For three days, the halls and chambers of Vienna’s Hofburg Palace came alive with the sounds of great wines being poured and the omnipresent joy of colleagues greeting each other once again and tasting together. The targeted approach of VieVinum organiser M.A.C. Hoffmann, to focus this year on trade participants and thus offer exhibitors and visitors more space and more time for individual discussions, turned out to be right on the mark. The courage shown in this – to reduce the scope & concentrate on greater detail – proved to be a key factor in the trade fair’s success.
Professionalism & ease
‘It’s so good to see the wine family reunited,’ said VieVinum organiser Alexandra Graski-Hoffmann in her welcome address. Austria’s Secretary of State for Tourism Susanne Kraus-Winkler delivered the opening remarks, in which she emphasised the importance of establishing personal contacts when such an emotionally loaded topic as wine is involved, along with highlighting the economic significance of VieVinum to the tourism sector. Winegrowers’ Association President Johannes Schmuckenschlager referred in his welcoming speech to the prolonged anticipation surrounding the return of VieVinum among all those involved in the Austrian wine industry, and underscored the trade fair’s great and lasting importance. Austrian Wine Marketing Board (AWMB) CEO Chris Yorke reported with great satisfaction that a record number of international trade visitors had travelled to VieVinum at their invitation. And Alexandra Graski-Hoffmann praised Austrian winegrowers in no uncertain terms, saying: ‘The special artistry of Austrian growers in presenting their great wines, this successful mixture of professionalism and fluid expression, is an important factor in the charm of VieVinum – and this also characterises our philosophy as organiser.’
Concentrating positive forces
Since 1998, Austria’s international wine festival has documented the careers and progress of Austrian winegrowers every two years. Right from the start, the trade fair organiser M.A.C. Hoffmann and the Austrian Wine Marketing Board (AWMB) have shared equally in providing expertise and innovative spirit. This year more than one thousand international retailers, sommeliers, restaurateurs and journalists came to VieVinum at the invitation of the AWMB. Thanks to excellent vintages like 2019, 2020 & 2021, the stage could not have been set any better.
A badge of honour for Willi Klinger
And aside from happenings at the trade fair itself, Willi Klinger was given a special honour as the longtime CEO of the Austrian Wine Marketing Board and current managing director of Austrian retail chain Wein & Co. Secretary of State Susanne Kraus-Winkler awarded the Republic of Austria’s Golden Medal of Honour to Willi Klinger at a festive ceremony in the company of many colleagues.
The Alps & Mount Etna: opposites attract
Some five hundred winegrowers from near and far presented their finest wines for tasting. In addition to the customary focus on Austria, the fair also featured exhibitors from numerous European wine regions, along with many from overseas. Winegrower groups from Südtirol and Sicily enjoyed special status as guests of honour this year: two winegrowing regions under the Italian flag that, after years of slumber, have recently become two of the most fashionable regions on the international stage, and clearly worked their vinous magic on visitors to VieVinum.
Wine school, and an international match ends undecided ...
Attending ‘school’ and tasting some of the most exciting wines at VieVinum – visitors made good use of this opportunity. The ‘lesson plan’ explored topics such as origins, grape variety and styles of wine, along with overarching factors such as biodynamics and vineyard classification, moderated by highly regarded personalities on the international wine scene. The two guest winegrowing regions South Tirol and Sicily also enriched the proceedings with guided tastings, in which they examined their respective indigenous grape varieties. The result of the traditional wine-country competition organised by the magazine Vinum was awaited with great excitement, in which the 2019-vintage ‘Riesling-eleven’ from the ranks of Germany’s VDP (Verband Deutscher Prädikatsweingüter) went up against a team fielded by the Österreichische Traditionsweingüter (ÖTW). The contest resulted in a draw for the first time, although lack of complete agreement as to the victor is also traditional.
New digital services
In order to enable participants to quickly find the wine they sought, or to connect with the right trading partner, VieVinum’s organisers made two new digital services available. Pursuant to the slogan ‘never again forget a good wine’, visitors could set up a personal digital tasting booklet from the online list of exhibitors. Meanwhile, the B2match-app helped to make establishing business contacts easier and more efficient.
The future of wine
In autumn of 2021, VieVinum organiser Alexandra Graski-Hoffmann launched the Gerd A. Hoffmann Akademie in memory of her father, the founder of VieVinum. A programme of cross-mentoring was offered in which, for the first time, twenty-four promising young winegrowers had the opportunity to exchange ideas with well-known personalities from the business world and society, covering fields such as digitisation, recycling management, tourism and the further development of the individual wine estate. Their closing presentation, in which they presented their summarisations, had taken place beforehand; at VieVinum they offered a master class on the subject ‘The Future of Wine’.
