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Salon des Vins de Loire in 2015 – still ‘incontournable’?

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The 29th edition of the Salon des Vins de Loire closed its doors last Wednesday at the Parc Expo in Angers. Any fair that has been held every year since 1987 including in 1992, the year following the devastating frost of April 1991 deserves respect. But is the Salon really still ‘la place de marché incontournable de la filière vin ligérienne’ as the press release of Wednesday night claimed? Undoubtedly this is a claim that could have been made a few years ago but in 2015? Far from sure!

If the Salon really is ‘incontournable‘ why no Couly-Dutheil, Baudry-Dutour, Bouvet-Ladubay, Joseph Mellot, Henri Bourgeois, Castel, Château de Tracy or Domaine Huet to name a few famous names absent from Angers.

The main hall of the Salon was noticeably reduced with some of it partitioned off. The organisers claim nearly 9000 visitors to this edition. Is this unique visitors or visitors, who were counted each day they attended? It was noticeable that on the Wednesday there were a number of student visitors. Good that there is interest from the younger generation but a bald figure of nearly 9000 visitors doesn’t tell us very much.

Most of the journalists present were from France plus a number from Belgium including Les 5’s Marco & Hervé. I saw Alice Feiring at the Renaissance tasting on Saturday but didn’t see her at the Salon. Instead I guess she headed for La Dive Bouteille event at Saumur. Otherwise I didn’t see any other journalists from America. As has become customary over the past few years the only two UK journalists at the Salon were Chris Kissack (The Wine Doctor) and myself. This year budgetary constraints meant that Chris and I had no financial support for our hotel. In previous year the Salon has paid for one or two nights at the Hotel du Mail, where I have stayed for at least 15 years now. Had we moved to the Mercure we could have had a night or two but we preferred to stay put in our favourite hotel in Angers. C’est comme ça!

Of course it is not all bad news. Tasting the 2014 vintage confirms the promise of the harvest last September and October. The reds have ripe fruit and attractive texture. The dry whites similarly with good balancing acidity. The sweets are the best since 2010 and 2011. Although it is still early I doubt if the 2014 sweets are at the level of those two very fine sweet wine vintages but there will be some attractive wines nevertheless – probably less concentrated but well balanced.

It was good to see La Levée de Loire, the organic producers, attached to the Salon over three days rather than having a one-day Salon in the centre of Angers. It was a pity that La Dive Bouteille held their tasting in Saumur on the Sunday and Monday as it would have been good to see all the offs and the Salon together in Angers.

As usual the Renaissance tasting was crowded. This was in marked contrast to the first edition of Demeter, which was embarrassingly empty when I dropped in on Saturday afternoon. Hardly surprising as they had done zilch promotion!

Where does the Salon go from here?

The dates for 2016 – the 30th anniversary edition – are fixed – Monday 8th – Wednesday 10th February at Parc Expo, Angers. This is a week later than normal. There have been suggestions that the Salon should just be over two days, that it should move to Paris, be held once every two years, or that there a Grand Nord tasting in Paris – the northern version of Vinisud. A suivre!

J-Elvis1

Auteur : Les 5 du Vin

Journalistes en vin

8 réflexions sur “Salon des Vins de Loire in 2015 – still ‘incontournable’?

  1. Pingback: Salon des Vins de Loire in 2015 – still ‘incontournable’? | Wine Planet

  2. i hope there will still be a fair dedicated to the Loire in the future, as it is why I go there; to mix the Loire with other regions would dilute my interest.
    Whatever the figures and conflicts between organizers and producers’ chapels, I tasted nice wines, met interesting people and went back home with plenty of potential articles.

    J'aime

  3. I would put it in more general terms. The wine trade, and the producers altogether, goes through difficult times, even « large houses » as those you mention specifically. In those periods, it would seem logical to INCREASE the advertising pressure but the sinews of war are lacking, even for the wealthiests among us. And « salons » are very expensive to attend. Yes they are. Moreover, whom do you attract? (i)The press, and my absolute belief is that this very profession loses a lot of its importance even if its members fail to realize this fact, (ii) dedicated amateurs with plenty of free time (the others are working during the duration of most fairs), (iii) some merchants, but most are reluctant to take still one additional reference into their offer portfolio. So, those « targets » are less tempting than in the past and the cost/benefit ratio of wine fairs becomes unfavorable. Just my opinion, of course, and I’m said to be patronizing … People who try to analyze situations and come up with a constructed view, rather than just doing « like / not like » are considered that way, nowadays.

    J'aime

  4. Luc, Le Salon des Vins de Loire don’t let any amateur in! Even the Clubs buying several 100skE/year of wine are banned (you know who I mean). That would be much better business than most of the « cavistes’ and ‘restaurateurs’ that do most of the attendance nowadays.
    They also ban from attendance any wine professional who is not a ‘buyer’ strictly speaking. I have a friend who was an exhibitor for years. He decided not to exhibit anymore this year, but wanted to visit. The stupid on-line registration system rejected him for not being a ‘professional wine buyer’.
    Last but not least: the jurors of their contest ‘Les Ligers’ use to have automatic accreditation. This year they refused my entrance with the juror’s badge for the first time. I had to register again as a visitor.
    OK, minor point, but SDVL should review this.

    I feel that most of the potential new business this year came from visitors to La Levee de la Loire who also spent time at the SDVL.

    The two main issues that SDVL have to face are well pointed out by Jim: many significant Domaines and negoces from Loire were not exhibiting. And there was almost no International visitors.
    If one wanted to hear English, Italian, or German talks about wines, the place to be was La Dive!

    J'aime

    • Thank you for this comment, Denis. I was not aware of the strict « no entrance policy ». In my time (syndrome du vieux con), the « Salon d’Angers » as it was called would let anybody in, any time. I never had a press card and I never had a wine shop, yet I turned up at least 5 times in my life. But this even strengthens my point, with no « amateurs » at all. You are down to journalists and wine merchants (or the catering professions), full stop.

      J'aime

  5. I tend to agree with Luc’s analysis. Running this kind of specialised show every 2 years would be enough in my opinion. I never go any of the « side shows ». I tried them once but the conditions were so appalling (crowded, cold, totally impossible to get to most stands) that I have abandoned them. They are mostly self-congratulatory anyway.The bio show this year within the general hall was a good move if you like that sort of thing, and there were some good wines there, even though it was pretty hard to navigate there with the tiny signs down low on the tiny tables. Signing is not a strong suit at the Loire show anyway.
    Agree with Jim about the overall quality of the 2014 vintage. About time these guys had one like that too.

    J'aime

  6. Meanwhile, Vinisud announces that it will now be held each year instead of once every two years. Seems its format is successful. Or does it means the Midi is more profitable more than the Loire?

    J'aime

  7. The fact that the « side shows » are so crowded is to me a sign that there is definitely an audience for the wines they offer and I would applaud this. I don’t think that it is self-congratulatory but an affirmation that the SLDV does not appeal to to everyone, but I do agree that there is a lot of improvement when it comes to organisation.

    I am studying to become a sommelier and I have a small blog on wine so I contacted SLDV, Dive and Renaissance to see if I could attend despite not being considered a « professional ». Dive and Renaissance said it would be no problem (although I was not able to visit the latter one due to circumstances), but the response I received from SLDV could only be described as impolite at best. I got the impression that they are fostering an image of being the one and only true show in the region, which is never a good evolution. I can understand that you cannot invite everyone who simply wants to drink for free, but surely there has to be some leeway for people who are genuinely interested in wine for other reasons than the buzz?

    J'aime

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