LIWF exhibitor numbers are down 25% this year but those who have booked a stand believe this should present a business opportunity.
LIWF exhibition director Ross Carter was formerly a winemaker
Speaking to the drinks business for its annual LIWF preview, which featured in the April edition of the magazine, exhibition director Ross Carter said that he expects 25% fewer exhibitors when bookings are finalised, and has reduced the stand area at this year’s fair by 20%.
However, he said that those companies which will be present should see fewer competitors and enjoy a greater share of the visitors.
“There are fewer UK agents this year, but those who have remained will get exceptional value as a result of being the key recipients of the visitor audience,” he said.
As previously reported by db, companies that have decided not to exhibit at this year’s LIWF include Australian Vintage and Accolade Wines, as well as UK agents such as Enotria, Liberty and Mentzendorff.
On the other hand, among the 500-plus exhibitors booked are companies such as Gonzalez Byass, J E Fells, Copestick Murray, Hatch Mansfield, Seckford’s and Treasury Wine Estates.
Agreeing with Carter, one further exhibitor this year, Louis Latour Agencies, believes 2013’s fair offers a valuable chance to do business in a difficult market.
“The buyers will still be coming so we see it as a commercial opportunity, especially if there are fewer competitors,” said company director Richard Nunn in an interview with db.
Having said that, he pointed out that Burgundy’s two other major négociants will still be present – Louis Jadot and Bouchard Père et Fils – because their respective agents, Hatch Mansfield and J E Fells, are exhibiting.
Continuing, Nunn told db, “It’s a difficult market, so it’s not a good time not to be there… and while it’s easy to knock shows, you get out of it what you put in.”
Finally, he said he liked the current LIWF venue in Docklands, which some have suggested is too isolated for sommeliers and lacks the buzzy feel of a more central location in London.
“I like ExCel. People say it’s hard to get to, but it’s hard to get to Vinexpo or ProWein, and it’s so much easier to get a coffee and something decent to eat at ExCel,” he said.
Among the initiatives planned to bring some buzz to the fair is a new central section called The Wine Hub, which will feature pop up events, including, as reported yesterday, beer, English sparkling and natural wine tastings.
For more on this year’s fair, see the April edition of the drinks business. We will also be bring more news on LIWF in the coming weeks and in our May LIWF drinks business special.