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London Wine Fair to embrace hybrid model in 2022

Published:  13 January, 2022

The organisers of London Wine Fair (LWF) have confirmed that the landmark event will adopt a new format this year.

Eschewing a homogeneous approach to content, this year's edition of the LWF will involve a mix of live events and digital presentations. The Fair's 40th show will celebrate the return to Olympia after a two-year hiatus – a fully digital version took place in 2021, while the 2020 event was cancelled as the UK went into full lockdown in March of that year.

According to the organisers, the physical event will take place in the normal mid-May timing: 16 to 18 May. However, the digital elements will run a week earlier, between 9 and 10 May.

As a hybrid event, The LWF is set to be an essential date in the trade's calendar. The 2022 Fair will give exhibitors access to a larger trade audience and will allow visitors unable to travel to either London or the UK access to the exhibitors, their wines and the show’s content. The digital element will also extend the reach of the show beyond the three physical days as access to digital stands and content will also be available for three months, between May and July.

The live LWF will include established elements like the Trading Floor, which hosts UK agents, international brands and generic bodies, and Esoterica's portfolio of around 100 boutique importers.

Meanwhile, Drinks Britannia will be a celebration of British Drinks, spanning wines, spirits, beers and ciders; Wines Unearthed will feature wineries looking to export to the UK for the first time. The Discovery Zone will host products and services championing innovation within the drinks industry at large. Non-alcoholic and low alcohol products will also be given a dedicated platform for the first time, to reflect the burgeoning Low and No sector.

Content will be a key part of the 2022 hybrid event, with both the digital and live elements hosting a programme of seminars, masterclasses and industry briefings. Typically, the in-person sessions each accommodate from 50 to 150 participants, depending on the format. The digital sessions will have a significantly larger reach. At last year’s 100% digital event, 28 sessions were hosted, which were streamed more than 6,000 times between May and July 2021.

Recovery of the drinks industry will be a key issue for debate at the hybrid fair, straddling the double impact of Covid-19 and Brexit, and its effects across all sectors of the trade. Sustainability and the drinks industry’s role in tackling climate change will also be key themes for this year.

Hannah Tovey, Event Director of London Wine Fair, commented: “To say we are excited about the 2022 London Wine Fair would be a massive understatement. From managing the impact of cancelling the 2020 show only two months out, to creating a 100% digital show in a matter of weeks for 2021, the last two years have been something of a roller coaster.”

She added: “We are now looking forward to this year being a real milestone both for the Fair, celebrating its 40th live event, but also in terms of how physical and virtual elements can dovetail to make a really ground-breaking event. From speaking with our exhibitors, we know there is a huge appetite for getting back to Olympia and back to normal trading and we look forward to delivering a really special 40th London Wine Fair in 2022.”

The London Wine Fair organisers will work closely with Olympia to ensure the venue and event are compliant with Covid-19 measures and will adhere to all guidelines in place during the month of May.