Saša Špiranec: If the economy doesn't start by May, we can say goodbye to winemaking!

As the most important business wine event has been announced, the Vinart Grand Tasting in 2021 will be held on April 30 and May 01. Organizer, Vinart is in this transitional ...

As the most important business wine event has been announced, the Vinart Grand Tasting in 2021 will be held on April 30 and May 01. The organizer, the company Vinart, in this transitional year moved the date of the fair from the beginning of March to the beginning of May due to the uncertainty of the epidemiological situation and the duration of anti-epidemic measures.

As a reminder, last year’s Vinart Grand Tasting was the last professional wine fair in Europe, and was held on March 6 and 7, just before the first lockdown, while many more details about the behavior of the Covid-19 virus were unknown.

"It was uncertain until the last second, and in the weeks before the fair we practically didn't sleep because of worries. We prepared a program and organized a study trip after the fair in Croatian wine regions for a group of twenty important European and American journalists, invested a huge amount of money in the hope that we would make a big step to recognize Croatian wines and winemakers in the world. uncertain. In the end, only three journalists canceled our trip, and the others came and were delighted with the offer and quality of Croatian wines. We have done everything in our power to eliminate the risk of transmitting the virus and we are extremely grateful to all exhibitors, staff and visitors who acted responsibly and followed the recommendations as we did not receive a single call informing us that someone had contracted the virus. fair. We have learned a lot from all the experience, and we are ready to boldly enter the preparation of this year's edition of the fair. " says Saša Špiranec, director of Vinart.

We took the opportunity and on this occasion asked Špiranec about the situation in winemaking after the 2020 pandemic. As expected, the autumn wave caused the greatest damage to this branch of the economy, which is extremely important for the tourism sector.

"Judging by the comments we received from winemakers, last year’s drop in turnover was more than obvious. Different wineries have different experiences, but the average should be between 20 and 30% drop overall. The start of the year was a shock and sales stalled, but a good spring and early summer made up for that decline. The second, autumn wave did more damage that was only partially offset by live sales in December when many winemakers had good results in direct sales due to gifts and increased household consumption. If such problems remained in 2021, they would surely become insurmountable for many wineries, and if after Easter the situation moves towards full normalization, then most of the wineries will recover.”Emphasizes Saša Špiranec, whom we also asked for clarification of the chosen term in the still uncertain first part of 2021.

"For the date of our first fair this year, we have chosen dates when spring will already be in full swing, days long and full of sun, and we believe that in the meantime with measures and vaccination the risks will be significantly reduced and that the economy will start breathing lungs. According to us, May is the last moment for normalization, regardless of the circumstances with Covid-19, and that is why we chose the first days of May for the fair. If the economy does not start working normally in May, we can say goodbye to winemaking as its branch. " concluded this leading Croatian expert when it comes to winemaking and this announcement actually speaks best about the consequences of a pandemic. It remains to be hoped that after Easter the situation will normalize because in that case we can still expect the recovery of most stakeholders in the wine scene.

After the announcement of Vinart Grand Tasting, as we find out, the reactions of winemakers and the wine business, ie caterers and retailers after the first wave of invitations, are more than great. "The capacity, which is further limited this year, is almost full after the first week of opening applications. Winemakers and their customers send us numerous messages that they cannot wait for the fair and the start of activities and wine events. Now, things they used to complain about, like too many fairs and trips, seem like a blessing to them in terms of being passive, waiting and staring into space for the past year. ” announces Špiranec.

It is obvious that this year is crucial for winemaking, and without opening and starting the economy in the spring, there will be no winemaking. It remains to be seen how the situation will develop by May, but any such announcement and event that gives hope that the recovery will begin soon is optimistic. For winemakers and winemakers, as well as for catering, it is necessary to start economic activities after Easter at the latest and for the losses to begin to be repaired, otherwise we will have a total collapse.

Photo: Vinart Grand Testing

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