The London Wine Fair saw more than 11,000 visitors pass through its doors at Kensington’s Olympia this week attended by a record 780 exhibitors, up from 540 in 2013, with organisers describing response from the trade as “overwhelmingly positive”.
This year saw significant changes to the fair’s format, content and location, with new features including ‘esoterica’ for smaller, boutique importers; a dedicated section on bulk wine; as well as The Brewhouse for tasting small batch craft beers, making its success all the more encouraging.
Visitor numbers totalled 11,247, an 11% increase on the previous year, but more importantly the key sectors of on-trade and independent retail were increased by 30% and 25% respectively.
Ross Carter, event director, said: “We couldn’t be happier with the results this year. The trade called for change, we listened, and delivered beyond even our high expectations. The buzz around the halls was incredible and the feedback so far has been nothing but positive. Exhibitors put their faith in our ability to host a world-class trade event, and I’d like to think we achieved that and more. We’re already working up plans to make further improvements in 2015 and I’m confident that they’ll be equally well received.”
“I was delighted that the Fair was back at Olympia, people were much more energised about talking and selling. It felt edgy and when you looked at esoterica and Brewhouse it was constantly buzzing. The stands were laid out well and were working well. There was a real vibe of energy and passion for product and good old fashioned selling – literally hand to mouth – and it showed.”
In praising this year’s fair Dan Jago, UK and Group Wine Director, Tesco, said too many people compared the event to Prowein, but that it was importantly about the UK – targeting all of the markets including the independents and the on trade, while Tim Atkin MW said the fair’s return to Kensigton had seen the fair “reinvented and reinvigorated to brilliant effect”.
John Osborne, managing director of the PLB Group, added: “As a business, we have used the LWF as an opportunity to re-launch who we are as a business. It has been very much about engaging with our customers and suppliers plus a platform to launch our innovation. We genuinely feel that there was a buzz about the fair this year and it has delivered sufficiently from a commercial perspective to make it a relevant fixture in our annual calendar. There is obviously room for improvement and we are confident that Ross will deliver an even better experience in 2015. We have had a great fair.”
Of the fair’s new esoterica section, specifically for the tasting of boutique wines, Nik Darlington, managing director, Red Squirrel Wine, said: “As one of the littler people we’d never normally have thought the London Wine Fair was our bag. But this year’s esoterica was a revelation, completely exceeded our expectations and an almost unhealthy amount of fun.”
The 2015 London Wine Fair will run from Monday 18th May to Wednesday 20th May and will again take place at Kensington’s Olympia London.