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The Vinitaly in Verona is over again. It can rightfully call itself one of the three big wine fairs in Europe, besides the Pro-Wein in Düsseldorf and the Vinexpo in Bordeaux. 4.000 exhibitors on 60,000 sqm of exhibition space have again attracted about 150,000 visitors (exact figures were not yet available).

With only three weeks between the fair and ProWein, a comparison is naturally obvious. ProWein is considerably smaller with just under 3,000 exhibitors on about half the exhibition space, which is reflected above all in the number of visitors of only about 25,000. The structure of the visitors is probably the biggest difference between the two fairs. Both are trade fairs. Except for Sunday, which is officially open to private customers at Vinitaly, private visitors are supposed to be left out of both events. Theoretically, anyway! In Düsseldorf, the organisers manage to put this into practice reasonably well. In Verona clearly not.

Despite a hefty entrance fee of 30 euros per day (for foreign visitors 20 euros per day or 50 euros for all days), the fair is almost characterized by the exhibitors' efforts to keep "free buyers" and bus tourists away from their stands. Many presentation areas consist of closed walls with a small, controllable entrance. Some well-known exhibitors have already capitulated to the situation. Angelo Gaja, for example, was no longer represented this year for the first time.

For most producers, selection is the order of the day. Without a business card, appropriate clothing and a credible appearance, relatively little happens here. You either don't get in at all or there is "unfortunately no more wine in stock". At many stands, appointments are desired or even necessary. Once you have overcome these hurdles, however, you can experience perfect organisation, virtually shielded from the public eye. Here you can get to know the respective wines, accompanied by competent contact persons.


In the picture: By a gigantic horn concert the park guards are "persuaded" to open the gate once again. The fact that this causes traffic to back up for kilometres in both directions is obviously irrelevant

As organised as it is in the stands, as chaotic are the conditions in front of the exhibition grounds. The words traffic chaos and shortage of parking spaces only very inadequately describe the situation. The few parking spaces are out of all proportion to the number of people looking for a parking space. The official parking spaces are full by the start of the fair at the latest. As soon as their barriers and gates no longer open, you have to look for a spot somewhere where you can park your car. As a "proper German", you have to get over the idea of parking your car on street islands, at crossroads or in other unused spaces; but by the fourth day of the fair at the latest, you don't care. By the way, the parking situation educates you to get up early, because the walking distance increases drastically with every minute of delay.

Speaking of getting up early: If you don't book a hotel room many months before the show, be prepared for long drives to the hotel. In a radius of an hour's drive around Verona and more, the hotels are then hopelessly booked out.

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