Conrad Shutte, manager of Vinpro’s consultation services, had a great experience attending fairs in Italy and Germany last month from 26 January to 6 February. His overseas trip included Fieragricola’s 114th International Agriculture Technologies Show, and the Vivai Righi Nursery in Verona Italy, as well as the Simonit & Sirch in Fruili Italy and FruitLogistica in Berlin, Gemany.

This opportunity came after Vinpro hosted a three day Fieragricola exhibition where 12 Italian companies showcased their specialised equipment, systems and products for wine grape cultivation, in October last year.

One of Conrad’s objectives in Italy was to view the different machinery and equipment exhibited. He compiled a list of machinery he thought could work under South African conditions if Vinpro were to host another demo day in the future.

Massive demonstrations

The scale of the Italian exhibition was something to behold; much bigger than South Africa, Conrad says. For starters, the fair had a massive demonstration pavilion. “They build an artificial vineyard in the middle of the parking area and have tractors and equipment lined up. They then do a demo of spraying water on the canopies or stuff that will work underneath the grapevines,” Conrad explains. Even though you can see the equipment in the hall, they showcase how it’s used outside.

“Italy is cool” 

Although there was a language barrier, the Italians were willing to assist in any way. It was refreshing to go to a stand, speak English and if they don’t understand you, they will find someone who speaks English, Conrad says. “This one guy said his daughter is in the same industry. He couldn’t speak English so he called his daughter and I spoke to her over the phone and she translated our conversation. We probably spoke for 15 minutes over the phone through someone else.”

Conrad says it was cool to see how many young people attended the fair. Compared to South Africa, the younger Italian generation are keen to learn and engage with others in the industry. Some even hold high positions within their companies.

According to a professor Conrad spoke to about the youth in attendance, youngsters are especially involved in the involved in the production of prosecco in the northern parts of Italy. “Financially, they are doing well so the younger generation in the industry is trying to find work in the prosecco area. However, prosecco is not that profitable in the southern areas.”

Culture and culinary cuisine 

The Italian winegrowing region is much bigger than in South Africa and they have been producing wine for a longer time. “They have a massive industry and more equipment compared to South Africa,” says Conrad.

Italians are extremely proud of their heritage. “Wine is engraved in their culture. When I spoke to Italians, I could hear how passionate they are about their heritage.” Conrad says the food was nothing short of amazing, and he even indulged in dishes like traditional Italian pizza, had dark concentrated wines and even beef cheek which he describes as ‘interesting’.

Future partnerships

Veronafiere are eager to collaborate with Vinpro in the future. This would either be in the form of another demo day or something bigger. Conrad says they are excited to network and would like exposure to the African markets. “Everyone is excited to get into the African market because it is predicted to grow. South Africa and Vinpro are seen as entry points into that market.”

By 2050, the African population is expected to consist of 25% of the global population and in 2100, it’s going to make up 40% of the global market. That will almost be equivalent to Asia, he says. “Everyone will see this as an opportunity and will want a piece of the pie.”

 

 

 

 

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