More than 70,000 visitors from around 180 countries are expected to attend the world’s leading trade fair for the beverage and liquid food industry, drinktec, which opens its doors today in Munich.

Held at Messe München together with SIMEI, the international exhibition for winery and bottling machinery, which is organised by Unione Italiana Vini (UIV), for the first time, the five-day trade show will see the largest attendance in its more than 60-year history.

Around 1,700 exhibitors, including around 200 at SIMEI, will take part. Exhibitors cover the entire process chain from production, filling and packaging, to marketing of beverages and liquid food – including raw materials, ingredients for drinks and logistics solutions.

The integration of SIMEI means the space occupied by drinktec, which is held every four years, has grown to more than 150,000sq m. In a designated ‘SIMEI@drinktec’ exhibition area covering more than 20,000sq m in Halls C2 and C3, leading manufacturers will present all kinds of machine technology and equipment for wine production and wine processing, including packaging solutions.

Dr. Reinhard Pfeiffer, Messe München’s Deputy CEO, said, “We look forward to the joint project and extend a warm welcome to our partners from Italy. This kind of international cooperation is extremely unusual in the trade fair world. By joining forces, drinktec and SIMEI@drinktec will become the industry’s most important technology, retail and marketing platform worldwide. With its solutions aimed specifically at the wine industry, SIMEI complements what drinktec has to offer.”

The cooperation agreement between Messe München and the Italian wine association UIV was signed two years ago. Under it, SIMEI will still be staged every two years, but its venue will now alternate between Italy and Munich. It will be held in Munich together with drinktec every four years.

Attending the event is UIV’s President Ernesto Abbona, who said the aim of the collaboration is to organise an international platform that offers exhibitors new opportunities for internationalisation and opens doors for them to markets throughout the world.

To give guests from Italy fitting welcome, the Bavarian government is staging a state reception at the Residenz in Munich tonight.

The integration of SIMEI also reflects the trend that the largest growth in visitors to drinktec has come from the fields of wine, sparkling wine and spirits. In 2013, this segment accounted for 16% of drinktec’s visitors or more than 10,000—an increase of 83% over 2009. “And thanks to SIMEI, we will no doubt increase the proportion of visitors from the wine industry significantly,” adds Reinhard Pfeiffer.

A wide range of industrial gas and equipment companies are attending drinktec this week including ASCO Carbon Dioxide and Pentair.

ASCO will be presenting its latest carbon dioxide plant technology and Pentair will be showcasing its latest innovations and solutions that help breweries and beverage producers assure product quality, reduce operating costs and support a sustainable future.