He told OLN: “It is brilliant to have every producer from around the world at Prowein laying out their wares. But if I added up all the costs of coming, you must question how visitors get value for money. You have to work really hard to get some kind of commercial advantage to being here.
“You have thousands of products here and they are all in the same packaging. Is this really all the wine trade can do? Maybe the trade is shy about showing off its new kit, and maybe exhibitors are keeping all the good stuff under their counters.”
He added that the London Wine Fair, which takes place at Olympia from May 18-20, could regain its position as the most relevant show.
He said: “In many ways, when you compare Prowein to London maybe London might turn out to be the better fair because it is more focused.”
But several independents visiting Prowein for the first time, including owner of the Corks Out chain Ruth Yates, were more complimentary. Yates said she was “very impressed” by the breadth of wines and found it more worthwhile to her business than the London Wine Fair.
“I think the show is great. There are so many producers here and I’ve been able to get around and find lots of interesting wines. For me, coming to Prowein has been much more useful than visiting the London Wine Fair.”
Visitor numbers to Prowein hit a record high of 52,000 – up 7% on last year – with 47% coming from international markets. Nearly 6,000 exhibitors took part from 50 countries.