Red wine separates the friendly from the brooding

When the chief of one of the biggest, most significant wine trade shows of the year talks about wine, he makes it sound like a character in a book.

Wines are to be "understood" and "felt," says Robert Beynat, chief executive of Vinexpo in Bordeaux.

Some, like a Pinot noir for instance, are easier to relate to than others, he says. Like the girl next door, Pinots are friendly, approachable wines that make them easy to understand and read: a little fruity and a little light.

That's also what makes Pinot noirs the most popular wine at the moment.

Others, like a Cabernet Merlot, however, are like a brooding, dark, mystery man with a storied past: richer, more complex and difficult to understand.

In an interview with Relaxnews on the eve of the 30th annual Vinexpo which starts June 19 in Bordeaux , Beynat shed some light on current trends in wine consumption around the world, and emphasized a growing market often overshadowed by the frenzy of Asia: the US.

Overall, wine consumption is set to grow five percent worldwide over the next five years, he said, driven largely by increased consumption in Asia. But it's also gaining traction in untapped markets that include young people, women and the US where there exists a lot of room to grow, he pointed out.

For example, while Brits already consume around 29 liters of wine per capita a year, Americans consume less than half that at 13 liters a head.

After the Brits, Americans are also the second biggest importer of wines.

"It's a huge mistake to ignore North America," Beynat said. "There's enormous potential there."

Rising consumption in the US is largely attributed to a strong advertising presence, where big brands like Ernest & Julio Gallo and Robert Mondavi invest huge resources to mount aggressive marketing campaigns.

That's also why Vinexpo organizers plan to return to the US after a long hiatus. Though he remained mum on details, Beynat said contrary to what industry magazine Decanter reported, Vinexpo will  not return as a trade show. Further details will be announced in November.

Consumption in northern Europe and Scandinavia is also on the rise, Beynat said. Swedes, for instance, drink about 31 liters per capita a year, and are projected to increase their consumption to 33 liters a year by 2015. Norway and Finland are also expected to increase their consumption over the next five years.

Vinexpo starts June 19 in Bordeaux and is expected to draw up to 50,000 attendees from about 140 different countries.

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