VieVinum special offer: Stölzle glasses & wine refrigerators
After the trade fair is before the sale! Stölzle glasses from the ‘Experience’ series are now available at a special price of €15 per box (6 pieces). The glasses can be ordered at email@example.com. In addition, high-quality wine refrigerators and climate-control cabinets are available in various sizes – and at attractive prices. Information at +43 2262 625 46 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Notable quotes from exhibitors & visitors:
Sigi Hiss, magazines Vinum and Fine
‘The level of achievement for everyone involved in the organisation was simply tops. One just thinks differently here than at other trade fairs. And what the AWMB accomplishes, with their great attention to detail, is not to be taken for granted.’
Wolfgang Rosam, publisher, Falstaff
‘It really is the loveliest wine fair in the world; I’ve been saying that for years. We had a great performance once more from the international winegrowers. Everybody is happy.’
Ralf Kaiser, journalist, Germany
‘After a four-year layoff, it was a great opportunity to get an overview of Austrian wine, especially the 2019 & 2021 vintages, which were very successful.’
Marcus Johst, journalist, Germany
‘I am particularly impressed with the guided tastings and have attended many of them. This focused tasting format offers a great opportunity for sensory education.’
Helga Schroeder, Master Sommelière, Germany
‘As always, everything was clearly and concisely structured; I also thought the master classes were great, as were the events of the supporting programme in the evenings.’
Johann Artner, Sommelier, Restaurant Tantris, Germany
‘I’m totally thrilled; VieVinum simply sets its own standards.’
Josef M. Schuster, Kastner AllesWein
‘For me, the best VieVinum ever. Just the right number of visitors. One can tell from the attention paid to detail, how much thought went into the organisation.’
Paul Truszkowski, Suff wine merchant, Berlin
‘VieVinum offers the loveliest atmosphere imaginable, and the Austrian winegrowers are simply marvellous. This is also a good place for networking.’
Dietmar Baumgartner, Blue Moon Eisenberg
‘It was well attended but not overcrowded; the winegrowers had time for discussions and we were able to taste quite effectively.’
Franziska Kerner, Restaurant Unkai in the Grand Hotel Vienna
‘Winegrowers and wines were just great. It was a lot of fun, and the free day was well spent.’
Marie Christin Baunach, sommelière, Restaurant Überfahrt, Germany
‘For me, this is simply the best wine fair. One could taste in a relaxed fashion, and also had time for discussions. I will gladly come again.’
Lukas Hittinger, Hittinger’s Genuss
‘Here you have all sorts of winegrowers together in one place. I found the Demeter theme very engaging.’
Herbert Schmid, noted sommelier, Austria
‘One doesn’t get such a great all-round view of the wine scene every day. All styles are represented here, with a huge range of vintages.’
Thomas Neusiedler, Helvetia Austria
‘VieVinum is back! Everyone was happy that it was being held again. The quality of the wines offered is consistently outstanding.’
Sophie Countess Goëss-Enzenberg, winegrower, South Tirol
‘Interest in the wines of Südtirol was very great. Many thanks for organising this!’
Christian Bauer, representative for Sicilia DOC
‘The feedback was very positive and the winegrowers want to come back to the next VieVinum.’
Luzia Schrampf, journalist, Austria
‘I went on the “Mission Blaufränkisch”. Organisation was fantastic and I also heard from international colleagues how much they enjoyed VieVinum.’
Peter Weirather, journalist, Austria
‘Everything was optimally organised; clear to see that people enjoy meeting face-to-face once more.’
Florian Scheuba, cabaret artist & wine lover
‘A festival of reunions. It’s fantastic that VieVinum is held at the Hofburg Palace; that makes it even more special.’
Elisabeth Pichler-Krutzler, winegrower, Unterloiben
‘We had a great audience, many international and domestic retailers; on Monday a good number of restaurateurs as well.’
Kurt Feiler-Artinger, winegrower, Rust
‘It was a very positive experience for me. A great group of visitors, and quite attentive.’
Gregor Stiegelmar, winegrower, Gols
‘Everything was great; we had only serious, enthusiastic and highly professional tasters.’
Stefan Zehetbauer, winegrower, Schützen am Gebirge
‘The AWMB did a really great job by inviting the international crew. From day one onward, the atmosphere was absolutely terrific. Kudos to M.A.C. Hoffmann for the organisation and their standard of service. The Hofburg Palace is simply the ideal venue for VieVinum.’
Gerhard Wohlmuth, winegrower, Kitzeck
‘VieVinum was very successful for us. Many familiar trade visitors but many new ones as well, and all this in the wonderful setting of the Vienna Hofburg.’
Josef Scharl, winegrower, Sankt Anna am Aigen
‘That was the best VieVinum for me so far. Beautifully organised. I had tastings with many restaurateurs, and with international visitors; just a super cool crowd.’
Fritz Wieninger, winegrower, Vienna
‘The quality of the contacts was better than ever before.’
Michael Liegenfeld, winegrower, Donnerskirchen
‘It was a great success for us, better than we had hoped. We are already looking forward to the next VieVinum.’
And the next VieVinum will take place on 25–27 May 2024!