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Harpers Events Guide 2019

Published:  02 January, 2019

A census in a rabbit warren, needle in a haystack – numerous similes come to mind when attempting to get to grips with 2019’s plethora of events. Concern over the looming prospect of Brexit hasn’t dampened the trade’s voracious appetite for putting on a grand show, and next year promises to be no exception.

But what’s new, you may ask? For a start, there’s a greater emphasis on moving the (sole) focus away from wine – the best wine lists in the UK now sparkle with renewed creativity, with less slavish favouritism shown to cliches such as Pinot Grigio and the like. Indeed, it was sommelier Christopher Cooper who noted: “The standard wine list is dead – boring lists and wine bibles are crap and don’t fly. Sommeliers need to be much more creative than they are at the moment and start delivering complete drinks lists.”

The response has been a phenomenal growth in the events that focus on gin, beer and sake, the last category continuing to steal a march in the London on-trade. However, on February 12, the Wines of Koshu trade tasting will emphasise Japan’s burgeoning grape wine industry.

“At this tasting, KOJ is aiming to highlight the amazing development of Koshu over the past years,” explains organiser Lynne Sherriff MW. “The winemakers have been working tirelessly, making improvements to vine cultivation (selecting sites, experimenting with different altitudes), yield control and both massal and clone selection with the challenges of the climate in mind.”

Harpers’ own Think Gin event on April 2 promises to be no less exciting, now being a regular fixture in the trade calendar for exploring this booming category.

Meanwhile, New Zealand Winegrowers (NZWG) marketing manager Chris Stroud promises that the 2019 trade tasting will be their best yet. There can be few retailers and buyers across the UK who don’t profit handsomely from the insatiable appetite for all things Kiwi, ensuring that their annual trade tasting is an essential part of the trade’s calendar.

“The coming year marks the 200-year anniversary of the first vines planted in New Zealand, so we will create a feature to showcase wines from Northland – the region where the vines were first planted – to celebrate how far the industry has come in a short space of time,” says Stroud. “For buyers, we will create an unsigned talent table where they can taste all the wines seeking distribution in one place.”

Stroud also underlines the point that New Zealand is the only country showing significant growth in both volume and value, according to Nielsen. Among the highlights are two self-pour tables – one on Chardonnay to showcase its versatility and regionality, while the other is called The Sommelier Sauvignon Selection – where sommeliers on the NZWG Sommelier Scholarship have selected their favourite expressions of Sauvignon Blanc.

But even if fate intervenes and the show is missed, New Zealand is bound to have a robust presence at London Wine Fair 2019. The Fair has gone from strength to strength over the past few years, with a welcome emphasis on Esoterica, the “show within a show”, which features the portfolios of niche importers.

“This will be enhanced with Esoterica+, a new area which has been designed for importers that have outgrown Esoterica, but remain niche players,” says Hannah Tovey, head of London Wine Fair. “Exhibitors who qualify will have access to purpose-built, fully equipped stands, adjacent to the table top layout.”

If first impressions really are everything, the 2019 events calendar is a buyer’s dream.

Burgundy en primeur tastings:

7 January

Lea & Sandeman Burgundy En Primeur Tasting

67 Pall Mall, London SW1Y 5ES

Contact Lucy Marcuson at

Lay & Wheeler 2017 Burgundy Range Tasting

Glaziers Hall, 9 Montague Close, London SE1 9DD

Contact Jack Merrylees at

8 January

Charles Taylor Wines 2017 Burgundy Tasting

London (TBC)

Contact Sophie Scott-Clarke at

Flint Wines Burgundy En Primeur Tasting

One Whitehall Place, London SE11

Contact Mélanie Brandy at

Fields, Morris & Verdin: Burgundy En Primeur Tasting

The Great Hall, One Great George Street, London SW1P 3AA

Contact Sophie McLean at

9 January

Liberty Wines Burgundy Portfolio Tasting

Dartmouth House, 37 Charles Street, London W1J 5ED

Contact Roxane Marty at

Armit Wines Burgundy En Primeur Tasting

Ironmongers’ Hall, Shaftesbury Place, London EC2 8AA


Jeroboams Burgundy En Primeur Tasting

The Caledonian Club, London


Contact Astrid Lewis at

10 January

Corney & Barrow Burgundy Tasting 2017 vintage

One Belgravia, 9 Grosvenor Place, Belgravia, London SW1X 7SH


H2Vin Burgundy 2017 En Primeur Tasting

London (TBC)

Contact Antoine Salley at

Bancroft Burgundy En Primeur Tasting

67 Pall Mall, London SW1Y 5ES

Contact Nerea Sanz at

Generic trade tastings/distributor portfolio tastings:

