The eleventh annual Beijing Food & Wine Experience is slated for Saturday, November 29 in Beijing. While the 2007 event covered two days, this year the trade tasting, public tasting and other activities will be squeezed into one day and utilize the Hilton’s new nine-floor “executive tower.”
Given that a fee of RMB230 provided patrons access to hundreds of wines (more than a thousand?) and a buffet, I found the turnout at the public tasting disappointing last year. So did several distributors with whom I talked: they not only paid for display space, but also had the costs of providing staff, wine, and literature. (Note: This year’s display packages range from RMB3500 to RMB22000).
If my in-box ahead of last year’s event is an indication, better marketing – by the hotel and distributors – is needed for what, at least for many consumers, should be one of the wine events of the year in Beijing. This seems especially important for the Hilton given that some distributors have been “going it alone” and holding partial portfolio tastings for as low as RMB100, including Torres, Palette, GELIPU-Winelink, and ASC.
Last year saw eight distributors hold the vast majority of the nearly 200 tables – ASC, Aussino, Jointek, Summergate, Jebsen, H&L, Palette and Torres. Other distributors included DT Asia, Metro, Bacchus Pernod Ricard, Ao Hua, Beijing GLP, East Meets West, Longfellows, Moet Hennessey Diageo and TBC (The Beverage Company). Some food, glassware, wine accessory, bottled water and publishing companies also participated.