London wine fair event director, Ross Carter has said next year’s show will be more focused on the UK market.
Speaking to the press at a morning briefing, Carter (pictured) explained that there needed to be a “cultural change” in the way visitors and exhibitors experienced the fair.
Part of this change was the announcement at the same time that the fair would indeed be returning to its roots at London’s Olympia, as already reported by the drinks business.
Carter told the assembled journalists that the LIWF’s biggest rivals were not the likes of ProWein or Vinexpo, but rather the smaller portfolio and generic tastings that take place throughout the year.
The reason why, he explained, “is that they’re more focused.”
The fair will aim to reflect the UK market more closely, to be a “mirror of the UK trade” and include tastings and masterclasses that are more relevant, provocative and resonate for far longer afterwards, citing as an example an idea where government and industry heavyweights go head to head in a debate over alcohol and tax policies.
LIWF will also partner with Wine Intelligence to produce a “State of the Nation” report on the UK market every year, the information will only be available to LIWF attendees.
Furthermore, 2014 fair will acknowledge the rising importance of bulk wines with a dedicated area with importers, suppliers and bulk bottlers as well, a “one-stop shop” for the bulk market.
There will also be a boutique section where smaller importers who may not be able to afford a stand can send some wines which will be shown at a table-top tasting.
To encourage other smaller producers to attend, Carter said that stand prices would likely fall by 20%-25% on their 2012 prices and there will be further restrictions on stand sizes and height.
All future exhibitors and visitors at the fair will also be required to become members of the My Wine Fair app.
The idea is to use technology to make the fair even more relevant to visitors. As the website will know whether the visitor is a member of the on- or off-trades or press, it will be able to remind them of a channel-specific wines or tastings that will be taking place.
Carter also laid out the range of incentives for visitors, the total being set aside for bursaries amounting to £40,000 to cover travel, accommodation, lunches, evening parties and partnerships with exhibitors to offer trips at a later date.
There will also be a greater focus on catering and food, with delicatessen stands where better food to pair with wines on-stand can be found and also for lunch too.
“2014 will be different,” Carter concluded, “business-like but also entertaining.”