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Coronavirus: Drinks trade disruption deepens as more events cancelled or postponed

Published:  16 March, 2020

As central banks around the world coordinate to fight the economic impact of coronavirus (Covid-19), the drinks trade is already feeling the impact of the crisis, with the postponement of events being the most visible effect.

The annual Wines from Spain London tasting (31 March) and Union des Grand Crus de Bordeaux En Primeur tastings were among the latest high profile events to be postponed, with the organisers of both now looking at autumn dates.

Prowein, which was to be taking place 15-18 March, and Vinitaly, scheduled for 14-17 June, have both been pulled.

A host of smaller events have also been shifted, such as Taste Champagne London, which is rescheduled for 24 June, and the Northern Restaurant and Bar Show, which is now postponed from its scheduled 17-18 March dates. The Vindependents tasting on 18 March has been posponed, with the autumn tastig still scheduled for 21 September. 

Meanwhile, Harpers Think Spirits event has been resheduled to 15 September, with the venue remainign the same - St Mary's, Marylebone, in London. 

On a more positive note, London Wine Fair is currently going ahead on 18-20 May, with the organisers stressing that they will put every precaution in place to protect the wellbeing of exhibitors and visitors.

WBWE Asia (World Bulk Wine Exhibition) has confirmed new dates of 12-13 July 2020 in Yantai, China, pushing back from the original May timing.

With Europe now the epicentre of coronavirus spread, and countries such as Italy and Spain in full or partial lockdown, UK health experts are currently predicting that the spread of the virus in Britain will likely peak in 12-14 weeks.

It is hoped that economic activity will pick up sometime after that peak, with the rescheduling of events helping to drive commercial activity forward after a sharp but temporary shock to the global economy.