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

THEMES & RESEARCH

Copyright: Anthony Upton 2016©

Marking a change from the last two years, this year’s LWF won’t have an official theme, but, according to Carter, 2017 is set to be all about volcanic wine, which has come “from nowhere” and exploded. “People have been speaking about it so much that it will be a theme running across the event, with some content in the masterclasses and several exhibitions making a feature about it,” Carter explains.

There are also a noticeable increase in the number of Prosecco producers and organic wines, which mirror consumption patterns. But as Carter points out, while the number of Prosecco exhibition have gone up, Champagne has met them “handsomely”.

“There are more Champagne producers at the LWF than we’ve had for years – including in Wines Unearthed – and a lot of them are grower Champagnes at interesting price points, so it’s not just about the big brands,” he notes. “It an interesting trend, given where Champagne is in the market and what Prosecco has been doing.”

This year, research by the organisers has highlighted areas of key interest for visitors. The segment seeing the most interest– from around a third of those surveyed – lies in the £10.00–£14.99 price bracket, while traditional grape varieties continued to dominate, led by Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, with old favourites Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Malbec, Riesling, Merlot, Albariño, Tempranillo and Shiraz not far behind.

In terms of country of origin, France still came out on top, followed by Italy, with around 42% of customers wanting to find wines from these counties. Spain, Australia and the UK also made the top five – and organiser Brintex said English wine was set to be a big draw. This is unsurprising, given the unique position of the LWF as a showcase for domestically produced wine.

Carter said the registration poll highlighted how far the English wine category has progressed in the past few years.

“Less than a decade ago it was barely on the radar and now we have 20 wineries at this year’s fair,” he noted. “This interest reflects the category growth but also the significant leap in quality over recent years.”

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