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London Wine Fair 2015: what’s on

With the London Wine Fair  set to return to London Olympia, db has rounded up some of this year’s highlights, from beer to fine wine and flamingos.

Now in its 35th year, the London Wine Fair will once again take over Kensington’s Olympia from 18 to 20 May when more than 750 exhibitors will descend on the capital, representing wines from over 40 different countries. Hosted exclusively for trade professionals, the event attracts more than 10,000 visitors a year.

Timed to coincide when many wine professionals are spring-cleaning their wine lists, a visit to the fair is an opportunity to discover new gems, taste with winemakers from all around the world, meet with existing suppliers and discover the latest trends through the event’s rich and varied programme of industry briefings, masterclasses and seminars. These will include insight on customer behaviour, in-depth insight into key wine styles and case studies on outlets at the forefront of consumer engagement. This year, the fair will be putting on its largest – and most varied –programme of masterclasses and seminars to date with more than 100 presentations planned.

Click through for a selection of this year’s highlights…..

The Drinks Business

Last year’s db Awards at the London Wine Fair

the drinks business will once again be at the London Wine Fair with a dedicated stand located at Y22. Throughout the event, db will be showcasing a number of wines to have achieved medals in the past year’s Global Masters Awards. On 19 May at 2.30pm, the drinks business will be hosting its annual Drinks Business Awards 2015 ceremony, when we will be revealing this year’s award winners. Now in its 12th year, the db awards has become the most authoritative, internationally respected badge of achievement in the alcoholic drinks industry. Unveiled each year at the London Wine Fair, it is a chance for outstanding companies and individuals to win high profile recognition in front of some of the industry’s most influential representatives.

For an invitation to the ceremony, please email


Tapping in to the growing craze for craft beer Brewhouse is a section of the fair that will showcase 40 of the UK’s finest craft brewers, curated by beer writer Sophie Atherton, alongside a beer theatre for speakers, debate and presentations. “The Hopsack” will host a range of seminars on subjects such as how to sample, select and serve quality beer. This is only the second time that the Brewhouse will be at the fair, having made its debut in 2014.



After its successful debut at the 2014 London Wine Fair, Esoterica – which showcases the portfolios of niche and micro-importers – will return in 2015. Exhibitors include Croatian Fine Wine, Eclectic Wines and Yapp Brothers. The area has space for just 80 tables to maintain its niche appeal and exhibitors must have fewer than five employees to qualify for inclusion.

London Wine Week

Devonshire Square in the City of London

Running alongside the London Wine Fair will be London Wine Week, back for a second year.

Throughout the week, organisers will host a series of pop-ups, tastings, masterclasses and self-guided wine tours around some of the best venues in London. Once home to the warehouse complex of the East India Company, Devonshire Square in the City of London will serve as the hub for London Wine Week. It will play host to the Nyetimber Hub, which will serve as the focal point of the festival and will also be the venue of pop-up bars including The Wines of Portugal Discovery Bar. Participants will be able to collect their wristbands and plan their Wine Week in the Nyetimber lounge while enjoying a flute of the English sparkling wine estate’s Brut Reserve.

Among the bars and restaurants in Devonshire Square taking part in London Wine Week are: Cinnamon Kitchen, Hix City, New Street Wine Shop, The Bull and Hide, Enoteca, Old Bengal Bar and the New Street Grill, Fish Market.

Wristbands are free to London Wine Fair visitors (£10 otherwise) and give wearers access to the Wine Tours, with over 100 venues offering tasting flights for £5, bespoke wine pairing menus, corkage deals and drop-in tastings. Wristbands are free for members of the trade.

For more information on wristbands and a full line up of events taking place click here. 

Masterclass theatre

Dr Jose Vouillamoz

World-class producers, experts and critics will once again be on hand to lead visitors through a variety sessions on a wide range of topics. This year’s event will features a particular focus on Syrah and Grüner Veltliner in partnership with Wine Grapes’ authors Julia Harding MW and Dr José Vouillamoz. The new initiative will see the authors present a masterclass and tutored tasting of Syrah and Grüner Veltliner at the exhibition demonstrating the pedigree and current form of these varieties, including the first ever public tasting of Dureza, a parent of Syrah.


Industry briefings

The place for topical debate, presentations, research and future thinking.  A perennial favourite feature of the fair, speakers will analyse the past, argue the present and predict the future. Tim Atkin MW is set to chair an industry briefing on successful consumer engagement with a panellists including Christopher Sherwood, general manager and wine buyer at Bottle Apostle; Richard Bampfield MW, consultant to Lidl; Brett Woonton founder of Vinoteca; and Emma Shaw, head of commercial operations at Oddbins.

The Wine Fair Seminars are free to take part in but arrive early as they’re very popular.


The View tastings

Making its debut this year, The View is a space dedicated solely to wines that cost over £30. The new zone has been organised in association with fine wine storage providers Octavian, and will contain wines from companies such as Lea & Sandeman and Louis Latour Agencies. Not only will The View Tastings have its own distinctive branding but also 24-hour security for the area, which will be located behind cordons within The Gallery part of the Grand Hall. Managing the zone will be The Wine Register, a fine wine broker and merchant which was set up in 2014 by Ashley Register, previously of Bordeaux Wine Investments and Quintessentially Wine. Companies committed to The View Tastings include Alliance Wine, Antinori, Astrum Wine Cellars, Flint Wines, Hatch Mansfield, Lea & Sandeman, Louis Latour Agencies, Penfolds and Sogrape UK.

Speakers’ Corner

Joe Wadsack

A platform for the great and the good of the trade to “inspire, enthuse and generally celebrate the trade”. Among events planned, Joe Wadsack, wine presenter on BBC’s Food & Drink, will select his top Syrah and Grüner Veltliner from the show each day and present them at a daily slot – “Joe’s Nose”. Other highlights include a session led by Srdja Mastilovic of Neal’s Yard Dairy, explaining the revolution in New British Cheese.


Wines Unearthed

For the first time, this year’s fair will feature a section dedicated to discovering unsigned winemaking talent from around the world. Wines Unearthed, created in association with JK marketing and The Wine Agency, will feature producers seeking UK representation and will be a distinct stand-alone “village” showcasing up to 70 wineries.

A drinks reception will also take place on Monday evening, exclusively for exhibitors within Wines Unearthed and Esoterica – which showcases the portfolios of UK-based niche and micro-importers – to encourage networking between the two groups.

Pink Flamingo Party

After three days of tasting through hundreds of wine, members of the trade are invited to celebrate the end of the fair and let their hair down at a pink flamingo party hosted by drinks industry charity The Benevolent at Kensington Roof Gardens. As well as feasting on food and drink and dancing until the small hours with the Roof Gardens’ resident DJ, guests will be able to vote for the best dressed male and female based on the event’s “pink theme” dress code, with winners receiving a prize for their efforts.

The Pink Flamingo Party will be held on Wednesday, 20 May, and tickets are available here priced at £60. VIP tickets are £75 and include fast track bar entrance, a glass of Champagne on arrival and a complimentary ticket for the raffle. The Benevolent supports members of the trade facing physical, emotional and financial hardship. For more information and tickets click here. 

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