Because of French general elections today, the official opening will have to wait until tomorrow, when the French Agriculture Minister Christine Lagarde and the Mayor of Bordeaux and former French Prime Minister Alain Juppé cut the ribbon on the event.
Some 50,000 visitors are expected at Vinexpo over the course of the show, which runs until Thursday, with 2,400 exhibitors showing off their wines.
For the first time, wine and spirits marketing is being represented at the show, with 54 exhibitors presenting equipment and solutions to boost sales to consumers.
A 430-metre long floating bridge has also been built to link the two parts of the exhibition – a new world record for a bridge of its type.
The show has also inaugurated a new ‘Club du Lac’, a complex of pavilions, gardens and patios overlooking the lake, which is home to some of the world’s largest wine companies, including Constellation, Les Grands Chais de France and Champagne Louis Roederer.
45 countries are represented at this year’s Vinexpo, with Slovakia, Croatia and Barbados appearing for the first time. France has the largest presence, followed by Spain, Italy and Portugal.
The start of the show comes as political tension in France rises over difficult conditions in the Languedoc wine industry. An action group made up of some extremist French winemakers, known as CRAV, has issued an ultimatum to the new French President Nicolas Sarkozy, to improve conditions and the price of wine or face direct action. CRAV have previously carried out bomb attacks against supermarkets and international wine interests, although so far no injuries have been caused.