProWein started as a fair with a strong French core for the German market now seems like an amusing anecdote.

Even though the international aspect of ProWein is always emphasized, the shift from a trade fair focused on orders to a meeting point is equally important. This change is a success for ProWein, even if it sounds absurd at first glance. ProWein was probably the most important driving force behind the professionalization and networking of both the German and global wine industry.

Today, traders and suppliers can build on a proven network of relationships and also exchange information digitally beyond the trade fairs. Reduced inventory has made ordering throughout the year more important. ProWein continues to serve well in presenting the new vintage, but the aspect of being a meeting point is now arguably the central feature of the fair. This role of ProWein should not be underestimated. Here, visitors and exhibitors can directly exchange and understand each other's positions, working on the trust for their year-round business relationship. What will be the topics of discussion in 2024? The decline of the global wine market will be a central theme, particularly due to the fair's international nature. Given the decline in sales in the German market, the crisis will remain a constant topic of discussion.

"The symptoms of the crisis are clear, as are the causes – it's about finding the right remedy for recovery."

The symptoms of the crisis are clear, and the causes are largely understood as well – the challenge lies in finding the right remedy to heal the market. Since the market dynamics are shaped by the collective actions of all participants, every individual is called upon to contribute. Exhibitors face the significant challenge of bringing solutions to the fair that can boost the individual sales of their products through retailers. "Same procedure as every year" might be the thought for some, but in the past, the joint solutions were too often driven by price. After the cost increases of 2022 and 2023, it seems there's no more room to maneuver on pricing. Adjusting prices further can accelerate destructive trends.

However, "same procedure as every year" is also inaccurate because the mood in the wine industry before ProWein is worse than it has been for a long time. Both retailers and suppliers must be careful not to be drawn into a negative spiral. A change in sentiment is necessary to emerge from the crisis. Those who wait for this change instead of being part of it are making a mistake. The current crisis will lead to significant changes. Those who do not adapt are at risk of being overwhelmed by these changes.

Therefore, it's crucial for every trade fair participant to attend with a positive attitude, looking forward to new products, ideas, and trends. It is equally important to look forward to the fair itself, despite negative factors like hotel room costs and the threat of strikes. For the German wine industry, ProWein remains an incredible gift. That a country, which is not among the top ten wine-producing nations in the world, hosts the most important wine fair in the world, is far from a given.


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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