In February 2020, we made the trip to the first ever Vinexpo to be held in Paris rather Bordeaux where it had previously been held on a biannual basis since 1981. Little did we know that this event would mark the last time that many of us would be able to travel internationally for months, or even years, as the coronavirus pandemic had spread worldwide just a few weeks later.

It has made our return to Paris, for the first major international wine trade event to be held since the start of the pandemic, even sweeter. And we hope signifies that we may finally be on a stable path to normality again. But how best to take advantage of such a momentous occasion?

Visiting a trade fair the size and breadth of Vinexpo allows for a “choose your own adventure” experience and in our case, the main objective of the week was to reconnect in person with as many of our key suppliers possible. While it has been truly awe-inspiring to see how deftly our trade has pivoted to an existence of virtual meetings and flawlessly executed zoom tastings, there was a distinct sense of jubilation felt across the fair as old friends and colleagues reunited once again. And it served as a clear reminder that while technology enables transformative and instrumental developments in the way that we do business, there is still no replacement for sitting down with someone in person for a genuine catch up.

Of course, the Vinexpo agenda did not end once we had exited the great halls onto the streets of Paris. Our evenings were spent blind tasting wines trawled from some of Paris’s most exciting wine lists or sampling a stunning line up of Bordeaux’s finest chateaux while surrounded by the thought-provoking art pieces of Galerie Xippas.

We were spoiled with a seemingly endless line up of showstoppers including a stunning bottle of 2017 Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Lavaux Saint-Jacques (unmistakably identified as Rousseau when presented blind), not to be overshadowed by a magnum of 2000 La Mission Haut Brion which soundly reminded us of how enchanting this chateau can be. Clos Rougeard’s 2018 Saumur Blanc Breze was fascinating to witness as it opened up with a bit of time, and we can think of no more sumptuous way to end an evening than with a magnum of 2016 Yquem.

All in all, our Vinexpo experience was a greatly welcome return to business as usual, which we hope will bode well for the year to come.