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LWF postpones 2020 event

Published:  20 March, 2020

London Wine Fair (LWF) has become the latest major wine event to be postponed due to coronavirus (Covid-19). 

Having resisted so far, the board of Hemming Group - owner of the LWF,  this morning said it was "with a heavy heart” that it had made the decision to postpone LWF 2020, planned to take place 18-20 May.

“It remains inconclusive as to when, or for how long the government might place restrictions on mass gatherings in the UK. Nonetheless the LWF team has taken the difficult decision to postpone this much-loved event.  

“We are keenly aware that the developing Covid-19 pandemic is putting immense pressure on not only the events industry, but the drinks industry and the hospitality industry. We value our position at the heart of both and will always make decisions with them front of mind,” it said in a statement.  

Experience dictated that the bulk of organising for its exhibitors and sponsors happened between now and the event, it added.

“Our objective in taking this decision with two month’s lead-time, is to minimise unnecessary expenditure and stress caused by uncertainty. The safety of our exhibitors, visitors, sponsors, suppliers and in-house team of course takes over-riding precedence in the bigger picture.”

Further information about the next steps for LWF would be released “as soon as possible”.   

“Given the exceptional circumstances and elevated number of stakeholders to consider, we would ask for your patience in the interim period,” it said.  

As the UK’s premier wine trade event and falling slightly later than other key events such as Prowein, LWF had been working with exhibitors to look to ensure, with adequate health precautions and a timing beyond the estimated peak of the epidemic, that the London Olympia-based fair would still go ahead, but it has instead joined the slew of events being postponed or cancelled in the face of the coronavirus crisis.

Today’s announcement is the third this morning alone, with Wines of Germany announcing earlier that it had cancelled while CIVB said it has moved its inaugural Bordeaux Day from May to September.

Last week, 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 due to take place this week 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 postponed, with the autumn tasting still scheduled for 21 September. Yapp spring tasting, Lee & Sandeman, Wine Society and Tesco tastings are also among the coronavirus casualties. 

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

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.