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Independents all set for September's Specialist Importers Trade Tasting

Published:  16 September, 2014

Next week's SITT (Specialist Importers Trade Tasting) promises another sell out event offering independent wine merchants, restaurants, bars, pubs and sommeliers the chance to taste wines specifically targeted at them from around the world. 

Next week's SITT (Specialist Importers Trade Tasting) promises another sell out event offering independent wine merchants, restaurants, bars, pubs and sommeliers the chance to taste wines specifically targeted at them from around the world.

When: September 24 

Specialist importers trade tasting 2014

Time: 10.30am-6pm

Where: Lindley Halls, Royal Horticultural Halls, London SW1P 2QW

To register: Go to

Number of exhibitors: Sold out with 69 stands

Specialist importers trade tasting 2014

With so many wines to choose from, the decision about which wines to put on an independent merchant's list can be more a process of elimination than a heart-warming creative experience. It is often far easier to determine what it is we don't like about a wine than it is what we do. We may not even get past the label or the design to bother actually tasting the wine at all.

No matter how well a particular wine might have been made, it is how it tells its story that is going to determine whether or not it ends up on someone's shelf or not.

And there lies the problem. How can a wine really stand out if it is only tasted blind or anonymously among a whole line-up of others?

Harpers columnist, Guy Woodward, put it succinctly enough in his column for Harpers in August, when he claimed that, ultimately, choosing a wine to drink is often less about what is in the bottle than who told you the story about it.

As he said: "People are interested in people...a human story will always trump a technical lecture." And while it may be true that not every wine has a "fairy tale" to tell, as Woodward wrote: "People always have a story."

Which is why face-to-face tastings are still the lifeblood of the UK wine trade - and why so much business continues to be done at them.

Nothing beats hearing about a wine from the winemaker who made it or the wine producer or distributor who is looking to sell it.

Specialist importers trade tasting 2014

First-hand stories from SITT

When it comes to buying more off-beat wines from up-and-coming wineries or countries, then the need to hear those first-hand stories is even more important. Which is why the Specialist Importers Trade Tasting - or SITT to its friends - continues to be such an important date in the calendars of independent wine merchants and restaurateurs across the country.

This month sees Harpers, once again, open the doors of the autumn SITT tasting where there will be the chance to not only taste hundreds of wines aimed specifically at the independent sector, but the opportunity to talk, meet and hear all about them from the winemakers and people responsible for telling their very important stories.

This autumn's tasting will see nearly 70 exhibitors take part, offering wines from all over the world and from both established and up-and-coming wineries.

In the build-up to September's SITT event, you can keep up to date with what is happening and which wines different exhibitors are going to be showing either at its dedicated website,, via Twitter at @sittastings and #SITT2014 or through the lastest news updates on

But we also want to hear from you and what you would like to see and do not only at this month's SITT but at future events. So drop editor Richard Siddle a message on Twitter at @richardsiddle or on email at Alternatively, come and have a chat with him and the Harpers SITT team on the day.

Specialist importers trade tasting 2014

Why go to SITT?

Key independents and trade figures explain why the SITT tastings are such an important part of their year.

Specialist importers trade tasting 2014

"Price is becoming an increasing issue for us as competition ramps up, therefore it's important for us to differentiate ourselves in some way. SITT provides a great opportunity to discover some new interesting wines that aren't stocked by the multiples."

Philip Pruden, Philip Pruden Wines


"We discovered some potential new ideas for the 2014 range, as well as seeing new vintages of existing lines. It was a great opportunity to chat to suppliers who we may not see that often. SITT is a showcase for smaller suppliers who may not hold their own dedicated tastings."

Jonathan Williamson, Wines of Interest

"It is a great place and time to engage with a spread of specialist shippers. I look at who is a specialist in a region or country. SITT has become that 'unmissable' event, allowing access to a good number of these same people in one place, so emphatically it justifies being away from customers  - and the shop tills - for a day."