15 January

Liberty Wines Annual Portfolio Tasting

Kia Oval, London SE11 5SS

Contact Roxane Marty at

16 January

New Zealand Annual Trade Tasting London

Etc Venues County Hall,

Belvedere Road, London SE1 7PB

Contact Sarah Shepherd at

22 January

Australia Day Trade Tasting 2019

Victoria House, London, WC1A 2PJ

Contact Kirsty Savory at

29 January

Hallgarten & Novum Wines Annual Tasting

One Marylebone, London NW1 4AQ

Contact Chris Porter at

Australia Day Trade Tasting Edinburgh 2019

Balmoral Hotel, Edinburgh EH2 2EQ

Contact Kirsty Savory at

MMD Portfolio Tasting

8 Northumberland Avenue, London WC2N 5BY

Contact Kate Lofthouse at

Harpers Think Rum

Smith & Wollensky, Adelphi Building, 1-11 John Adams Street, London WC2N 6HT

Contact Stuart Sadler at

31 January

Louis Latour Agencies Annual Tasting

OXO2, London SE1 9PH

Contact Rebecca Fraser at

Generic trade tastings/distributor portfolio tastings:

5 February

Enotria & Coe Annual Portfolio Tasting


Contact EJ Bailey at

Ellis Wines Portfolio Tasting 2019 (repeated on 6 February)

The Vintners’ Hall, London EC4V 3BG

Contact Lou Wishart at

6 February

Davy’s Wine Merchants Annual Portfolio Tasting 2019

Royal Overseas League, Park Place, London SW1A 1LR

Contact Lucy Hunter at

11 February

Gonzalez Byass Portfolio Tasting

OXO2, London SE1 9PH

Contact Emma Jones at

12 February

Berkmann Portfolio Tasting (repeated on 13 February)

The Brewery, 52 Chiswell Street, London EC1Y 4SD

Contact Serena Gasparini at

Bancroft Wines Portfolio Tasting

The Dutch Centre, 7 Austin Friars, London, EC2N 2HA

Contact Nerea Sanz at

Wines of Koshu trade tasting

67 Pall Mall, London SW1Y 5ES

Contact Caroline Tanner at

19 February

Fells Annual Portfolio Tasting

IET Savoy Place, London WC2R 0BL

Contact Mark Symonds at

Alliance Wine Spring Portfolio Tasting

China Exchange,

London W1D 6JA

Contact James Mackenzie at

20 February

Wines of Portugal Annual Tasting

The Lindley Hall, Elverton Street, London SW1P 2QW


25 February

SITT Spring (The Specialist Importers Trade Tasting)

The Principal Hotel, Oxford Street, Manchester M60 7HA

Contact Lee Sharkey at

27 February

Flint Wines Portfolio Tasting


Contact Mélanie Brandy at

SITT Spring (The Specialist Importers Trade Tasting)

London TBC

Contact Lee Sharkey at

International Trade Events:

10-12 February

Wine Paris

Porte de Versailles, Paris, France

Contact Anne Burchett at

5-7 March

Climate Change Leadership - Solutions for the Wine Industry

Porto, Portugal


Generic trade tastings/distributor portfolio tastings:

6 March

Roberson portfolio tastings

Foyle’s 6th Floor, London WC2H 0DT

Contact Marion Adam at

7 March

Wines From SPain Annual Tasting 2019

SKy Garden, London

Contact Celine Bouteiller at

14 March

Mentzendorff Tasting 2019

1 Great George St, Westminster, London SW1P 3AA

Contact Rebecca Herbert at

16 March

Think France

Central London

Contact Lee Sharkey at

International Trade Events:

17-19 March

Prowein 2019

The Düsseldorf Exhibition Centre, D-40474 Düsseldorf, Germany

Contact Christiane Schorn at

Generic trade tastings/ distributor portfolio tastings:

2 April

Annual Champagne & Sparkling Wine Trade & Press Tasting

One Great George Street, London, SW1P 3AA

Contact Eve Walkey at

Think Gin

Central London (TBC)

Contact Lee Sharkey at

16 April

The Big Fortified Tasting

Church House, London


Contact Alex Bridgeman at

25 April

M&S Spring Press Tasting

Waterside House,

35 North Wharf Road,

London W2 1NW

Contact m&

International Trade Events:

7-10 April


Veronafiere, 8 Viale del Lavoro, Verona, Italy

Contact Giardini Marta at

Generic trade tastings/distributor portfolio tastings:

2 May

Bordeaux Grands Crus Classés

London (TBC)

Contact Sue Glasgow at

15-16 May

Waitrose spring wine tasting


Contact Bethan Davies at

20-22 May

London Wine Fair

Olympia, Hammersmith Road, London W14 8UX

Contact Paul Young at

International Trade Events:

13-16 May


Parc des Expositions, Bordeaux


Conferences/Trade tastings:

9 September

SITT Autumn (The Specialist Importers Trade Tasting)

London TBC

Contact Lee Sharkey at

11 September

SITT Autumn (The Specialist Importers Trade Tasting)

Manchester TBC

Contact Lee Sharkey at

18 September

WSTA Annual Conference 2018

The Royal Institution of Great Britain, London W1S 4BS

Contact Jessica Norman at

24 September

Think Whisky

Central London (TBC)

Contact Lee Sharkey at

Generic trade tastings/distributor portfolio tastings:

9-10 October

Waitrose autumn press tasting


Contact Bethan Davies at

15 October

Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux


Contact Sue Glasgow at