Close Menu

Cox wades into London Wine Fair debate

Michael Cox has voiced his support for the London International Wine Fair in its current annual format, amid growing calls for the event to be held every two years.

Cox, UK director at Wines of Chile, said it is “essential” for the show to be held every year, but added that organiser Brintex needs to emphasise the event’s relevance to the modern market.

Cox said: “I am a firm advocate of The London International Wine Fair and I believe it is essential that it not only takes place annually, but strives to emphasise its credentials as the focal event for wine traders in the UK.

“Other wine shows in other countries have their relevance, but in the main are dominated, and in some cases, swamped, by their local winery focus.

“London can be viewed as having no such parochialism and indeed, London is often referred to as ‘the centre of the wine world’, so let’s glory in that and re-enforce its continuing relevance in the modern and competitive environment.”

Cox went on to stress the need for a full review of he structure and content of the show, which has attracted a fair deal of criticism over the costs involved and quality of visitors attracted to the stands.

“The UK wine trade is acknowledged to have the most developed wine retailing scene, the most discerning buyers, an ever improving restaurant scene, well informed wine journalists, and a consumer that is thirsty for more, and better quality, wine,” he said.

“This is a heady mix and one that is envied by many countries.  We must glory in this, and the London Wine Trade Fair needs to reflect all these attributes.

“I urge Brintex to task its Advisory Board to have a root-and-branch review of how the London Wine Fair can tap into the trade’s inherent strengths, and more importantly for the exhibitors, find ways of attracting far more visitors from around the wine trade in Great Britain.

“It can even pander to a bit of parochialism itself, and have a section of the Fair devoted to the ever improving English winery scene.”

What do you think? Email your views to

Alan Lodge, 21.07.2009 


Nick Dymoke-Marr, founder, Leftfield Wines Ltd 

"Having very strong and positive views regarding, the LIWF, I feel compelled to voice support for the continuation of an annual event in London. Suggestions to downgrade the LIWF to a biennial fixture as per Vinexpo are complacent and backward looking.

"First and foremost, the reason why the event, that began 30 odd years ago as a regional, annual trade get together in the Kensington Roof Gardens, has grown into a truly International showcase, is that there has been continuous investment, evolution and improvement of the format every year by Brintex. They should be applauded for their total commitment and determination to achieve that result.

"Correct me if I’m wrong but it seems that Vinexpo, which a decade ago was acknowledged as the world’s leading drinks industry exposition, no longer commands that position. Two years is a long time to wait in an impatient, ever demanding and shrinking world, and many regions around the globe now host their own annual trade shows, making a trip to Bordeaux every other year less compelling. There also seems to have been a lack of development and innovation regarding the format and this has resulted in an increasing number of key companies and trade organisations terminating their support.

"By contrast, despite the global economic downturn and manifest pessimism in our own industry, the visitor numbers at this years LIWF were broadly in line with those of 2008 (a non Vinexpo year), and represented the second busiest show in its long history. Frankly, I don’t believe this is important. What has significantly changed over the past couple of years is the architecture of both exhibitors and visitors. This has created a far more professional feel to the Fair attracting those that really want to do business. Hopefully this trend will continue.

"Concerns have been aired regarding the cost of exhibiting at the LIWF. Unsurprising given that many companies are having to make massive reductions in operational costs to survive. One business quoted that their total cost for the fair this year was £100,000. I know from personal experience that the floor space and utilities rental charged by Brintex is actually pretty reasonable. I also know that entrusting the design, transport, construction, dismantling, removal and storage of your stand to a contract management company or PR agency is a wickedly expensive and lazy option. Alternatively, by taking control of the process, being resourceful and negotiating hard with suppliers and service providers, you’ll save thousands.

"As a visitor, and this is crucial, there is no better show. This year, I set up 12 meetings ahead of the event. All but one took place and I came away with some great results. The environment was totally professional and the atmosphere far less stressed than that of most offices. This was reflected in the people I met, whom without exception were relaxed and proud to     show a visual expression of their company alongside their peers and competitors.

"Finally, from a personal point of view, without the LIWF, it would have taken months and cost a fortune to have arranged my appointments geographically. Most importantly though, the LIWF creates a unique business environment, which, I am convinced, for my business partners and myself, facilitated exponentially better results than we could achieve in the normal workplace.

"Keep up the good work, Brintex and roll on May 2010!"

It looks like you're in Asia, would you like to be redirected to the Drinks Business Asia edition?

Yes, take me to the Asia edition No