Subscriber login Close [x]
remember me
You are not logged in.

Q&A with the Wine+ team

Published:  23 July, 2008

When and how did you come up with the idea for Wine+?
Andrew Evans: Back in 2001, I was researching visitor motives for going to the London International Wine & Spirit Fair [Evans was formerly commercial director of Brintex, LIWSF organisers; see below]. Each channel has different reasons, but what was clear with the on-trade was that the reason for going had to be compelling and relevant, because if something happened in their establishment, they would not attend. It was also clear that they had to get to and from the event quickly. It soon became obvious that there was an opportunity for a stand-alone on-trade event to satisfy this unique audience.

Why Wine+?

Sue Woodward: The +' signifies adding value. This is not just about tasting wine. It is also going to be commercial and educational. The event will be very targeted and focused and aimed at the on-trade in London and the Home Counties - basically in and around the beloved M25.

Who or what is Fresh RM?

AE: It is a joint venture between Reed Exhibitions - the largest exhibition company in the world, with exhibitions such as Hotelympia, Hospitality, and the Speciality & Fine Food Fair - and Montgomery Exhibitions, a privately owned company that owns the huge IFE International Food & Drink Exhibition.

And who are you?

AE: I've been in the exhibitions industry for 20 years, presenting events for the food-and-drink sector. During my seven years at Brintex, I managed the largest generic wine-fair exhibition in the UK. When LIWSF became too big for Olympia, I moved it to the purpose-built ExCeL.

SW: I have been in publishing and exhibitions for 25 years. I looked after consumer events within niche markets while at the Mirror Group. Latterly, I was exhibition director of IFE and Speciality & Fine Food Fairs.

Why Olympia?

AE: Accessibility to audience. This event has to be in a central location so that people can attend between service if need be. It could have been anywhere in London, but Olympia has the facilities, space and great transport links. It's also synonymous with successful wine-related events and is familiar to many in the trade.

Why January?

SW: It was clear from our research that January is a bit of a down time' for the on-trade after Christmas - you only have to look at all the dinner for 10' offers going through the quality newspapers. It is also a crucial time for planning, stocktaking and looking at things like wine lists and suppliers.

So what's special about Wine+?

SW: We are focused on the commercial elements of all that surrounds and involves the selling of wine in the on-licensed sector. It will be highly targeted and relevant. A potential participant has to prove that he or she is servicing the sector to be allowed to exhibit.

We are going to have a tasting zone, business clinics and a live theatre. We intend to meet the needs of every sector - sommeliers, restaurateurs and hoteliers, publicans, pub operators, and contract caterers who are responsible for buying or specifying wine.

It is a diverse sector, and Wine+ will reflect that. Nevertheless, the common thread is the selling of wine profitability.

How's it going so far?

AE: We have had immense interest, and after approximately two weeks we already have firm bookings from major wholesalers, brand owners and independents.

You want Wine+ to be an event rather than just another exhibition. So how's that going to work?

AE: We want it to be welcoming and hospitable, like the establishments our visitors will come from. We want to replicate the environment and the atmosphere, so, for example, there will be music and food in circulation. We have designed the whole thing so that it is democratic. A small wine supplier will not be overshadowed by a large wholesale distributor.

SW: Wine+ will be somewhere between a tasting and an exhibition. We want it to be open and approachable, not closed and clubby. It will look and feel unlike a traditional exhibition as we will be building the entire event, dispensing with the traditional barriers of a grid' layout and eliminating barriers on stands. We'll be including a walk-on package' for all participants, so no more double-decker stands or time spent organising participation - it will be done by us.

So what's your favourite tipple?

SW: I prefer reds, something like Gevrey-Chambertin, if I can afford it, and the odd glass of Champagne doesn't go amiss.

AE: I love the racy acidity of a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. I like Pinotage, Cabernet Francs from the Loire and, for high days and holidays, Nuits-St-Georges does the trick.

Well, it takes all sorts