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Wine & Spirits / Mar 12, 2024

A Guide to Wine Trade Show Success in 2024

The Brand Leader

The Brand Leader

For wineries looking to expand business beyond direct-to-consumer and regional distribution, participating in a wine trade show is a strategic way to reach national and international audiences. A wine trade show brings producers together under one roof with industry professionals and potential buyers like sommeliers, distributors, and retailers. It’s an opportunity to meet as many people as possible and showcase products in a way that is often more feasible than visiting individual markets. 

Setting Goals and Outcomes 

One of the main reasons to participate in a trade show is to make new connections or form stronger ones. Heading into the event, figure out what success will look like, whether it's obtaining a certain amount of new contacts, building relationships with key journalists, or setting up one-on-one meetings with a few specific buyers. Increasing sales is another excellent reason to participate in a trade show, and goals like securing a new buyer or receiving a set number of orders could be benchmarks. Increasing brand recognition, pushing traffic to the brand’s website, or securing media coverage are other ways to boost marketing efforts and reach important goals. 

Learn more: How to Make Your Wine Brand More Attractive to Distributors

Choosing Which Wine Trade Shows To Attend

After identifying goals, choosing which trade show to attend becomes easier. Each has its own benefits and offerings, so the key to success is finding which show provides the most benefit for the cost. A few things to look for are opportunities to participate in special events like seminars, master classes, or winemaker dinners. These allow for more quality time with prospective buyers. Access to media is another component that should be considered. Check to see whether journalists are featured as panelists or moderators and if the event received media coverage during the previous year. 

Marketing Before, During, and After the Show

Participating in a trade show can be a big undertaking, especially if your marketing department is small. Hiring a PR agency can help alleviate the workload since they can identify the marketing activities that would best fit your brand and help execute them for you. Here are a few things to consider: 

Before the Show 

Prior to any trade show, preparation is key. You must have a plan for who you want to meet, meetings you want to organize, and even the messaging or news you want to present. Finding out which companies and representatives will be attending will help focus efforts. Since thousands of people attend these events, it's best to figure out who will be most impactful to connect with. If the show has a platform for attendees to communicate on, be sure to utilize it and set up meetings beforehand. 

Social media and email marketing are excellent ways to get the word out that you’ll be at the show. Promote your participation on your social media channels and through digital advertising to enhance brand awareness among attendees. If you’re an exhibitor, create marketing materials beforehand that people can take home to remember the products long after the show is over. 

Signing up for educational sessions or tastings is a great way to get yourself out there and position yourself as a thought leader, which can give additional credibility to your brand. Make sure to discuss potential opportunities with the conference committee, as they’ll assist you in finding the right fit. 

During the Show

As an exhibitor, your booth is one of your most powerful marketing tools. Making sure its appearance and features are cohesive with your brand is an important part of trade show success. Enhancing the space with a screen playing video footage, having interactive elements, and an inviting design are all a part of the experience. Introducing technology such as mobile apps, virtual reality, or augmented reality can help you stand out. The more attractive your booth, the more interested visitors will be in visiting it. 

In addition to exhibiting your product, you should find ways to get out of the booth and interact with others. Whether that’s attending the available networking events or participating in after-hours social gatherings, it’s important to be approachable and open-minded. Even if you’ve already met the people you planned to, there’s never a shortage of relationships to be made. 

After the Show 

One of the most impactful things you can do is post-event follow-up. Send personalized emails to all the people you saw and contacts you made. Continuing to engage after the event will move leads along and can convert many new contacts into long-term partnerships. 

Top Wine Trade Shows in the U.S.

Direct to Consumer Wine Symposium
January 17-18, 2024
Hilton Concord, Concord, CA

Presented by and as a fundraiser for Free the Grapes!, the DTCWS is celebrating its 17th year as the nation’s premier winery DTC sales and marketing conference. The Symposium includes keynote speeches from industry leaders and thought leaders outside the industry, practical workshop sessions, town hall-type discussions, as well as a trade show featuring the industry’s top suppliers. DTCWS  works closely with industry professionals to present case studies, supporting data, and solutions to common winery DTC challenges with the goal of providing participants with more tools to accelerate and grow their businesses. Learn More →

Unified Wine & Grape Symposium
January 23-25, 2024
SAFE Credit Union Convention Center, Sacramento, CA

The Unified Wine & Grape Symposium was created by the American Society for Enology and Viticulture (ASEV) and the California Association of Winegrape Growers (CAWG) 30 years ago. It has become the largest wine and grape show in the nation. This event offers the chance to meet other wine industry professionals, foster friendships, grow connections, and get updated on the industry’s latest news and trends. Learn more →

Access LIVE - Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America 
January 29-February 1, 2024
Caesars Forum, Las Vegas, NV

Formerly the WSWA Annual Convention & Exposition, the rebranded event brings wine and spirits professionals such as wholesalers, retailers, suppliers, and media together for networking and discovery. All new interactive zones will help foster connections and build relationships in engaging ways. Educational opportunities will also be available with speakers and panelists covering hot topics in the industry. Learn more →

VinExpo America 
June 24-25, 2024
Javits Center, New York, NY

One of the most comprehensive events for exhibitors and buyers, the 20-year running event reunites the beverage alcohol industry in person. Wine, spirits, beer, RTDs, and sake producers are welcome to showcase their products. Two full days of educational programming in the form of master classes and conferences feature industry news and updates beneficial to attendees. Learn more →

USA Trade Tasting
May 22-23, 2024
Morgan MFG, Chicago, IL 

This annual wine and spirits trade show allows retailers, importers, distributors, sommeliers, and bartenders to meet and grow business opportunities. This year’s event will incorporate a new, consumer-focused element on the second day, giving exhibitors a unique opportunity to expand their audience. Learn more →

Top International Wine Trade Shows 

VinExpo Paris
February 12-14, 2024
Porte de Versailles, Paris

With exhibitors visiting from 45 different countries to get in front of a global audience, the trade show has been growing in popularity over the five years it has been in operation. VinExpo Paris includes tasting panels, forums, and speakers for added value for visitors. Learn more →

March 10-12, 2023
Dusseldorf, Germany 

The 30-year running show is considered an institution in the wine industry. With more than 49,000 visitors, 6,000 exhibitors, and 1,000 journalists, ProWein is one of the most comprehensive wine trade shows in the world. Learn more →

April 14-17, 2024

Verona, Italy 

Since 1967, Vinitaly has served the global wine supply chain with its four-day event that promotes relationships between producers, buyers, and stakeholders and invites them to share their skills and experiences. ​ Learn more →

London Wine Fair
May 20-22, 2024

The UK’s largest live and virtual drinks event, the London Wine Fair welcomes more than 10,000 industry professionals. It’s rich with educational opportunities, wine tastings, and networking opportunities both in person and on its digital platform. Learn more →

Looking for support at a specific trade show or need help deciding which is best for you to attend? We're pros at this and would love to help! Contact us today.

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