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Gastronomy and Wine Portal


London Wine Fair 2023: new exhibitors, business contacts and trends

09.06.2023, Автор: Olga Pinevich-Todoriuk

London Wine Fair, official exhibition partner of Drinks+ and the Wine Travel Awards, reported an increasing interest in the international wine event this year.

According to the official data of the London Wine Fair organizers, 2023 was the industry’s opportunity to get back to normal. Total (net) visitors were 10,091, a 14% increase compared to last year; 34% of visitors were from the on-trade. Tuesday, 16th of May, was the busiest day of the show, with more than 3,500 visitors through the doors.  

In 2023, the number of exhibition participants increased by 30% compared to last year and amounted to 417. These included a cross section of the top UK agents, such as Enotria&Coe, Felix Solis Avantis, Hatch Mansfield, ABS and Seckford Wines, a raft of generic bodies, from market leaders, France, Italy and Spain, as well as those off the beaten track: Armenia, Georgia, Greece, Moldova and Ukraine. Brands too were out in force, such as Babylonstoren, Canned Wine Company, Cramele Recas and Trapiche, to name just a few. The ratio of visitors to exhibitors was particularly high: in 2023 there were 24 visitors for every exhibitor.

Head of Fair, Hannah Tovey commented: “Anyone who came to the show this year will have seen a wine industry firing on all cylinders. After the many challenges of last year, there was a tangible buzz to this week’s event, with meaningful business being done alongside the never more crucial networking and knowledge sharing, which is so pertinent to London Wine Fair. Sustainability was placed at the heart of the show this year, with ground-breaking initiatives such as the London Wine Fair 2023 Bottle Reuse Initiative spearheaded by Porto Protocol and Sustainable Wine Solutions, alongside game-changing developments and discussions from panellists and audiences alike on topics ranging from bottle weight to organics, which will influence our industry on a global scale over the coming months and years. Stay tuned in the coming weeks for follow-up reports on exhibitor sustainability stats and the bottle reuse report.” 

Kirsty Loftus, UK Area Manager, Zamora Company:

“The quality of the visitors has been really high, and the level of knowledge has been encouraging. The energy and buzz is back in the trade and that is really good to see.”

Simon Rollings, CEO, Founder, Canned Wine Company:

“It has been a fantastic platform for announcing the brand to trade.  It’s been a good opportunity to reinforce existing relationships and meet new customers. And we’d like to come back bigger and better.”

Jack Denley, Marketing Manager, Petainer:

“In terms of market spend and in terms of return on investment, it has been the best value for money in terms of any event in the past 12 months, and this show has such a nice atmosphere.”

Our editorial team completely agrees with the general opinion: “The exhibition days were fruitful and full of events. We had a lot of professional meetings and negotiations. Our contacts have been replenished with new project participants and partners. I would like to emphasize once again that the WTA community is always open to new members.”

This year, Drinks+ and Wine Travel Awards traditionally presented the participants of the award’s community at their own stand for three days. In addition, for the second time, a special event in the history of the WTA project – the awarding ceremony of the winners – took place at the fair. In a solemn atmosphere, which was not hindered by the morning time or the city transporters’ strike, due to which the city’s traffic arteries were almost blocked, the winners in all 6 nominations were announced: Visiting Card of the Country, Ambassador, Wine & Food Influencer, Education in Enotourism, Wine Guide, Enogastronomic Events. 

Among them, our guests could hear both new and world-famous names of companies and persons working in the wine tourism industry. The names of the public voting winners and the award’ winners can be found here

Let’s just say, due to the collaboration with the Gérard Basset Foundation and thanks to the personal consent of Monsieur Basset’s family – Nina Basset, WTA judge, and her son Romane Basset, this year the WTA winner of the Ambassador of the Year category also was awarded with the Gérard Basset Prize “Ambassador of the Year”. It is important to add that the journalists of our editorial office were personally familiar with Monsieur Basset  and whose loss we mourn to this day.

Armenian sommelier and wine writer – Artem Mkrtychan became the first honorary laureate of the Gérard Basset Prize “Ambassador of the Year”.

Another innovation in the project this year: thanks to the financial support from the international wine group Vinos de La Luz and its president Ricardo F. Nunez, the most talented and active wine authors from the Wine & Food Influencers nomination received the money prizes. So the following nominees were awarded:

Author of the year – Professor Marianna Sigala

Expert opinion – Gergely Szolnoki

The brightest journey – Rojita Tiwari

The Wine Travel Awards project, owned by one of the oldest European media groups – Drinks+, presented not only the winners and sponsors in the framework of the exhibition, but also organized a bright tasting of the community members during the ceremony. Devoted to this event, a special print and digital edition of the Wine Travel Awards Guide was released.

