London Wine Fair Action

Next week is the annual London Wine Trade Fair at Excel in the Docklands. Thousands of people from around the world attend, and it is an opportunity to chat with customers, and meet folks who have never even heard of us.


As one might expect, we have a slightly different view of what a Fair should be. And this is the third year of us trying to break through the clutter, confusion and hubbub.

As little guys, we always think about how it is possible to have an impact with a tiny budget, in an industry populated by enormous mega-drinks companies. On the one hand, we don’t want to upset the Big Guys, lest we wind up like the little yellow guy below. But at the same time, we do have a job to do.


Typically, wine fairs consist of many shiny, expensive stands, populated with bottle, and largely middle-aged guys talking about wine, gossiping and nursing their very nasty hangovers (Yes, the wine guys do tend to drink too much) .

While the show starts on Tuesday, we got into gear two months ago (about two months late), but there was no point in rushing, as our London Wine Fair Maestro, Andrew, pictured below, he has an uncanny ability to pull entire families of rabbits out of a single hat- He does his best work under pressure.


Here’s what is going on this year:

New and improved, which will be displayed on a (according to Andrew) “fucking huge” LED screen [think Wembley] in the central boulevard of Excel.

Wine Fair Live this year is being authored in part by “Deep Throat”, a faceless, nameless member of the trade, s/he could be your boss, colleague, client or drinking partner, so beware what you say as deep throat tells all, and s/he can be emailed at, if there are any morsels that you’d like revealed anonymously.

Wine Fair Live this year will have roaming cameramen, the world famous Hugh MacLeod cartooning, Sandra D and Lil’ Jo of Shipwrecked
will be helping out.

When one enters the Hall this year, about 100 metres past the video wall, you’ll see a quite substantial structure which has, in its center, a screening room. We will be showing “Smarter Wine: The Movie”. It stars such luminaries as Dan Jago of Tesco, and Justin King. Justin is a bit of a legend around our office, as he went from being Nick and Al’s boss of the BWS department at Asda, to MD of J. Sainsbury quicker than you can say trockenbeerenauslese [Come on Justin, what’s the recipe for the secret sauce?].

You’ll have to see the movie for yourself, but it is an instructional guide of what you need for success today in the UK market.

Tuesday afternoon, we are sponsoring a seminar entitled: “Terroir is Dead, Long Live Terroir!” Nick will be moderating, and the panel will include number of industry folks. We’re going to see if there is a way to foment a spirited debate on the usually excruciatingly boring subject of terroir. Prediction: tears and rants.

On Wednesday night our sister wine, Camden Park, will be sponsoring the Camden Park Steak-Out in aid of the Benevolent. And we will have a mechanical bull at the Fair, for those brave enough to give it a try.

We will also be showing a “Big Love” flick at our stand from Hugh’s tour around Tesco earlier this year.

There is too much to write about in this one post, so I will update as the week progresses.

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