London Wine Fair 2017 ‘the most challenging of my career’

Attracting exhibitors to this year’s London Wine Fair has been more challenging than ever before, according to Ross Carter, head of the UK’s largest wine-trade event.

‘There is a sense of unease,’ said Ross Carter about UK-based wine importers and distributors

Recalling his experience managing the show since he joined the London Wine Fair organiser Brintex in 2013, he told db, “It has been challenging – certainly the most challenging of my career.”

Blaming this year’s difficulties on the political and economic climate in the UK, he pointed out that any current issues facing the fair won’t last. After all, he reminded db that the London Wine Fair is in its 37th year.

For now, though, he says the current economic climate has meant that even some long-standing London Wine Fair exhibitors have decided either to downsize their stands or choose not to take part. Among these are major UK distributors Mentzendorff and Enotria. “There is a sense of unease, and there are challenges for the UK importer-distributors because of exchange rates,” he said.

“But these are not going to be ongoing problems; there will be a bounce back,” he added.

Carter, who said that he “speaks to every importer in the market”, and, consequently, “has a great ear on the trade”, has evolved the London Wine Fair to fit the needs of today’s UK wine businesses, as well as buyers.

One major development is the increased focus from wine distributors and producers on the independent retailers and the on-trade.

“People are really emphasising the independents and the on-trade, which has been the case for a few years now but has really amplified after the Brexit vote,” he says. “As a result, we have doubled our efforts in delivering that audience, which was, by and large, the one we set out to attract since moving to Olympia three years ago [from east London’s ExCel].”

For more on the London Wine Fair 2017 see the April issue of the drinks business, while a full guide to the event will appear in the May issue of the magazine, out next month.

One Response to “London Wine Fair 2017 ‘the most challenging of my career’”

  1. It is too easy to blame political and economical issues, it has become common these days. The London fair, I have already written about it several years ago, has not found its identity yet, is still deciding where to sit, as it stands, it is a hybrid fair and with all competition, unless London find its own identity, it will always be more challenging to fill the stalls, despite the fair being held in a smaller location in the last few years.

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