As part of a range of improvements, this year’s London Wine Fair will include delis, free wifi, and Riedel tasting glasses for the first time.
A selection of food on offer at LWF this year
Show director Ross Carter told UK press of the planned changes earlier this month, noting that the developments were being made in response to an extensive survey of exhibitors over the past 12 months.
“This time last year we were busy organising LWF 2013 but we were already imagining what 2014 would look like after literally hundreds of conversations with exhibitors,” he said.
Carter said that feedback from participants in past fairs included a demand for a fair that was “cost-effective”, “business-like but a celebration”, “a world showcase”, as well as a truly “British” event.
Exhibitors also told Carter that “they wanted something unique, and that bigger isn’t necessarily better”.
As a result, Carter stated that the exhibition organiser had “lowered pricing, increased investment… and provided new opportunities”.
Importantly, as first reported by db, the fair’s location has changed in response to repeated requests from key exhibitors for a wine fair that was located nearer the centre of the capital.
Taking place at the Olympia Exhibition Centre in 2014, Carter stressed that the easiest way to get to the venue, which is based in West Kensington, was to use the trains, rather than the tube.
“Overground is by far the easiest way to get to Olympia, either from West Brompton to Olympia, or from Clapham Junction to Olympia,” he explained.
As part of the increased investment in the fair, Carter said the “food offering would match the product” on show at this year’s exhibition, which will be held on 2-4 June.
Consequently there will be three deli stands at D55, J62 and M74 with a selection of fresh breads, cheeses, cured hams and salads among other foods.
Visitors will be able to buy directly from the delis while exhibitors will have the option to have lunches delivered to their stands.
Carter also reported that many exhibitors had asked for meeting spaces at the fair, so this year there will be new meeting areas “dotted around” the show.
Among these will be a Bedford J2 Bus on stand N80 and a “gastrocab”, both of which come from Gastrocircus and can be booked for tastings, meetings and lunches through this quirky caterer’s website.
Carter also promised all visitors and exhibitors to this year’s LWF free Wifi. “The venue is charging us over £10,000 for wifi, but we thought it was important to provide it for free, particularly for overseas exhibitors who don’t dare switch on their phones for fear of roaming charges,” he said.
Meanwhile, Carter stressed that ISO tasting glasses “were free as usual”, but added that visitors “will also be able to pick up a Riedel glass, which we are offering for £3”.
With the possibility of exchanging the Riedel glass for a token at the end of the day, Carter said the £3 payment would cover all three days should the visitor choose to return to the fair.
Furthermore, at the end of the exhibition, Carter said that Riedel would be selling a box of six glasses for £3 a stem, adding that he believed it was such a good deal, he would be “buying lots”.
Summing up on these changes, and the decision to lower prices for exhibitors this year, Carter said, “We made a decision early on that the investment in the fair had to be significant and the price drop had to be significant – but it will hit our bottom line.”
Carter also told db that 2014’s LWF will be “a make or break year” for the the capital’s largest wine trade event.