The talk on the sidelines at this year’s Prowein was about two things: is Wine Paris catching up and why is Düsseldorf so eye-wateringly expensive?

While there’s no doubt there were key players missing from this February’s Wine Paris, there is also no doubt the fair is growing and attracting more attention. Walking the halls of Wine Paris, there were definitely scouts from sizable organisations in attendance, recce-ing the show for future involvement. 

Meanwhile, once you get into rival event Prowein, it’s a great trade show, but the feeling of paying way over the odds was certainly on the minds of many people we spoke to, as they described strange or expensive lodgings, long taxi queues, or staying in different cities to try to keep costs down. 

The numbers also make for interesting reading. In a post-event statement, Wine Paris organisers said 2024 exhibitor numbers rose to 4,074, representing 48 producer countries – a 53% increase in international exhibitors. Visitor attendance increased by 14% on the previous exhibition to 41,253 and included 41% international visitors from 137 countries. 

Prowein’s post-event release was keen to stress the standing of the show, emphasising its position as the “world’s largest and most relevant trade fair for wines and spirits”. Rather than reporting show visitor numbers, the release reported 47,000 registered trade visitors from 135 countries. The fair featured 5,400 exhibitors from 65 countries. 

“No other trade fair offers as wide a range as Prowein,” said show director Peter Schmitz. “All international wine-growing regions are represented in Düsseldorf. “We are delighted to not only register top quality on the exhibitors’ part but also see top-notch people travel to Düsseldorf from all over the world, including an increased number of executives with decision-making powers.” 

The release also lamented rail strikes, which affected the show on the last day.

The overall point is that Paris can absorb the scale of visitors, no problem, making the visitor experience cheaper and more pleasant. And as the cost of living crisis persists, the need for good value is important. 

Prowein has long been the Goliath, but as Paris continues to gain popularity, there could be a power shift in the European wine trade fair market.