Organisers of the London International Wine Fair are embracing the era of austerity, unveiling a new-look, cheaper and UK-focused event from 2014.
The London Wine Fair (LWF) – it will no longer be called ‘International’ – will next year return to Olympia after 13 years at ExCeL in Docklands, and start in the week commencing 2 June.
The move is part of a rebranding to address industry gripes about the show’s location, cost and focus, all of which have contributed to high-profile pull-outs by companies such as Bibendum, Enotria, Liberty and PLB.
Stand space in 2014 will be 20-25% cheaper than in 2012, organiser Brintex says, with further restrictions on stand size likely to reduce total costs by an estimated 50-60%.
LWF will have two new areas – a standalone section for bulk wine, and a boutique, table top wine tasting area for the smallest importers, with participation in the latter costing £1,000 for the three-day show.
Now organisers say the return to Olympia will see the event ‘go back to its roots as the London Wine Fair, the national wine event for the world’s leading import market; essentially, Britain’s festival of wine’.
Event director Ross Carter conceded that a ‘cultural change’ was required. ‘Moving to Olympia will mean a refreshed show, and a sense of returning to its roots,’ he said.
‘Being in Kensington will be an opportunity to build a sense of community around the show and we will partner with leading local restaurants, bars and venues to provide entertaining choices to both exhibitor and visitor.’
Organisers are also promising improved Masterclasses and Industry Briefings, an enhanced role for the online portal MyWineFair, and a £40,000 ‘visitor incentives’ budget.
Simon Bradbury, off trade sales director at Enotria, said the merchant welcomes ‘changes in location, focus and cost’, but added, ‘we will consider nearer the time whether or not it represents a good investment for Enotria to exhibit’.
Liberty Wine MD, David Gleave MW, told Decanter.com, ‘like other merchants, we are talking to Brintex about these changes’.
Written by Richard Woodard