Philip Beavan, Cheshire Smokehouse

2014 SITT Exhibitors

The Antipodean Sommelier ? Babich Wines ? Chablisienne/Bailly/Buxy ? Barwell & Jones ? Swig Wines ? Just Galician Wines  ? Stone, Vine & Sun ? St Aubyn Leschallas Wines ? Champagne Besserat De Bellefon ? Blacksmith's Independent Wine and Spirit Merchants ? Bovey Wines ? Champagne Warehouse ? Mckinley Vintners ? D&F Portuguese Wines ? Romanian Winegrowers ? Daniel Lambert Wines ? EWGA Wines ? Roger Constant Lemaire ? Wine Paradiso ? Albion Wine Shippers ? Top Selection ? Alchemy Wines ? Top 100 SA Wines  ? Alliance Wine ? The Knotted Vine ? Côtes du Rhône Crus Wines ? Condor Wines ? Connoisseur Estates ? Grays and Feather ? Forth Wines ? Famille Bougrier ? Charles Taylor Wines ? Dudley Craig Wines ? DGB Europe ? Department 33 ? Salmanazar ? Davy's Wine Merchants Featuring Little Beauty ? Bubbles & Wines ? Vinceremos Organic Wines ? Vintage Roots ? Baileys of Glenrowan and Coldstream Hills ? Vinum ? Stobi ? Wines of Brasil ? Ruta 40 ? Las Bodegas ? Grossi Wines  ? Maison Marques et Domaines ? De Bortoli Wines ? Oakley Wine Agencies ? Bottle Green Wines ? Terroirs D'occitanie ? Humble Grape ? Howard Ripley ? Marc Fine Wines ? Hispamerchants ? Hatch Mansfield ? Hallgarten Druitt and Novum Wines ? Richmond Wine Agencies ? ? The Flying Corkscrew ? González Byass ? OW Loeb ? Seckford Agencies ? Stevens Garnier ? Wines of Navarra ? BIVC - Bureau Interprofessionnel des Vins du Centre ? Mentzendorff ? Chÿâteau Bone Wine

Specialist importers trade tasting 2014 Masterclass

SITT Masterclasses

SITT Autumn also gives visitors the chance to delve deeper in to key wine areas with standalone masterclass sessions. This year, there are two masterclasses to choose from:

Demystifying Italian Clones, 2pm-2.45pm

Join Gemma Adams, product manager and MW student at Italian specialists Grossi Wines, for a seminar on two of Italy's most prolific Italian clones, Trebbiano and Sangiovese. In this masterclass, Adams will look to demystify the questions surrounding the provenance and parentage of some of northern Italy's fastest-growing white wines, such as Lugana and Verdicchio. She will also examine the differences between Tuscany's many faces of Sangiovese. How are Sangiovese Grosso and Prugnolo Gentile different? Is Lugana made from a Trebbiano clone or is it something entirely different?

To illustrate the findings Adams will take visitors through some of Italy's finest examples of these grapes, each from small, artisan producers with a passion for true varietal expression.

Rhône wines - A Cruise Around the Crus, 3.30pm-4.15pm

Mark Andrew of Roberson Wines presents some of the top appellations of the Rhône valley. The Côtes du Rhône crus are made up of very different styles and terroirs and offer wines naturally suited to the on-trade and independent retailers. Coming from passionate and terroir-driven producers and négociants, these are wines which have a story to tell.

Mark Andrew, senior buyer at Roberson Wines, will present a selection of wines from the crus of both the northern and southern Rhône valley that demonstrate the broad depth of these wines. There will be four different northern crus to taste including Côte-Rôtie, Condrieu, Saint-Joseph and Crozes-Hermitage as well as the Southern crus Beaumes-de-Venise and Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise. Whether it's the exciting and interesting wines of the Côte-Rôtie, the distinctive whites of Condrieu or the fragrant sweet wines of Beaumes-de-Venise, Andrew will demonstrate how the crus of the Côtes du Rhône offer exceptional wines at good value for money.