LIWF announces new direction for 2014

LIWFRoss Carter, event director of the London International Wine Fair (LIWF) has announced that the event will take a new direction in 2014.  The changes are a result of several months lobbying the UK wine industry – including current and past exhibitors – to establish their requirements for a national show. The changes will see the show 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.  As part of the changes, the London Wine Fair 2014 will return to London’s Olympia. 

Carter acknowledged that the fair needs to make a “cultural change” to the way exhibitors take part and visitors experience the show. 

In 2014 the fair will launch two new areas of the event, designed to better reflect the current UK wine business. Bulk wine will have its own stand-alone section, with bespoke branding; and Boutique wine will be an area for small UK wine importers. This table top tasting area will be open only to the smallest UK importers, with participation costing just £1,000 for the three days of the event. This will encourage niche importers, representing hard to find producers into the fair.

For 2014, there will also be a 20-25 per cent decrease on the 2012 price for stand space. Perhaps most significantly, there will be an overall stand restriction, meaning no double height stands, no banners and a maximum floor space. This will help to make the show a more level playing field and also remove the sense that stands have to be big and expensive to be eye-catching. Carter is confident that exhibitors will spend between 50 per cent and 60 per cent of costs in previous years.

Exhibiting and visiting the fair from 2014 will require all participants to be members of MyWineFair. Launched earlier this year for 2013, this online portal will help to clarify the needs of visitors and allow the fair website to become a more effective portal in delivering the details of the exhibitors and wines to the visitor.

2014 will see the LIWF invest over £40,000 in visitor incentives, specifically to attract buyers from the on-trade, independent retail and multiple retail sectors.  These will take the form of: travel and accommodation bursaries; channel-specific lunches; free evening social events for specific buyers; and competitions and giveaways in partnerships with select exhibitors. For the more general visitor, benefits will include an increased breadth of exhibitor, improved content, invitations to wine events and study bursaries and a great emphasis on socialising.

Carter explained: “There has been much speculation over a possible venue change for next year’s show, and we are pleased to now be able to announce the move back to Olympia. We have listened to both current and past exhibitors and also our visitor audience and the majority consensus is that this will be a better venue. Moving to Olympia will mean a refreshed show, and a sense of returning to its roots. Olympia will allow for the reduction in costs we have outlined and also faster travel times for exhibitors and visitors coming in from Heathrow and Gatwick and for UK trade professionals. 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.”

Next year’s London Wine Fair will take place slightly later in the year, from week commencing June 2, 2014.