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London Wine Fair bounces back following Prowein ‘shock’

Published:  13 June, 2022

The 40th live London Wine Fair landed at the Olympia last week – a full three years since its last in-person outing and one month later than planned due to the postponement of Prowein.

Organisers made reference to a “turbulent few months of planning” following last week’s fair, which had to contend with the move to the June date, visa and travel restrictions for international visitors and a Tube strike spilling over into day one.

Despite the “shock” decision of Prowein to move their dates to a direct clash, “upsetting numerous exhibitors and visitors”, and “challenging” preparing conditions, however, overall visitor numbers reached 8,822 over the three days of this year’s fair.

Things did seem slightly more subdued than usual on the opening day (Tuesday 7), which is typically one of the busiest days. However, things became livelier as the event progressed, with Harpers’ own sessions in the Discovery Zone well-attended. Overall, organisers said the bounce-back was ‘positive’, considering the impact of Covid on the events sector as a whole. A total of 8,822 visitors attended this year, a 33% decrease on the last pre-pandemic show in 2019, when 13,260 visitors attended.

“In 15 years as an event organiser, I have never experienced a show quite like this one,” head of London Wine Fair, Hannah Tovey said. “There have been many highs and lows, but crucially, the London Wine Fair team and its exhibitors have pulled off something very special; a show which has brought the industry back together after a period of incredible uncertainty. The buzz at the show was palpable as the trade returned to face-to-face business, tastings, networking and discovery.

“Feedback from exhibitors has been overwhelmingly positive – many have already re-booked their stands for 2023 – with reports of seriously high-quality visitors from the buying sectors, and key decision-makers were in abundance. We rigidly pursued the policy of charging attendees introduced in 2019, despite knowing it would negatively affect the overall number of attendees. We remain completely committed to delivering quality attendees over quantity.”

Others, such as Labid Ameri, CEO and co-owner of Domaine Bousquet, also recognised the ‘quality’ of visitors to the fair.

He said: “I didn’t really have expectations for this year, but I was very happy with the results. We had three days of very busy meeting with many important key players, which enabled me to further understand the UK market.”

“It was fantastic to get back together as a community, and no longer be online,” added Miles Beale, CEO of the Wine & Spirit Trade Association. “It is so important to have an event like this to meet people face to face, both new people and those we already know. It has also been fantastic to begin some new discussions about how our industry can work together towards Net Zero – our key objective now we are post the Covid pandemic challenge.”

Organisers are now focused on the digital section of this year’s fair. The virtual doors will be opening on 20 and 21 June, with registration and more details available via