No fair | Massive Chengdu wine fair postponed

Widely deemed the country’s most important alcohol exhibition, the China Food & Drinks Fair / Tang Jiu Hui set for late March in Chengdu has been postponed due to the coronavirus situation. The announcement, made just before 1 PM today and already viewed more than 100,000 times, cited the need to get the epidemic under control and specifically the directions of the Sichuan government for the decision. A new CFDF date is to be determined.

The announcement comes on the heels of many closings, cancellations, and postponements for wine bars, educators, event planners and others the past few weeks.

  • Wine distributors have canceled dinners, tastings and winemaker / supplier visits for February and in some cases longer. Beijing-based importer / distributor The Wine Republic says all events have been canceled through May.
  • Wine education companies have canceled classes, including GrapeA, which will hold no classes this month but is offering free extensions, including on exams.
  • At least some Beijing wine bars and shops remain closed, including Italian-themed Buona Bocca and The Merchants, which recently delayed its reopening to February 10.

These are just a few examples, and are in addition to challenges faced by wine companies, such as extended office building closings, the quarantining of staff, delays at Customs, struggles with delivery services, and more.

In terms of CFDF, while I’d heard from numerous people about international trade members planning to skip this year’s event, a decision made easier as many airlines canceled or reduced flights to China, some still held out hope the coronavirus situation would be remedied in time and the show would go on, especially as they had already booked notoriously hard to find hotel space.

The CFDF is the China’s oldest drinks fair. This year’s edition, the 102nd, was slated for March 26 to March 28, with the trade holding hotel meetings the four days prior. CFDF is especially important for local alcohol producers, including of China’s national spirit, baijiu. According to CFDF, the fair attracts 3,000 exhibitors and 300,000 buyers, leading to rmb20 billion in deals,

More on the CFDC and other situations in the next few hours.

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