A look ahead at what lies in store at this month’s London Wine Fair
Dating back nearly 40 years, the London Wine Fair is back in May with a fresh new look, including tastings, masterclasses and new features. Bigger than last year, the trade-only show will bring together over 14,000 wines and other drinks from 40 countries at Olympia from May 21 to 23.
New features include “Drinks Britannia”, a stand-alone section dedicated to British drinks, spanning wine, beer, cider, spirits and mixers. Alongside English wineries such as Nyetimber in West Sussex, you will find Pinkster Gin from Cambridgeshire and Sovereign liqueurs from Nottinghamshire. One of the returning features will be the Esoterica section, offering the chance to discover rare and niche wines not available from anyone else, with a more intimate casual table-top set-up.
A new partnership with the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) has resulted in a new Education Zone on the main floor. It will have a central theatre hosting up to six training sessions each day covering both wines and spirits, and visitors will have the chance to sit the WSET Level 3 entrance exam free of charge at the show.
Highlights include Champagne Live, taking place on Tuesday May 22. Organised by the Champagne Bureau, it aims to break away from traditional tastings to be immersive and interactive, providing a programme of live streaming direct from the Champagne region where experts will explore topical themes and take part in debates, with real-time Q&A sessions. Champagne masterclasses will return in a bigger and improved format.
The main fair’s programme will include masterclasses and tastings covering wines from areas such as Croatia, Uruguay, Rioja, the Loire, Castilla y León in Spain, South Africa and the prosecco region as well as individual producers. There will also be walk-up tastings featuring wines from the Rhône, Baron Philippe de Rothschild in Chile, the Napa Valley, Romania and Chile’s Itata Valley.
The Innovation Zone, curated by The Grapevine’s editor Richard Siddle, will feature seminars and Ted-style talks hosted by those driving innovation in all areas of business, not just drinks. These short, thought-provoking sessions are run in partnership with logistics company JF Hillebrand, covering topics such as crowdfunding, creating a craft brand and disruptive technology.
Business briefings will tackle topics such as the impact of Brexit, The Benevolent’s mental health campaign, wine market trends from IWSR, building a wine list and the Masters of Wine study programme.
Register at londonwinefair.com. Entry is free to buyers, educators and invitees of exhibitors.