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Mixed reaction to second Wine Show event in London

Published:  23 July, 2008

by Christian Davis
The second year of the consumer exhibition the Wine Show, which took place between 26 and 29 October at the Business Design Centre in Islington, north London, drew a mixed response from exhibitors.

Despite claims from organisers that the overall attendance of 13,989 was 18% up on last year's inaugural event, some exhibitors were frustrated at the numbers present.

Barnaby Evans, managing director of Australian winemaker Brown Brothers, told Harpers: I'm very disappointed. It's very frustrating. We've had some good quality, nice people. I want it to work and the show has had good support from the trade, but it is hard to justify the 3,000 for the stand and about 10,000 in total.

The team said Thursday evening was good, Friday late afternoon and evening was quite good, but on Saturday there was nothing going on until 4pm' (Evans was speaking at midday on Sunday).

The Co-op was also not happy about attendances. Category marketing manager Vicky Steel said: We're very disappointed there wasn't the quantity. I think it is very doubtful that we'll do it next year.'

But Anita Jackson of Wines of Chile was full of praise: Another great show, attracting a refreshingly new audience

of wine enthusiasts! We will certainly be back for our third year in 2007!'

Gerard Barnes of Raisin Social was on the Wines of Spain stand with the New Wave of Spanish Wines from Mark O'Neil. He said Thursday had been very busy with a lot of moneyed London professionals' but again, Saturday had been very quiet until 3.30pm.

At least it was not like the BBC Good Food Show, where you get people stumbling up to the stand to ask for red Chardonnay,' he quipped.

Nick Oakley of Oakley Wine Agencies said one reason the event was quieter was because it was half-term. He said the major brands' stands had been pretty empty, possibly because visitors were genuinely interested in wine, and going to major retail brands was like shopping'.

Consumers did, however, give the thumbs-up to French Wines Experience, according to Sopexa UK. It had a series of interactive lifestyle zones' - Nights In, Nights Out, Outdoor Living, Dinner Parties, Celebrations and Christmas - on the upper tier, which it said offered visitors a chance to try French wines suited to a range of occasions.