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Natural Wine Fair a sell out in London

The Natural Wine Fair proved a sell-out on its final day in London’s Borough Market yesterday (Monday 16 May) with all 900 consumer tickets having been snapped up before the three-day event.

isabelle_legeron.jpgThe event was the brainchild of wine writer and broadcaster Isabelle Legeron MW, who partnered with five wine importers, including Les Caves de Pyrène and Dynamic Vines, to put on the show.

Legeron (left) put the success down to a growing consumer thirst for knowledge. “Consumers are beginning to ask questions," she said. "We’ve seen it happening in food with farmers markets and now people are starting to query what’s happening in the wines they are drinking. It was just a matter of time.”

The aim of the fair was to raise awareness about natural wine among consumers and give members of the trade the opportunity to meet the winemakers.

“The reaction has been great. The place was buzzing with people yesterday who were really passionate about the wines, and we’ve had healthy discussions during our seminars,” Legeron told db.

Among yesterday’s attendees was Gerard Bassett MW MS, who has recently added a 12-strong natural wine offering to his wine list at hotel TerraVina in Hampshire.

“We’ve put it at the front of the list after Champagne as natural wines are different to other wines. I made sure we included a detailed explanation as to what natural wine is, and what characteristics customers can expect, because I don’t want people sending the wines back,” Basset admitted, revealing that Beaujolais-based Domaine Marcel Lapierre was his best-selling natural wine.

Also at the fair was food and wine writer Fiona Beckett, who was pleasantly surprised by the range of styles on show: “The huge stylistic range blows the myth that all natural wines taste the same,” Beckett told db, adding: “Such variety makes me think some of the wines are perhaps more natural than others.”

In a call to arms, Legeron, who admitted that a lack of an official definition for natural wine is a “failing” that needs to be addressed, has urged the trade to lift the lid on ingredients in wine.

“The trade needs to start asking questions," she said. "How much manipulation in a wine is acceptable? We need to address a lack of transparency, it’s time to have ingredient labels on wine.”

To see the full interview with Isabelle Legeron MW, click here

Lucy Shaw, 17.05.11

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