David Bernad and the Miami International Wine Fair
Come, come, good wine is a good familiar creature if it be well used…
In keeping with the immortal words of The Bard, the Miami International Wine Fair comes to the Miami Beach Convention Center led by its sophisticated leader, David Bernad. Now in its sixth year, the festival has grown into a premier event to learn about harder to find, boutique vineyards from around the world.
“The Miami International Wine Fair is the largest wine expo in the state in terms of number of wines available to taste and wines represented,” says Bernad. “Our VIP buyers program brings in 75 to 100 buyers from throughout the state who purchase more than $1 million a year. Our grand tasting is a wonderful opportunity for consumers to have an educational experience that will open up their eyes and their palates.”
Bernad’s decision to start the festival in Miami came after extensive study. He began by researching the American wine market in 2001 and found that Florida was the nation’s fastest growing. “Florida is the second largest market in terms of wine consumption having just passed New York,” he explains. “More than 60 million gallons of wine are consumed in Florida each year.”
As for the United States’ wine market as a whole, Bernad believes that the potential for growth is unparalleled. “It’s a beautiful market,” he explains. “The United States is ranked 37th in per capita consumption, yet number-one in total consumption. Additionally, the American consumer is developing a more refined palate. Two years ago, red wines surpassed white wines in supermarket sales. Novice wine drinkers often begin with light, sweeter wines before moving onto darker, more complex wines. So these statistics are very compelling.”
Bernad was not always an expert of the wine market. After earning a degree in industrial engineering and economics from Columbia University, this native Spaniard was a part of the team that developed the Internet in Latin America during the 1990s. “I was perfect for the job because I am bilingual,” says Bernad. “After the market crashed, I began studying wine, a passion of mine, and it was absolutely the right decision.”
Playing off of the success of the Miami International Wine Fair, Bernad now represents vineyards from Europe and brings their products to the US. “I work with wholesalers to bring small, boutique brands to this market. Again, the growth potential is substantial,” he says.
This year’s sixth annual Miami International Wine Fair is September 8 – 10 at the Miami Beach Convention Center. Tickets are $75 for consumers, and the fair’s Collector’s Club ($120) offers an exclusive selection of wines from around the world. One-third of proceeds from the fair benefit the American Red Cross Greater Miami and the Keys.