The chief executive of Vinexposium has said many players in the wine industry “need to change from being farmers to marketers” in order to attract the next generation of drinkers.

Speaking ahead of next February’s Wine Paris/Vinexpo Paris, Rodolphe Lameyse said spirits companies are still attracting younger legal age drinkers, with “high prices, high margins, fancy marketing and advertising”.

“In the wine industry, we all hear the same story about ‘this is terroir, this is family, this is tradition’ – I am very sensitive to that but I’m not so sure my kids are. They want to hear something different. I think the wine industry needs to be a bit more marketing focused.”  

Elsewhere, Lameyse said he has witnessed similar macro-economic issues across the world, describing the wine and spirits industry as being “at a crossroads”. He said challenges include climate change, a shift in consumer demand, cost-of-living issues and conflicts.

Citing global IWSR figures, Lameyse said that with the exception of Asia, consumers are withdrawing from the on-trade as post pandemic behaviours become entrenched, and the cost-of-living crisis hampers a full on-trade recovery. He said grocery spend in H1-23 suggests alcohol budgets are under pressure in most markets except China, India and Taiwan, with spending more focused on household essentials.

Drinkers in Europe are cutting their spending across most FMCG categories, the CEO said. Outside Asia, alcohol is one of the first items to be left out of the consumer basket.

However, Lameyse did point to premiumisation and the trend for drinking “less but better” as consumers look to compensate for inflation or answer health trends towards moderation.

While Lameyse talked about the growing size and scale of Wine Paris/Vinexpo Paris, he said the 2024 show will establish itself as a “marketplace where the major wine and spirits-related economic, social and societal issues are tackled”.

To cement itself as a global community where such discussions take place, organisers have introduced a business awards initiative called V d’Or. Categories include Best eco-friendly launch and Best new business solution, among others.

The 2024 show, which takes place from February 12-14, is expected to attract 40,000 visitors, including 35% more international attendees. Floor space has grown 28% for the next show, with 72% more floor space for international producers. The show will play host to 3,900 exhibitors.

The show features a dedicated spirits space, called Be Spirits, as well as masterclasses and panel discussions, including one with WSTA chief executive Miles Beale on the post-Brexit wine trade in the UK.