That hunch hardbinger of success

It was the year 1960 when four important personalities in vine-making equipment industry asked me if they could meet in an office of Unione Italiana Vini – that I had been running since 1952 – in order to talk over the idea of a wine-making machinery exhibition, which should be biennial and international as the Salon d’Embouteillage of Paris, and private, to replace the Wine-Making Machinery Hall of Fiera Milano. 

A huge promotion campaign began in 1962 involving all ICE (Board of Foreign Trade) offices abroad, all trade associations and trade magazines in every country, all the competent authorities. All wine-making and bottling firms in the world were told of the exhibition one by one. Many ministers and Members of Parliament accepted to take part to the “Committee of honour”and in 1965 the exhibition was granted with the title “international” obtaining also the patronage of the Presidents of the Republic Saragat and Leone. 
Such were the events leading up to the inaugural edition of SIMEI at the Palazzo dello Sport, Fiera Milano, in November 1963 (in 1965 it would move to more suitable and, above all, larger halls). The exhibition grew considerably in the editions that follwed. During my management (1963-1985) the total area grew from 12,000 to 42,000 sqm, the number of exhibitors from 170 to 470 and visitors from 11,000 coming from 27 countries to 32,000 from 50 countries. 
As everybody knows Simei has gone on growing ever since – exhibitors increased from 470 to 700, the area from 42,000 to 80,000 sqm, visitors from 32,000 to 48,000 (9,000 of which were foreigners coming from 90 countries). 
In 1997 this success made it possible to add to Simei a more properly wine-growing exhibition, Enovitis, with 8,000 sqm and almost 100 exhibitors, and to give up the side events. In this way we didn’t take away time to trade visitors during the exhibition time which was restricted to five days.But Simei was by that time well-established on every level and it had become ingrained in the quality growth of wine-growing sector – above all in the sector of DO - and in the quantity growth in the sector of beer, mineral waters and soft drinks, as the international lanscape was always more open thanks to the starting in 1970 of the European Common Market , the enlargement of the European Union (from 6 to 10 to 15 and soon to 25 members) and the gradual “globalization” of the trade exchanges ruled by the agreement Gatt in Marrakech in April 1994.

Antonio Niederbacher