Interview with Javier Pagés, President of Barcelona Wine Week


The next edition of Barcelona Wine Week, which will take place from February 6 to 8, 2023 at the Montjuïc venue of Fira de Barcelona, will bring together the Spanish wine sector to offer business opportunities, analyze their future challenges and give visibility to the great wealth of soils of the country and its wine-growing potential. The president of the salon and of the DO Cava, Javier Pagés, explains in this interview what to expect from an event that has already been consolidated in the trade fair calendar of Spain and that this 2023 is presented under the slogan ‘Spain, singular mosaic of floors’.

The third edition of Barcelona Wine Week will be held from February 6th to 8th.

How do you rate the evolution of the fair?

In just two editions, the event has firmly established itself in the trade fair calendar and represents the first major event of the year for wine professionals at European level. I consider it a great success that shows the high satisfaction of our visitors and is motivating to make each edition even better than the previous one.

What does this fair offer that is not found in other national events?

Barcelona Wine Week is the benchmark event for professionals who want to get to know, do business and learn about wines made in Spain, showing their very wide territorial variety in an exhibition space mainly organized by DO and other quality labels (specifically, 70 of them will be represented, 10 more than in the previous edition). In addition, it has a powerful invitation program for VIP international buyers. In short, it is a unique global platform to continue climbing in value and perceived quality.

In addition, the environment is unbeatable: Barcelona is a very attractive destination that allows you to combine a very professional fair and, at the same time, enjoy the cultural and recreational opportunities that the city offers.

Gastronomy is another clearly differential aspect, as will be evident in the BWW Gastronomy Food&Wine Restaurant pairings area, which throughout the entire day during the three days of celebration will offer proposals by sommelier César Cánovas along with three renowned chefs from Barcelona establishments: Tomás Abellán, from the Alegría Bar, Josep Maria Kao, from the Kao restaurant, and Alessio Biangini, from Cecconi’s. BWW will also show the potential of the wine-gastronomy binomial abroad in collaboration with ICEX Spain Export and Investments, through activities such as a round table with international restaurants recognized with the Restaurants from Spain gastronomic quality label.

And what are your goals?

The main challenge of BWW 2023 is to continue increasing the good assessment of all attendees for the business carried out and for having updated on the most relevant in the field of quality Spanish wine. We also intend to attract more and more international visitors, and continue to contribute to promoting quality Spanish wine in the world.

In 2023, how many exhibitors and visitors are expected?

More than 750 wineries will exhibit at the show, a figure that represents a significant increase compared to previous editions (in the last one around 650 companies participated as exhibitors). Moreover, we expect to exceed the 18,000 professional visitors registered at BWW 2022.

Beyond the exhibition space, what activities will be held during the fair?

The BWWHub space will host tastings, conferences and round tables with renowned experts. A good part of them will be dedicated to the main theme of this edition, the richness of soils of the Spanish wine territory, although there will also be sessions that will deal with the benefits of ecodesign, the rise of wine tourism, the digitalization of the sector and new ways of reusing bottles, among others.

In addition, the Wine Tasting Journey – Soils of Spain by Alimentos de España wine bar will offer an immersive tour of the entire country through a self-guided tasting of 58 wines made on unique soils in about thirty wine-growing areas of Spain.

Sustainability, wine tourism and innovation are three important axes at the BWW. How will each of them work?

As previously mentioned, each of these topics will be addressed in various sessions scheduled during the three-day salon at the BWWHub space, by experts from different professional backgrounds: from producers to winemakers, sommeliers, researchers and journalists.

On the other hand, a series of actions aimed at reducing the environmental impact of the show and promoting sustainability will be carried out at Barcelona Wine Week again: from the recycling of glass and cork to the reduction of single-use plastics or the installation of recycling islands, among other initiatives.

Spain is the world’s leading wine producer and the third largest exporter, according to ICEX data. With this, Spanish wine is sold all over the world, but not at the price that many would like. What are we doing wrong?

Spain is a country where great references are made and our great challenge is to get international consumers to know them better and, therefore, be willing to pay more for the quality of our wines. It’s a slow process, but he’s on the right track.

In this sense, what presence of international buyers will there be at the fair?

The BWW organization has invited more than 500 international buyers with the strategic collaboration of ICEX Export and Investments. These are purchase decisions made by large international groups from the main import markets for quality Spanish wine: the United States, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, Colombia and Belgium, among other countries.

Domestic consumption is another major challenge. Will there be key buyers at the BWW?

Of course, we do not neglect the Spanish market, so we will also have the assistance of more than 1,300 national key buyers, coming from large distribution, wholesale centers, specialized distributors, retailers and gourmet stores.

Por otro lado, la incertidumbre generada por la escalada inflacionista tiene al sector en vilo. ¿Cómo está afectando esta crisis energética y de suministros a la industria del vino?

Lógicamente, la crisis energética y de suministros repercute fuertemente en los costes de las empresas del sector del vino a todos los niveles (materias primas, energía, botellas, corchos…). Pero, a pesar de la situación, los resultados de las exportaciones de vinos los nueve primeros meses de 2022 fueron de récord: crecieron más de un 4,7%, y además lo hicieron en términos de valor y no de cantidad, según el Observatorio Español del Mercado del Vino. Se registraron datos especialmente buenos en mercados como México, Suiza o Francia. Por otra parte, la recuperación de la hostelería fue clave para incrementar las ventas de vino en el mercado español y atenuar en parte el impacto de la inflación. Una vez más, el sector está demostrando su resiliencia.

Para terminar, ¿qué mensaje enviaría a aquellas bodegas que todavía no tienen claro si asistir o participar en Barcelona Wine Week 2023?

Que tengan en cuenta que participar en BWW es garantía de negocio, ya que la organización del certamen atrae a compradores VIP de diversos perfiles acorde a la amplitud de los varios canales existentes para llegar al consumidor: grandes empresas importadoras, distribuidoras, multiple retailers, detallistas independientes, tiendas gourmet, hostelería y restauración y el mundo digital. Todos ellos mantendrán más de 8.000 reuniones de negocios con los expositores del salón, según nuestras previsiones.