LWF 2014: ‘a make or break year’

2014’s London Wine Fair will be “a make or break year” for the the capital’s largest wine trade event, according to exhibition director, Ross Carter.

London-Wine-Fair-2014-Logo

Exhibition director Ross Carter hopes to attract over 11,500 visitors to this year’s LIWF

Speaking this morning to UK press about his plans for 2014’s fair, which will be held from 2-4 June at London’s Olympia, Carter said the exhibition was already “a success on paper,” with “over 96% of stand space now booked”, and “enough interest to fill the final 4% twice over”.

However, he stressed that the fair’s future depends on the quality of visitors and reaction from exhibitors to this year’s event. “We won’t know if it has been a success until the 5 June,” he said.

Explaining that he wouldn’t be able to gauge the success of this year’s LWF until he received feedback from the exhibitors, he continued, “Come the final day, the exhibitors will say how the event went, and shortly after that, they will decide whether or not to rebook.”

As for targets, Ross said it was important the fair attracted a “quality” audience, but added, “I’m confident we will get over 11,500 visitors”.

With last year’s fair drawing 10,222 visitors, Carter is aiming for a significant jump in numbers, but joked that if the fair did surpass his 11,500 target, he would get the LWF logo “tattooed somewhere”.

Already though, this year’s LWF has attracted a higher number of visitor registrations, and Carter told db that the fair had “5,000 visitor registrations as of yesterday”.

This figure is 15% greater than it was at the same time last year, according to Carter.

As for exhibitors, he said that there was an 11% increase in stand space this year and an 18% jump in the number of companies exhibiting, leading Carter to comment, “we have taken every nook and cranny” of the available exhibition space.

Having moved the fair from the ExCel exhibition centre in Docklands last year to Olympia in west London for 2014 – among other changes already reported by the drinks business – Carter explained that over 20 UK importers who didn’t exhibit last year were returning this year.

Among these are Accolade, Armit, Astrum, Australian Vintage, Bibendum, Castlenau Wine Agencies (formerly Patriarche), Enotria, Erhmanns, Hallgarten, Mentzendorff, Moreno, Negociants and PLB.

As for national and regional organisations, returning to the fair this year are Wines of South Africa, Turkey, Lebanon, Slovenia, Campania, Sicily and The Italian Trade Commission (ICE), according to Carter.

However, he also said that certain companies, including Boutinot, Pernod Ricard, Liberty, and Alliance weren’t returning, as well as the generic organisations for New Zealand, California and Australia – although there will be an Australian Wine Showcase, organised by the magazine by the same name.

Accounting for the above operations’ decisions not to return this year, Carter said that most of them had told him they weren’t exhibiting due to the fair’s June timing.

However, he also announced that 2015’s LWF would be held at Olympia in mid-May, ensuring it would return to its traditional slot in the annual wine trade calendar.

The drinks business will be bringing more news on events taking place at this year’s LWF online during the course of next week, and in our May edition of the magazine, which will feature an extensive fair preview.

For those interested in promoting their plans for LWF 2014, please contact us on +44 (0)207 803 2420 or email patrick@thedrinksbusiness.com

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