db’s guide to this year’s London Wine Fair


Copyright: Anthony Upton 2016©

So what is in this year’s mix?

As well as the main tasting hall, Esoterica, which showcases the portfolios of niche and micro-importers, is back for another year, along with the similarly popular Wines Unearthed. This ‘village’ of 3 square metre pods for producers seeking a UK importer has grown since it was introduced three years ago, from 70 producers in 2015 to a cap of 95 this year.

“It is now about as big as it can be,” Carter explains. Around 60%-70% of the line-up is new every year as producers gain representation. Countries and regions taking part for the first time this year include Armenia, Bulgaria, Lebanon, and the Valais canton of Switzerland. “We’re make sure we’re doing all we can to give the wineries taking part a full service to help them find buyers, which is ultimately why they attend,” Carter explains.

“We’re going further than any other event or exhibition I know of. “We have purposely designed a space for exhibitors with export-ready products for the UK market who already export elsewhere, and we push the information out to buyers in advance – with wine lists, size of production, readiness, details about the wineries though Bottlebooks – so they can filter down and find the right type of winery.”

To improve navigation, there have been a few tweaks – for example, Esoterica has been moved next to Wines Unearthed on the Gallery, making space for smaller and mid-sized importers upstairs, where they will be easier to find than downstairs or in the West Hall. However, the biggest change comes from moving the masterclasses to a dedicated space at Olympia called the Pillar Hall, a grand Victorian vaulted space that will be used by the fair for the first time.

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