7th March, 2014 by Gabriel Stone
Husband and wife MW duo Peter Richards and Susie Barrie are looking to fill a “gap in the market” with the launch of a new UK consumer wine fair.
Due to take place at the Winchester Guildhall from Friday 21 to Sunday 23 November, The Wine Festival has been timed to coincide with people’s Christmas wine shopping, as well as the city’s Christmas market and ice rink.
“We saw a gap in the market for a wine festival with a local focus,” the couple told the drinks business. “Sometimes in this country we don’t celebrate what we have on our doorstep enough – in Hampshire we have some amazing wine producers, shops, restaurants and other related businesses.”
As a result, they explained, “We wanted to bring all this together under one beautiful roof in Winchester’s Guildhall, along with other complementary wine offerings, to give up to 2,000 people the chance to try a huge range of delicious wines and buy off the back of it.”
The pair, who run Susie & Peter’s Wine School and a Winchester-based consultancy business, as well as being regular resident wine experts on BBC television show Saturday Kitchen, described the festival format as “designed to help people expand their wine horizons in a fun, easy-going atmosphere”.
As part of this aim, they explained: “We’ll be having ‘taste stations’ allied to a colour-coded system that will help flag up wines for different palates on each exhibitor’s table, meaning the interaction between exhibitors and visitors is easier at the same time as encouraging people to try new things.” The event will also feature a series of masterclasses hosted by Barrie and Richards.
Although organisation for The Wine Festival remains in the early stages, the couple confirmed a “wonderfully positive” initial reaction to the event, with a number of retailers and producers already signed up.
“We’re aware it’s a busy time in the trade and there are other festivals out there,” they acknowledged, “but we feel ours offers a very real point of difference and this model is a great way to get people engaged in wine and support local business.”
For more information or to enquire about exhibiting at the fair, email Helen Chesshire.