Thursday is dedicated to professional buyers, from Friday the fair is open for public
The second consecutive wine, food, and tourism fair Wine Vision by Open Balkan begins tomorrow with a series of business meetings reserved for professional buyers only. It will be held from November 16 to 19, 2023 at the Belgrade Fair, under the auspices of the Governments of the Republic of Serbia, North Macedonia and Albania, and as part of the Open Balkans initiative. The fair will be open to the general public from Friday 17 to Sunday 19 November 2023.
This year, the fair will gather more than 600 exhibitors from numerous wineries, distilleries, and companies from the hospitality industry, from over 28 countries, which is twice as many exhibitors as last year. Half of the exhibitors are from the member countries of the Open Balkans, namely 260 from Serbia, 74 from North Macedonia and 21 from Albania. World wine producers joined the fair this year, which is an important signal that the Open Balkan is an important initiative with significant economic potential.
The first day of the Fair will be dedicated exclusively to professional visitors and B2B meetings, and so far over 3,000 meetings have been scheduled through the Fair’s portal, where professional visitors, buyers and sommeliers will open new business opportunities for all winemakers in the region. These meetings are a development opportunity that will help to increase the export and visibility of our wines and local grape varieties, as evidenced by the fact that this year we are expecting four times more professional visitors compared to last year.
This year too, the Open Balkan Wine Trophy competition will be the highlight of this regional spectacle, and more than 600 wine samples from regional wineries will be evaluated by thirty eminent judges from all over the world. Among them will be holders of the Master of Wine and Master Sommelier titles, while Caroline Gilby MW, who is among the best wine connoisseurs of the Balkans and Southeast Europe and one of today’s key wine authorities, will be the president of the judging panel. Competitions take place according to the same standards as the world’s most famous wine competitions, such as Decanter WWA and IWC London.
The grandeur of this project is best evidenced by the fact that six halls will be used for the fair, with two additional halls for gastronomy, on over 44,000 square meters of total exhibition space. Hall 5 will host a gastronomic spectacle with chefs from all over the world, masterclasses, and a cooking competition. In Hall 11, there is a food exhibition with various types of food and spices, especially from the Balkan region. Winemakers will be presented in the other halls, whereby Hall 1 will be dedicated to wines from Serbia, North Macedonia and Albania, while Hall 4 will present wines from all over the world. Distilleries and the best rakijas of Serbia will also be represented on the gallery of Hall.
In addition to the exhibition character, the fair will also have a sales segment, but sales will be exclusively in a specialized store in Hall 1A.
The ticket price is 700 dinars and can be purchased at the Belgrade Fair. A wine tasting glasses will be available for rent for 500 dinars.
A real culinary spectacle will take place within the Food Vision by Open Balkan program in hall 11, where the best regional chefs will compete in the preparation of traditional Balkan dishes. The culinary spectacle will present the traditional tastes and local gastronomy of Serbia, North Macedonia and Albania. Presentations, gastronomy masterclasses, on-site cooking and a chef competition – all this is just a part of what visitors will have the opportunity to experience at the Food Vision event.
The Serbian Junior Chefs Club will organize a competition of professional chefs called the Open Balkan Chef Culinary Challenge 2023, which, in addition to the competition, also has a humanitarian character. All prepared food and unused food will be donated to the food bank. Also, for a certain fee, visitors will be able to participate in the jury that tastes and evaluates the food, and all proceeds will go towards equipping catering schools in Serbia. In the halls intended for gastronomy, a program of professional equipment and services in catering and services in the catering and food industry will be exhibited.
In the rakija segment, over 50 distilleries will have their stands at the Fair because rakija is an indispensable segment of Balkan authenticity, while Serbian plum rakija is included in the UNESCO list of intangible heritage.
For all true wine connoisseurs, there are also fantastic masterclasses. We will learn more about Tuscan wines, about what is the strength of the terroir of North Macedonia, we will explore the diversity of Chinese wines. The visitors are presented with lectures on marketing strategies for wineries in the Balkans, the basics of tasting and the skills of pairing food and wine, and shedding light on the genetic diversity of Serbia’s grapevines. Wine vision also brings a lecture on the new EU rules for wine labeling, discussions on viticulture in the digital age and the future of sustainable winemaking. Do not miss the opportunity to learn more about the specifics of Serbian rakijas and fruit-growing areas, as well as to explore the secrets and different aspects of vranac, tamjanika and other autochthonous varieties of the Balkans.
Wine Vision by Open Balkan promises to be an unforgettable experience for all lovers of wine, gastronomy and culture of the Balkans. Do not miss the unique opportunity to be part of this unforgettable wine spectacle from November 16 to 19 in Belgrade.