After the awarding ceremony, a walk-around tasting took place. The guests had the opportunity to meet members of the WTA community and taste their wines. Such as:

ASTI DOCG (Italy) – SAROTTO, Asti Spumante Dry; MARANZANA, Asti Spumante Dry; MATTEO SORIA, Asti Spumante Brut; LA TORRE, Asti Spumante Dry; FONTANAFREDDA, Asti Spumante Dolce; SANTERO, Asti Spumante Dolce; TRE SECOLI, Asti Spumante Dolce; SANT&ORSOLA, Asti Spumante Dolce; TERRENOSTRE, Moscato D’Asti; MALGRA’ Moscato D’Asti; BERA, Moscato D’Asti; SCAGLIOLA, Moscato D’Asti.

Mastroberardino (Italy) – Novaserra Greco di Tufo DOCG, Radici Taurasi DOCG, Fiano di Avellino DOCG.

Vinos de La Luz (Spain, Argentina, Ukraine) – Callejon del Crimen Red Blend Criminal 2021, Valpincia Crianza 2019, Big Wines Big Art 2020.

SHABO Family Winery (Ukraine) – SHABO Reserve Telti-Kuruk 2022, SHABO Limited Edition Saperavi-Merlot (by Kachetin technology) 2020.

Beykush Winery (Ukraine) – Telti Kuruk 2022.

Askaneli Winery (Georgia) – Gocha’s Collection. Muza Qvevri 2019, Gocha’s Collection. Saperavi Reserve 2018, Askaneli Brut. Methode traditionnalle.

‘Armenia Wine’ Winery and Vineyards (Armenia) – Tariri. Areni, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon; Takar. Areni; Yerevan 782. B.C. Areni, Karmrahyut.

The walk-round tasting of the Wine Travel Awards’ partners and nominees showcased wines of the highest quality from various countries of the wine world, and in particular, from Ukraine. 

By the way, sustainability was the key theme for the show: the show reported that “sustainability” was the third most searched category, after “country” and “region”, indicating that sustainable products were very high on the agenda for visitors.

Visitors searched for UK based companies more than any other (this incorporates both wineries and agents; four times more than the second most searched for country, Italy. This may indicate an increased reliance on importers since Brexit. Portugal came in at top three and Ukraine was the seventh most searched for country.  

In addition to the tasting as part of the Wine Travel Awards ceremony, Ukrainian producers under the Wines of Ukraine brand were presented at LWF for the second time. 

How the exhibition for Ukrainian winemakers was held, what feedback was received and with whom it was already possible to hold negotiations, D+ spoke with the organizers of the stand – Victoria Agromakova (CEO of Wine & Spirits Ukraine) and Svitlana Tsybak, head of the “Association of Craft Winemakers of Ukraine”, director at Beykush Winery.

According to the organizers, the visitors showed strong interest in the Wines of Ukraine stand. During the three days, it was visited by several hundred guests – buyers, importers, distributors, sommeliers and restaurateurs. It was also possible to establish contacts with traders from Iceland, Norway, Finland, France, Germany, Switzerland, Portugal and other countries.

Victoria Agromakova comments: “For many visitors, this was the first experience of tasting Ukrainian wines, and our wines did not leave anyone indifferent! The guests of the stand noted the high level of wines, their unique character, even in the varieties traditional for Europe, as well as the native Ukrainian grape varieties – Telti Kuruk, Sukholimansky White and Odesa Black impressed the visitors the most. The elegant sparkling, aromatic whites, rich and charismatic reds – this is how Ukrainian wines were characterized by professionals of the British market and guests from other countries. It is too early to talk about contracts, this process takes much longer, but we can definitely say that both large chains and independent retailers are waiting for Ukrainian wines on the shelves of Great Britain, and the interest of restaurants is especially huge! The interest in Ukraine was particularly noticeable at our master class, which was held by a well-known UK wine expert, writer, journalist and BBC presenter Joe Wadsak. Officially, the Wines of Ukraine master class was the most attended among all events within the framework of the exhibition!”.

Svitlana Tsybak shared her own experience on how to conquer the UK market: “UK importers and distributors were really interested in Ukrainian wine. Of course we have potential, but we need to work hard on our reputation to sell abroad. The UK market is quite complex, I lead a month-to-month job promoting our wines. No market works by itself, it is not enough to visit an exhibition and sit and wait for a truckload of wine to be bought, and then sold at a new market. You have to WORK.”

So let’s work together to popularize Ukrainian winemaking in the world, we are joining our efforts. And we remind you that on November 1 and 2, 2023, one of the most important B2B events, the Wine & Spirits Ukraine exhibition, will be held at the International Exhibition Center (IEC) in Kyiv, where traditionally there will be an opportunity to communicate with producers from Ukraine, as well as to taste wines and craft spirits.

See you in Ukraine!